Paris, Nov. 24 (CNA) A Taiwan-France research team was awarded this year’s Franco-Taiwanese Scientific Grand Prize in Paris Wednesday for their joint project on groundwater and its relationship with climate change and terrestrial ecology.

The award, co-founded by the French Academy of Sciences and Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), was awarded to Lo Min-hui (羅敏輝) and Agnès Ducharne.

Lo, who is an associate professor in National Taiwan University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, specializes in the field of land-atmosphere interactions.

Ducharne is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), whose research mainly focuses on the water cycle and its relationship to climate change, terrestrial ecology and human activities, with an emphasis on the role of groundwater.

Both men were recognized for their contributions to atmospheric sciences in their project titled “Biosphere and Land Use Exchanges with Groundwater and Soils in Earth system Models (BLUEGEM).”

According to the project’s website, BLUEGEM explores the evolution of groundwater, irrigation and climate in the Anthropocene in order to better understand their coupling, foresee potential changes, and identify possible social consequences. This is of paramount importance in order to identify sustainable pathways with respect to water resources, food security, biodiversity, human well-being and socio-economic activities.

The award ceremony was held on Wednesday at the Taipei Representative Office in France, and hosted by Taiwan’s representative to France Wu Chih-chung (吳志中), president of the French Academy of Sciences Patrick Flandrin, and Odile Eisenstein, who is a member of the academy.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lo was unable to attend the event in person, so a video of his speech was played thanking the organizers.

At the ceremony, Ducharne told CNA that she was pleased to have worked with Lo on the project, as they were able to apply complementary research methods to achieve results that could have never be done alone.

The award carries a cash prize of 38,200 euros (US$42,837).

The Franco-Taiwanese Scientific Grand Prize is an annual award that has been given to researchers in France and Taiwan since 1999. It can be awarded to scientists in any field but prioritizes research that facilitates collaboration between Taiwan and France.

(By Judy Tseng and Ko Lin)

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