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Science Prize for British-French Collaboration

16.09.2003


Collaborative research based at NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Banchory, near Aberdeen, has led to a prestigious prize being awarded to a French researcher this week.

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Dr David Grémillet will be awarded the Prix Franco-Britannique 2003 prize of 5000 € by the Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury at an award ceremony in Paris on Thursday 18 September. The prize was introduced 15 years ago with the aim of increasing scientific collaboration between the two countries. Dr Grémillet will use the money to further develop links with British researchers.

Lord Sainsbury comments, "I’m very pleased to be presenting this award. It underlines the strength of scientific cooperation between our two countries. Dr Grémillet’s work is a great example of what can be achieved if we work together, and this prize acknowledges not only his work, but also his evident enthusiasm for communicating science to the general public."


Dr Grémillet says, "I am deeply touched by this award, which crowns ten years of joint research on seabirds and the marine environment with colleagues from NERC. We will use this occasion to celebrate ten years of challenges, scientific excitement and strenuous work on remote islands around the world. The joint support of the British and the French governments will greatly help us to pursue our mission to learn more about the lives of seabirds. These fascinating creatures are the visible part of the iceberg in the marine environment. Studying them will help us to understand and manage marine ecosystems."

At CEH Dr Grémillet worked with Dr Sarah Wanless. The pair studied the behaviour of cormorants in Greenland and made the unusual discovery that, rather than piling on layers of insulating fat and feathers to protect themselves from icy waters, cormorants just dive for shorter periods and eat faster. They can catch fish up to 30 times faster than other seabirds.

Says Dr Wanless, "I am absolutely delighted that David Gremillet has won this prize. It recognises both his scientific achievements and his talent for collaboration. For me working with David has not only led to some exciting discoveries about the role birds play in a wide range of aquatic environments but has also been enormous fun. I hope that this award will strengthen even further the links between our two research groups."

Marion O’Sullivan | NERC

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