Oscar Prize 2019 for environmental law and palaeontology researchers

29 November 2019

The winners of Uppsala University’s Oscar Prize for young researchers are Yaffa Epstein of the Department of Law and Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki of the Department of Organismal Biology.

The Oscar Prize is awarded annually to two young researchers at Uppsala University who, “through scholarly writing, have made themselves most deserving and inspire the best hopes of continued academic authorship at the University”. The Prize consists of the return on the 40,000-krona donation made by King Oscar II to Uppsala University in September 1877, to mark its 400th anniversary, and may be shared between two equally deserving recipients.

The recipients are appointed by the University Board according to the proposal of a committee composed of the faculty deans. The Prize is awarded at the Winter Conferment Ceremony in January.

Yaffa Epstein, Doctor of Laws, Department of Law

Yaffa Epstein is a researcher in environmental law at Uppsala University’s Department of Law. Her special focus has been on protection of Sweden and other countries’ wolf populations in relation to regulation under EU law and its influence on wildlife conservation. She obtained her PhD in 2017 and her copious production since completing her doctoral thesis, too, has been put to diligent use, notably by the European Commission.

Epstein’s research has attracted keen interest in both scientific contexts and among the informed public. She has, for example, been quoted in international media, such as Der Spiegel, and in 2019 an article on the rights of nature co-authored by Epstein was published in Science Magazine. Since her disputation (the public defence of her thesis), Epstein has also been successful in obtaining external research funding and received high praise from experts in her field. Before she embarked on her research studies at Uppsala, she worked at Minnesota Law School in the United States.

Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, PhD, Department of Organismal Biology, part of the Evolutionary Biology Centre

Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, a researcher at Uppsala University’s Department of Organismal Biology, is a vertebrate palaeontologist whose research focuses mainly on the Triassic Period – the geological epoch when the first dinosaurs appeared.

Niedzwiedzki is an extremely productive researcher whose works are, moreover, of very high quality. Since his disputation, he has published 43 scientific articles in such journals as Nature and Science. He is known for a series of ground-breaking writings on the use of synchrotron microtomography to study coprolites, i.e. fossilised faeces, and describing the oldest known fossil footprints of prehistoric humans.



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