DGE Founding Director Chris Field Wins Japans Prize

Washington, DC— The founding Director of Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology and former Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II has been awarded the 2022 Japan Prize in the field of "Biological Production, Ecology/Environment."

The Japan Prize is awarded annually to scientists and engineers from around the world who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology, “furthering the cause of peace and prosperity” for all of humanity.

Each year, two different scientific disciplines are selected as the focus of the prizes. The 2022 honorees were selected from 346 candidates who were nominated by about 15,500 prominent scientists and engineers.

Field, now the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, was selected for his “outstanding contributions to the estimation of global biospheric productivity and climate change science using advanced formulas based on observation.”

His research seeks to understand the functioning of the Earth’s biosphere within the context of a changing climate. His work has also focused on identifying solutions that can improve climate mitigation and adaptation while supporting vibrant economies. Field was a Staff Scientist at Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology from 1984 until 2002, when he co-founded the Department of Global Ecology with fellow Carnegie Staff Scientist Joe Berry. During his tenure as Director, Field was also the coordinating lead author for the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a member of the IPCC delegation that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

 “This recognition of Chris Fields’ work showcases our Institution’s great history in staking out bold new directions that define important fields of science, as well as having an important impact for humankind,” said Carnegie President Eric D. Isaacs.

“Chris has played a foundational role in the development of our understanding of the feedbacks between the global biosphere and the climate system, and in the recognition of the risks to our global climate posed by human activity,” added Department of Global Ecology Director Anna M. Michalak. “This recognition is a demonstration of Chris’ outsize role in shaping the discipline of Global Ecology, and of Carnegie’s great impact on the research enterprise.”

Field’s cohort also includes BioNTech SE Senior Vice President Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for their contributions to the development of mRNA vaccines. Their selection was in the field of Materials and Production.

The Japan Prize laureates receive a certificate of merit and a prize medal.