Today, the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, awarded the 2016 Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology to Professor Josep Peñuelas, who is considered one of the world’s foremost and most cited researchers in the fields of ecology and climate change.
The President began his intervention with a brief mention of the Catalunya International Prize awarded last month: “A few days ago we awarded the Catalunya International Prize to doctors Baselga, Esteller and Massagué for their extraordinary work in the field of cancer research and their significant contribution in biomedicine”. “Today”, he continued, “we award the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology to another great Catalan scientist, Dr. Josep Peñuelas, the first Catalan and the third European to win this prestigious award”. In this regard, Puigdemont applauded the international scope of Catalonia’s “scientific output” and commended Dr Peñuelas in particular for his distinguished career as one of the world’s most productive scientist in the study of climate change. “This award is therefore fully deserved and justified”, assured the President.
In his speech, Carles Puigdemont made reference to Catalonia’s role in the field of ecology and highlighted the contributions of some of the country’s leading research centres such as the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM - CSIC), the University of Barcelona’s Ecology Department, the Institute of Aquatic Ecology of the University of Girona (UdG), Solsona’s Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), and the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF), where Dr Peñuelas is currently a research professor.
Puigdemont also referred to the Generalitat’s pledge to environmental preservation and noted that the Law on Climate Change was the first law approved by the Catalan Government in the current legislature. The President also explained that Catalonia’s Department of Environment was first established by the Catalan Government in 1991, “five years before the Spanish government created its own”. In this regard, Catalonia has unremittingly “developed brave environmental policy” and will continue in its commitment to mitigate climate change.
The event was held at the Palau de la Generalitat and included the attendance of the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, and Professor Emeritus of the University of Barcelona and researcher at the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF), Jaume Terrades.
The Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology
The Government of Catalonia created the Ramon Margalef Prize in 2004 to recognise scientist from around the world who have distinguished themselves in the field of ecological science. The award is also a tribute to the memory of Professor Margalef (Barcelona, 1919-2004), who conducted leading scientific and academic work in the field of modern ecology and was considered one of its greatest exponents in the world.
Former recipients of the award include Paul Dayton, John Lawton, Paul Ehrlich, Simon Levin, Daniel Simberloff, Sallie Chisholm, and more recently David Tilman (2014) and Robert E. Ricklefs (2015).