Alex Rogers, Professor in Zoology and a Fellow of Somerville College, has been awarded the prestigious MPLS (Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences Division) Divisional Impact Award: For excellence in generating broad user interactions that achieved impact in the past year and/or, in the opinion of the judging panel, are conducive to achieving impact.

Professor Rogers received the award for his work as Scientific Director of the International Programme on the State of the Oceans which the award judges recognised as wide-ranging, from publishing regularly-cited papers to winning increased global attention for the problem of declining ocean health.

“I am really delighted that this award has been granted in recognition of my work on marine conservation,” said Professor Rogers. “The ocean is the Earth’s largest ecosystem and a global commons and is facing unparalleled threats from human activities including poorly-managed and illegal fishing, pollution and climate change. Work by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean and the Global Ocean Commission has highlighted these problems and I hope has initiated a ‘sea change’ in our relationship with the blue part of our planet.”

The award judges noted Professor Rogers’s role in the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), which has reported its findings to the UN in order to enable reforms in the governance and management of the oceans. The Commission’s Co-Chairs are David Miliband, Trevor Manuel (ex-Finance Minister, South Africa) and Jose Maria Figueras (ex-President of Costa Rica). The GOC met at Somerville College, Oxford, as well as in Cape Town, New York and Hong Kong; its headquarters are in Somerville.

“The selection panel was very impressed by the nomination made on your behalf by Prof Peter Holland…the award is made in recognition of your significant achievement,” wrote Martin Edwards, Administrative Officer at the MPLS Divisional Office.

The award judges also noted the contribution of the June 2014 report (The High Seas and Us) by Professor Rogers and others to the work of the GOC, the results of which include motivating the International Maritime Organisation to examine the current exclusions of fishing vessels from regulations of vessel registration and safety, and is providing the impetus for a new Implementing Agreement for the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea to develop better protection and governance for the high seas.

“I am thrilled that Professor Rogers has received this highly competitive award,” said Dr Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville. “His exciting research and its significant impact bring great credit to the University and to the College. His students and colleagues should all be very proud of being associated with him.”

The award was widely contested since it was open to all those within the MPLS division.

Find out more about Alex’s work

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