Nominate women oceanographers for awards!

by Sonya Legg

I would like to encourage my fellow physical oceanographers to nominate their colleagues for the many relevant research awards listed below. The current award nomination season is now open and nominations are due March 15th for AGU union awards, April 15th for AGU Ocean Sciences section awards, and May 1st for AMS awards. Historically, women have received awards at a rate considerably less than their membership in these societies. In the past this was excused as a “pipeline problem”, i.e. we just have to wait for women to progress to senior levels in our field and awards will catch up. However, with women receiving PhDs in oceanography at the same rate as men for over 10 years (, it is clear that the problem will not just solve itself – women are still under-represented even in early career awards. The AGU has taken a serious look at this problem and has determined that one of the main bottlenecks is the nomination process. Specifically, women are less likely to be nominated than men at the same career level. I’m hoping you will join me in helping to change this statistic by nominating your women colleagues at equal rates to men. I encourage you to especially consider nominating deserving women of minority ethnicity. For more information about AGU demographics and efforts to diversify awards see:

Since the AGU started paying more attention to diversifying the pool of nominees and training its selection committees to counter implicit bias, the gender ratio of AGU awards has improved dramatically ( However, the American Meteorological Society has not paid equivalent attention to these demographics, and very few AMS oceanography awards have gone to women (the Stommel award and Svedrup medal have each had only one woman recipient). Let’s change this! 

The following resources provide hints for successful nominations (,

Below is a list of all the AGU and AMS research awards for which oceanographers are eligible. To make it easy for you, there is a link to the society award page, and in some cases, a list of the women who have previously received the award. For the early career awards, MPOWIR can help provide suggestions of early career women physical oceanographers who received their PhDs during the correct time-frame.

AGU Ocean Sciences section awards: Deadline April 15th, 2020

Ocean Sciences Voyager Award: for a mid-career scientist within 10-20 years of receiving their Ph.D., recognizing significant contributions to, and expanding leadership in the ocean sciences.

Previous women awardees: Andrea Grottoli (2018). 

Harald Svedrup Lecture: Recognizes outstanding contributions to, as well as unselfish promotion of cooperation in, atmospheric and oceanographic research.

Previous women awardees: Mary-Louise Timmermans (2019), Susan Wijffels (2016), Fiammeta Straneo (2014), Lisa Levin (2012), Debbie Steinberg (2012), Rana Fine (2008), Victoria Fabry (2008), Barbara Hickey (2006), Alice Alldredge (2004), Cindy Lee (2000), Margaret Delaney (1995).

Rachel Carson Lecture: Recognizes cutting-edge work in ocean science research by a woman scientist.

AGU Union Awards: Deadline March 15th, 2020

James B. Macelwane Medal: For early-career scientists in earth and space sciences, within 10 years of receiving their Ph.D. or the highest equivalent terminal degree as of 1 January of the year of the nomination.

Joanne Simpson Medal for Mid-career scientists: For mid-career scientists who have made transformative scientific advances or breakthroughs in the Earth and space sciences, have demonstrated strong leadership, and provided outstanding service to science and society.

Previous women awardees: Penelope King (2019), Ann Pearson (2019). 

AGU fellows: AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space science through a breakthrough, discovery, or innovation in their field.

American Meteorological Society Awards: Deadline May 1st 2020

The Henry Stommel Research Medal: Recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of the understanding of the dynamics and physics of the ocean.

Previous women awardees: Lynne Talley (2017)

The Svedrup Gold Medal: For outstanding contributions to the scientific knowledge of interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, interactions between the oceans and the cryosphere, or ocean biogeochemistry.

Previous women awardees: Kristina Katsaros (1997)

The Nicholas P. Fofonoff early career award: For a researcher within 10 years of their highest degree, in recognition of research achievement in the field of physical oceanography. All aspects of physical oceanography are eligible, including instrument development as well as observational, theoretical, and modeling studies.

Previous women awardees: Laure Zanna (2020), Emily Shroyer (2018), Jen MacKinnon (2014), Annalisa Bracco (2011).

AMS Fellows: For outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years.

ASLO Awards: deadline October 2020

G.Evelyn Hutchinson Award: presented annually to recognize excellence in any aspect of limnology or oceanography. Emphasis in selection will be given to mid-career scientists for work accomplished during the preceding 5-10 years. Preference will be given to candidates within 25 years of the receipt of their most advanced degree.This award is intended for individuals only.

A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement award: presented to recognize and honor major, long-term achievements in the fields of limnology and oceanography, including research, education and service to the community and society. Emphasis in selection is given to established aquatic scientists whose work is recognized for its importance and long-term influence. Candidates should have more than 25 years experience beyond the date of their most advanced degree. This award is open to pairs of individuals where joint work has been of a long-term, sustained collaborative effort.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.