Bernese Award for Environmental Research

Award 2021

The winners of the 13th Bernese Award for Environmental Research

Main Prize: Dr. Kristina Rehberger

Aquatic ecosystems are considered at risk around the globe, in part because of chemical pollution. Dr. Rehberger’s work1 at the Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health illustrates the strength of interdisciplinary, multifactorial approaches for the assessment of aquatic pollution. Her research lays out how ethinylestradiol – the active ingredient in the pill – subtly and diversely impacts fish at environmentally relevant concentrations: The chemical alters the reproductive and immune systems of trout. When exposed to the chemical as well as parasites at the same time, the fish also grow fatigued more quickly. In this way, ethinylestradiol interferes with the health of the fish in three areas, namely, reproduction, defence against disease, and energy balance.
Dr. Rehberger’s work thus points the way for systemic approaches in, for example, risk assessment and threshold setting, which are indispensable for sustainable prevention of environmental problems.

1“Long-term exposure to low 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2) concentrations disrupts both the reproductive and the immune system of juvenile rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

Main Prize: Dr. Elena Zepharovich

for her dissertation, titled “Deforestation and environmental justice in the Argentinean Chaco: Perceptions of land use change and possible solutions”. The research aims to improve understanding of the impacts of deforestation, one of the biggest drivers of climate change. Elena Zepharovich uses the concept of environmental justice to analyse how local stakeholders perceive deforestation and what potential solutions there might be to address land use conflicts in the Argentinean Chaco. Her work demonstrates the importance of not only sustainability, but also environmental justice in finding lasting solutions to such conflicts. 

Nominations

We are delighted to announce that 6 exceptional works have been submitted for the 2021 prize.
We thank all nominees for the commitment.

The winners will be announced at the 187th Dies academicus in December 2021.

Nominations for the Bernese Award for Environmental Research 2021
 Name Title
 Delalay, Gary An understated danger: Antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture and pet fish in Switzerland, a retrospective study from 2000 to 2017
 Fesenfeld, Lukas  Emphasizing Urgency of Climate Change is Insufficient to Increase Policy Support
Hildebrandt, Toni  Postapokalyptisches Staunen. Ästhetik und Geschichtsbewusstsein im Naturvertrag
Mader, Sebastian  What drives climate change?
 Moore-Jones, Gaia  Epidemiological study of footrot in free-ranging Alpine ibex in Switzerland
 Rehberger, Kristina  Long-term exposure to low 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2) concentrations disrupts both the reproductive and the immune system of juvenile rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss
 Zepharovich, Elena  Deforestation and Environmental Justice in the Argentinean Chaco. Perceptions of land-use change and possible solutions

2021 Bernese Award for Environmental Research

The Bernese Award for Environmental Research aims to promote disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in environmental sciences and sustainability at the University of Bern. The prize money in 2021 totals CHF 15,000.
The award, granted every two years, targets researchers whose work makes a relevant contribution to society or lays the foundations for a better understanding of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.