2021 - All Press Releases

Conservation Scientist named as 2021 winner of the Nature Award for Driving Global Impact

Zuzana Burivalova of the Sound Forest Lab recognised for her research into protecting biodiversity in tropical forests

London | New York, 30 November 2021

This year’s Nature Award for Driving Global Impact (DGI) has been awarded to conservation scientist Zuzana Burivalova, principal investigator at the Sound Forest Lab, Wisconsin, US for her work on biodiversity protection in tropical forests. The award recognises early career researchers whose critical work makes a positive impact on society by addressing global challenges. Burivalova - who receives a cash prize of 30,000 USD - was announced as the winner at a virtual ceremony on 30 November.

Congratulating Burivalova, Richard Hughes, VP Publishing, Nature said: “The judges were impressed by the novel approaches that Zuzana and her team are taking to assess biodiversity in tropical forests - an area of the utmost importance as we work to understand and mitigate the effects of deforestation on species. Zuzana is also taking proactive measures to share with other researchers which conservation strategies succeed and which fail.

Hughes added: “Each year, the DGI award uncovers fascinating examples of research which is achieving real world impact. We hope that by showcasing such work on our platform we can raise its profile. On behalf of Nature Awards, I congratulate Zuzana and all of our shortlisted scientists on their commitment to solving global challenges.”

Recognising the calibre of entries received from over 350 researchers from across 62 countries, the judging panel also selected two runners up for this year’s award. Muhammad Afzal, principal scientist at the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Pakistan, was commended for his research addressing polluted soil and wastewater through self-sustaining, and environment-friendly technologies. James Hassell, a wildlife veterinarian, epidemiologist and Keller Family Skorton Scholar for the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and assistant professor adjunct of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health was also named runner-up. He was recognised for his work in Kenya to improve the health of co-existing wildlife populations, human communities and their livestock, with a particular focus on urbanization as a driver of emerging pathogens. Both runners-up receive research grants of 10,000 USD.

As a publisher, Springer Nature is committed to providing platforms, such as its suite of awards, to help researchers communicate the impact of their research, and extending the evidence based approach that drives change forwards.

From publishing journals such as Nature Sustainability and Nature Climate Change to its dedicated sustainability team, Springer Nature takes its role in disseminating and promoting trusted information on relevant scientific developments, sustainable development and climate action seriously. More on the publisher's commitment to sustainability and climate action can be found here.


Note to editors:

Information on all upcoming Nature Awards and their deadlines can be found on the Nature Awards website alongside profiles of the DGI Award winner and runners-up.

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Sam Sule | Communications | Springer Nature