CIAT’s Andy Jarvis has paid tribute to his Colombian colleagues during the Ebbe Nielsen Prize ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday.
The annual award, granted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), recognizes the innovative use of the latest computer technology in biodiversity research.
Jarvis, a UK scientist who has worked for CIAT in Colombia since 2000, leads the organization’s Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) program, and is renowned for his research into agrobiodiversity and climate change. DAPA’s work offers guidelines for decision-makers that promote the conservation and better use of crop species in order to improve food security. GBIF announced Jarvis was the winner of the Ebbe Nielsen Prize 2009 in May.
Addressing the GBIF-hosted event at the University of Copenhagen, Jarvis described the award as a “true honor,” and was quick to praise his Colombian colleagues: “I would be no-one without them,” he said. “There is barely a map I show, a number I quote or a program I run that hasn’t in some way been produced by mostly Colombian staff.
“Their dedication, their motivation, and their raw capacity never fails to astound me.”
In September 2009, Jarvis received a letter from Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, congratulating him on winning the prize, and describing the award as “a well-deserved recognition for his CIAT research team.”
Jarvis will use the prize money to set up the Peter Jones Scholarship for Agricultural Bioinformatics, named after the former-CIAT scientist who was one of Jarvis’ early mentors. The scholarship will support a promising Latin American undergraduate to help with DAPA’s research into the effects of climate change on agricultural biodiversity.