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Grand Prix 2017 of the Institut Grand-ducal

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Published on Monday, 20 November 2017

The Grand Prix 2017 in Geological Sciences from the Institut Grand-ducal was awarded by an international jury to Tonie Van Dam, Vice-President of the University of Luxembourg and Professor for Physical Geodesy.

The jury chose her among seven candidates because of her numerous high-level scientific publications and her innovative approaches in geodesy, the science of measuring and understanding the earth's geometric shape. The award ceremony took place on 18 November at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Tonie Van Dam was awarded for her project ‘Absolute Gravity and Surface Displacements in Greenland’. Working with data from Greenland to understand the present-day and Pleistocene changes in ice mass, she uses fundamental observations of earth properties to study climate change and geodynamics. The award also highlighted her scientific work and accomplishments throughout her career. Professor Tonie Van Dam is the author of more than 120 national and international publications related to research topics, such as climate science, geodynamics and geophysics. Her different scientific activities have been supported by various institutions, such as the European Commission (Horizon 2020), Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), and ESA's Science & Technology (SciTech).

“Tonie Van Dam's international recognition is manifested inter alia in her responsibilities in international committees. Her research subject in geophysics that combines geodesy, geophysical modelling and climate change is very well-defined,” said the jury to explain its decision.

In Luxembourg, Tonie Van Dam is taking on the role of Vice-President for Doctoral Education and Training, Gender and International Relations at the University of Luxembourg. All along her career, she has taught at different academic levels and has supervised many doctoral and post-doctoral students. “I’ve worked in Luxembourg for over 17 years and I am honoured to have been recognised by the Institut Grand-ducal for the quality of my geodynamic research. I owe a tremendous debt to the Luxembourg government. Through their support to the University and the FNR, I have been able to continue much of the research I started in the US,” commented Professor Van Dam.

An academic award for Luxembourgish researchers

In cooperation with the FNR and private sponsors, the “Section des Sciences Naturelles, physiques et mathématiques de l’Institut Grand-ducal” starting in 2010, awards every year researchers for their achievements or a prodigious discovery. One of the preconditions to become eligible for the award is to be a Luxembourg national or a researcher working, or having worked, in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Under this scope, the major part of his or her scientific work and international publications should be done in the country. The Grand Prix 2017 prize in geological sciences is sponsored by the company “Careers FEIDT Inc”.

© University of Luxembourg, Michel Brumat