The scientist Miguel Bastos Araújo won the Pessoa 2018 Award, this Friday was announced by Francisco Pinto Balsemão, president of the jury. The ceremony took place in the Palace of Seteais, in Sintra.
Miguel Bastos Araújo, 48, is a researcher at the University of Évora and has focused on the impact of climate change.
“The Pessoa Award intends to represent a new attitude, a new gesture, in the contemporary recognition of the cultural and scientific interventions produced by Portuguese,” the organization said in a press release.
The Pessoa Award, worth 60 thousand euros, is an initiative of the weekly Expresso and Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
Miguel Bastos Araújo “is today internationally recognized as one of the most creative and influential scientific personalities in biogeography, macroecology and ecological modelling,” said Francisco Pinto Balsemão, on the researcher at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid and professor at the University of Copenhagen.
“At a global, political, economic and cultural level, there are so many powerful voices and forces, creating obstacles to the contribution of the sciences to the study and search for solutions to the fundamental problems of human survival, regarding the crisis of the environment and climate change, the awarding of the Pessoa 2018 Prize to Miguel Bastos Araújo is a clear sign that knowledge, science with conscience and public policies inspired by it, is indispensable to fuel hope for a sustainable future “says the jury’s minutes.
The jury was also formed by Emílio Rui Vilar (vice-president), Ana Pinho, António Barreto, Clara Ferreira Alves, Diogo Lucena, Eduardo Souto de Moura, José Luís Porfírio, Maria Manuel Mota, Maria de Sousa, Pedro Norton, Rui Magalhães Baião, Rui Vieira Nery and Viriato Soromenho-Marques.
Miguel Bastos Araújo, born in 1969, graduated in Geography, at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in 1994, obtained a master’s degree in Conservation at University College London in 1996, and obtained a PhD in Geography at the same university in 2000.
“Their work has particular repercussions in the areas of biodiversity and global climate change,” said Pinto Balsemão, speaking at Seteais.
In this thematic cross-fertilization “so important for the contemporary world, its work has contributed to strengthening the scientific basis of environmental policy, in particular by developing mechanisms for managing and reducing uncertainty, in order to allow better protection of biodiversity within the framework of profound changes introduced by ongoing climate change, “stressed the chair of the jury.
In addition to the authorship of a large scientific bibliography of more than 200 titles, which are among the most cited publications in the academic literature, Miguel Bastos Araújo “has also distinguished himself by contributing to the formation of new researchers and to the development of projects scientists of great importance “.
The jury also noted, “for its exemplary character, the creation of a Rui Nabeiro Biodiversity Chair under its direction at the University of Évora, a rare case of scientific patronage in Portugal.”
Miguel Bastos Araújo has seen his scientific merit recognized through important international awards, obtained in the last five years, among them the Ebbe Nielsen Prize (2013), The Wolfson Research Merit Award (2014), the King James I Award (2016) and the Ernst Haeckel Prize (2019).
The Pessoa Award is granted annually to the person of Portuguese nationality who during that period and following an earlier activity has been the protagonist of a particularly relevant and innovative intervention in the artistic, literary or scientific life of the country.
In a statement, the University of Évora (UÉ) welcomed the “just award” of the award to Professor Miguel Bastos Araújo, “researcher coordinator guest of the UÉ since 2009, and one of the most outstanding Portuguese scientists today.“