Tamara Stuij, from the Netherlands, won the 2023 Mirpuri Foundation/ICRI Ocean Award.

The 2023 Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award, in partnership with the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), was presented in Cascais at the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy awards ceremony and granted to Tamara Stuij. The 29-year-old student from The Netherlands won the Award with the scientific poster “The Potential of Humic Substances to Improve Coral Reef Resilience”.

Ms Stuij commented: “It is great to experience that people care about our oceans and acknowledge the importance of research in our search for solutions to improve the current, critical state of coral reefs. Participating in the competition was a great stimulator for presenting my research in a comprehensive, fun, and understandable way. Something so important but also quite challenging! Receiving this award is a great honour for me and our team. We are deeply grateful and excited to see that the main focus of my PhD research has received such significant recognition. This acknowledgement serves as a strong motivation for us to continue our work with renewed enthusiasm”.

The innovativeness and relevance of this project impressed the jury, making the PhD student at the Laboratory for Molecular Studies of Marine Environments  (LEMAM) at Aveiro University and a research fellow of the 4D-REEF project take home the 2023 Mirpuri Foundation /ICRI Ocean Award trophy, as well as a €5,000 check for the exemplary work to promote the health of our ocean and marine life.

Tamara Stuij studies the past, present, and future of coral reefs in the coral triangle, in collaboration with more than 40 researchers, including 18 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), from 14 different institutions across Europe and Southeast Asia.

An esteemed panel of sustainability and coral reefs experts from dozens of candidates chose the winner. Two other projects received honourable Mentions: “Together for a Clean Ocean – Building a Community to fight marine plastic pollution” from Seaqual Initiative and “Unveiling the Role of fluorescent proteins in the Response of Mesophotic Corals to a rapidly changing environment” by Giulia Marchioro from her PhD project at the Vienna Doctoral Scholl of Ecology and Evolution, University of Vienna.

Heightening awareness of the importance of preserving our oceans is one of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy´s most excellent objectives, considered one of the most sustainable in the world.

The Ocean Award, as part of the Mirpuri Foundation Marine Conservation Program, recognises and celebrates the excellence of the scientific community and awards a monetary prize to the most innovative project with a positive impact on the health of our oceans.

Winner: Tamara Stuij

Honorable Mention: Giulia Marchioro

Honorable Mention: Carla Navarro