The WCRP/GCOS International Data Prize is awarded annually to an early- to mid-career researcher for their outstanding contribution to the Earth system science community, through achievements in data product generation, data management and preservation or other data relevant activities.
This year, the prize committee, consisting of representatives from World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and their joint panels the Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC), the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC) and the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), was likewise impressed by the outstanding candidates nominated and decided to award two prizes to Dr Laia Comas-Bru (SPECIAL member at UoR) and Dr Lijing Cheng (IAP, China).

Laia Comas-Bru was nominated for her work in leading the international effort to create the SISAL database, a global compilation of speleothem isotope data which can be used to reconstruct past hydroclimates. Laia was instrumental in creating and leading an international network of young scientists to compile data, was hands-on in creating a public-access database and instigating quality control measures, and has promoted the use of the database for regional hydroclimate reconstructions and climate model evaluation.

“I am honoured to be the joint recipient of this award. I am grateful to the brilliant early-career researchers in SISAL, who jumped into whatever boat I was suggesting with their eyes closed, and to the senior researchers who supported my leading endeavours and provided sound advice in the background. Spearheading SISAL has been a “joyful challenge with many bumps” and I am truly humbled to see all the efforts recognised in this award. Thanks to the colleagues who surprised me with this nomination!” — Laia