Skip over navigation

Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe and collaborator Andrea Rinaldo receive a Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water

The Prize Council for the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water has announced the recipients of the Fourth Award. The Creativity Prize was awarded to the team of Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe (Princeton University, USA) and Dr. Andrea Rinaldo (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausan, Switzerland).

The Prize Council press release reads, “They are being awarded for their invention and development of the new field of Ecohydrology, which bridges the gap between the physical and life sciences."

Ecohydrology is a multi-disciplinary research field borrowing from a number of “classic” disciplines (physical sciences; life sciences), yet aiming at a unified picture of water-supported biological dispersion. In practical terms, the new research field presents itself as a comprehensive blend of theory (mathematical modeling), interpretation of past and present biological records, and field experimentation.

The work being awarded represents the joint Princeton-Lausanne research group that was built by the two prizewinners through years of collaboration. Some of their work shows how river networks act as ecological corridors, and how they influence the spread of a water-borne disease like Cholera that still a plague society today.

Their work facilitates avenues of research into many areas of vital importance for society, especially where the ecological significance of human water use is at issue. Ecohydrology has a wide range of practical applications, including water resources management, the development of strategies to minimize the loss of freshwater biodiversity, and the effective prevention of water-borne diseases.

The Fourth Award Creativity Prize is also shared by the team of Dr. Marek Zreda (University of Arizona) and Dr. Darin Desilets (Sandia National Laboratroy, USA).

The Creativity Prize is awarded to an innovator or pioneer in any water-related field whose work can rightfully be considered a "breakthrough". The work might be an invention, a research paper, a new technology, or a development project. It can relate to any branch of any water-related discipline. What matters is its importance and originality, and that it achieves something significant. For instance, it might contribute to increasing available water resources, or to alleviating scarcity, or to minimizing pollution. It might make a material contribution to water conservation or to effective water management. Moreover, the work should provide a solution which is useful to society, contribute to development and social upliftment, be practical, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective.

Congratulations to Ignacio and his colleague Andrea Rinaldo on this great honor!