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Updated: February 17, 2012 21:10 IST

Kamal Bawa gets first Gunnerus award for sustainability

Special Correspondent
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A file photo of Dr. Kamal Bawa, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Bawa has been honoured with the the Gunnerus Sustainability Award — the world's first major international award for work on sustainability.
The Hindu A file photo of Dr. Kamal Bawa, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Bawa has been honoured with the the Gunnerus Sustainability Award — the world's first major international award for work on sustainability.

During a ceremony in Trondheim, Norway on Friday, the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) will bestow the Gunnerus Sustainability Award — the world's first major international award for work on sustainability — on India-born Dr. Kamal Bawa, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He will receive the Gunnerus Gold Medal and the award of 1 million Norwegian Kronor (about $190,000).

Dr. Bawa is most noted for, among other works, his pioneering research on population biology in rainforest areas. His wide span of work includes groundbreaking biological discoveries made in Central America and in the Western Ghats and the Himalayas in India. He is specially noted for the establishment, and as president, of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore. Until recently, he also held the Ruffolo Giorgio Fellowship in Sustainability Science and Bullard Fellowship at the Harvard University.

The Gunnerus award is the first major international prize for outstanding scientific work that promotes sustainable development globally, and will be awarded every two years starting in 2012, a press release said. The award is named after DKNVS’ founder, Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), and is the result of a collaboration between DKNVS, Sparebank1 SMN and the society Technoport. DKNVS has been responsible for the international launch, and the selection of the winner.

The selection of the winner took place after a jury process in which five internationally prominent researchers have considered a number of international nominees from many countries.

“We are very pleased to have selected such a worthy winner of the first Gunnerus award,” the release quoted Professor Kristian Fossheim, president of DKNVS as saying.

Norway as a country is associated with the term "sustainability" from former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's report to the U.N. Now its environmental capital, Trondheim, has established the world's first major award in the globally important new research area of sustainability. It should also be noted that the award will be given at the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland report, and may be regarded as a celebration of that event.

“DKNVS aims to make this a global price of quality and importance worthy of comparison to the Nobel Prizes in science,” Mr. Fossheim added.

Dr. Bawa told a Norwegian newspaper that he was very pleased over the recognition. “A large part of my work during the last several years has been the establishment of ATREE, a non-profit conservation and development research think-tank in India. In January 2011, a University of Pennsylvania study ranked ATREE 19th among the environmental think-tanks in the world, and implicitly the first in Asia, and now the Gunnerus Award. I am naturally very happy," he said.

my heartiest congratulations to dr bawa for winning this prestigious award as he has been striving hard in conserving biodiversity and doing great work especially in india and norway has given a most prestigious science award to dr bava and it is high time our govt recognises this and support all his ventures in india

from:  arun sandra
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 00:07 IST

Kamal Bawa, with whom I have lost contact in the past five years, is one
of eh finest gentlemen to the core I have met in my life. A tru scholar
with gentle demeanor. I am sure he has been an able mentor to all whom
he touched. He has cultivated a life time passion for biodiversity
studies, and how I wish if only people like him give out frank opinion
on the role of modern agriculture and its relationship to biodiversity.
It is disheartening to not that people who are totally clueless about
biodiversity talk of conserving biodiversity.

from:  Dr. Shanthu Shantharam
Posted on: Apr 2, 2012 at 01:24 IST

Congrats for a very desrving award for a pioneering research. As an Indian it's more heartening to see this award being given to an Indian and that too for sustainability. I wish that our politicians and policy makers realize the significance of this award and learn the necessary lessons in their mindless destruction of environment and ecosystems in the name of development

from:  Swami
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 16:10 IST

Congratulations Professor
we are proud of you.

from:  Nirmal
Posted on: Feb 20, 2012 at 05:52 IST

CV Raman tried to bring scientists from Germany during the second
world war, when they were forced to leave the country because of Nazi
politics. But he was opposed by the narrow minded politicians and
academicians of that time. But the United States attracted most of
them and provided whatever the facilites they need, and now we see the
results. Now its the time for us to fulfill what Raman's dream. We
have money, facilities, good atmosphere, we got rid of many of the
problems in the last century. Yes, its the time to bring together all
those extra brilliant people working home and abroad, to make a India
a better place for Science and technology. Definitely it will boost
and pave a good basis for the fastest growing economy for ever.

from:  Ameen San Sebastian
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 16:39 IST

Congratulations Dr Bawa for your contribution to conservation and Sustainable use of resources, particularly among the tribal community in India.

from:  Murali K S
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 13:24 IST

Congratualtion Dr. Kamal Bawa. I worked under him briefly at UMASS Boston. He is a very hardworking, nice and gentle person. I am very happy that he got the Gunnerus Award and I hope his work is recognized well as always.

from:  Pradeep
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 23:36 IST

We are very happy to hear this wonderful news. Many congratulations!!! with best wishes.

from:  Siddappa Setty
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 23:02 IST

Congratulations - it's heartening to get some good news coming out of Norway, whose hitherto blemishless image has been tarnished by their distressing habit of destroying families by taking away children from parents for trivial excuses.

Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 21:43 IST

Congratulations!! to you Dr. Kamal Bawa for your excellent contribution to the "Sustainability" research field. As a researcher I am very happy to hear that an Indian Professor was chosen to receive the first prestigious international award on sustainability implemented by Norway. Congratulations once again to you.

from:  Jabadurai
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 18:53 IST

My Hearty congrats to Dr.Bawa.

But will there be a day when the Indian government is capable of providing conducive, non-bureaucratic, reduced red tape environment so that all these Indian - Born Scientists and achievers can make the best use of their knowledge for the country.

None of these Nobel Laureates and award winners went abroad with intention to stay, but the lack of incentives or even grants and hierarchical environment in India prevents them from coming back.

When they run labs with Million and Billion dollar budget (for high end research) the lakhs of Rs grant provided by our CSIR and UGC is only months operating cost.

please get the thousands of crores lost in scams and invest in science so that we move from end user of technology to innovators.

from:  sriram
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 17:49 IST
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