ATREE's President, Dr Kamal Bawa, receives Gunnerus Award

During a ceremony in Trondheim, Norway on April 17th, 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. The Indian-born Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Dr Kamal Bawa, will receive the Gunnerus Gold Medal and the award of 1 Million NOK (U.S. $ 190,000)

Dr Bawa is most noted for his pioneering work on population biology in rainforest areas. His wide span of research includes groundbreaking biological discoveries made in Central America, Western Ghats in India and the Himalayas. 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 Ruffolo Giorgio Fellowship in Sustainability Science and Bullard Fellowship at 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. The award is named after DKNVS’ founder, Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus (1718-1773), and is the result of 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 considered a number of nominees from many countries. The choice of the first-prize winner finally landed on the Indian biologist Professor Kamal Bawa.

“We are very pleased to have selected such a worthy winner of the first Gunnerus award” said Professor Kristian Fossheim, President of DKNVS.”

Norway as a country is associated with the term "sustainability" from Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtlands's report to the UN. Now its environmental capital of Trondheim, has established the world's first major award in the globally important new research area of sustainability. Is 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 comparison to the Nobel Prizes in science” Fossheim adds.

”I am very pleased over the recognition that our work has received. A large part of my work during the last several years has been the establishment of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment(ATREE), a non-profit conservation and development research think tank in India ( In January, 2011, a Universityof Pennsylvania study ranked ATREE #19 among the environmental think tanks in theworld, and implicitly #1 in Asia, and now the Gunnerus Award--I am naturallyvery happy,” told Kamal Bawa during an interview with a Norwegian newspaper.

Details about Kamal Bawa’s work can be found at

Press contact:
Herman Ekle Lund
+47 909 27 653
For more on the Gunnerus Sustainability Award and announcement, please visit


Communications Manager, ATREE