Change the world


Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Dr Mia Strand from the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research at Nelson Mandela University has been selected as the South African, and one of 23 worldwide finalists, in line for the US$1.1 million Frontiers Planet Prize.


Dr Strand’s paper on “Reimagining Ocean Stewardship: Arts-Based Methods to ‘Hear’ and ‘See’ Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Ocean Management », written together with Dr Nina Rivers and Adjunct Professor Prof Bernadette Snow, was chosen as the SA Champion for the prize.

Mia, is originally from Norway, but residing in South Africa, for the past eight years. Both Dr Rivers and Bernadette Snow, have additional affiliations in the UK.

“At the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research we explore how to advance social-ecological systems approaches to ocean decision-making such as marine spatial planning” says Mia.

The nominated research formed part of Dr Strand’s PhD research, which explored the value of arts-based participatory research for more inclusive and equitable ocean governance in South Africa, specifically emphasising the need to better recognise Indigenous and local knowledge systems in decision-making processes.

As national champions, each researcher will have the opportunity to share their award-winning research through national and international conferences to facilitate the systemic change needed to safeguard our planet's health.

This is made possible through the support of the Prize's strategic partners, including Future Earth, the Potsdam Institute of Climate Research Impact, the International Science Council, and the Villars Institute.

The Frontiers Planet Prize Award Ceremony will take place on 26 June 2024 at the Villars Symposium in Villar-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. Led by the Villars Institute, an international non-profit foundation dedicated to accelerating the transition to net-zero emissions, the Villars Symposium brings thought leaders from policy, practice, and philanthropy together.

Each champion will present their research and engage with key planetary health figures across academia, policy, business, and non-governmental agencies, all of whom have the capability to shape policy and influence civil society.

The Symposium also includes a global cohort of system and solution-oriented high school students from schools all over the world, which will offer an additional chance to foster intergenerational collaboration and prepare the next generation to combat climate change.

Commenting on the 2024 Frontiers Planet Prize, Jean-Claude Burgelman, director of the Frontiers Planet Prize, said: “We are confronted with an environmental crisis on a planetary scale, creating a true threat for humanity. The ambition of the Frontiers Planet Prize is to directly address this crisis by mobilizing scientists engaged in breakthrough research. We congratulate the National Champions and thank all the nominees for their valuable research and ongoing commitment to saving our planet.”

The Frontiers Research Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation based in Switzerland, which was founded by Kamila and Henry Markram, neuroscientists from the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL). It raises funds to support programmes that accelerate scientific solutions for healthy lives on a healthy planet.

The Frontiers Planet Prize is a global competition for scientists and research institutions to propose solutions to help the planet remain within the safe operating space of any one or more of the nine planetary boundaries.

It was created by the Frontiers Research Foundation on Earth Day 2022 to mobilise the global scientific community, make it complete at the highest level of excellence, and contribute to the acceleration of concrete solutions to the challenges defined by the planetary boundaries.

To-date, it has drawn together hundreds of scientists, 20 national academies of science, 475 leading universities and research institutions to compete for three prizes of 1M Swiss francs each as adjudicated by a Jury of 100 leading sustainability scientists.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160