Deadline extended for IHA Young Researcher Award
14 February 2019
There is just under a month left for young engineers and scientists to apply for the International Hydropower Association’s (IHA) prestigious Young Researcher Award.
The award recognises emerging talent researching hydropower, water and energy systems and will be presented at the between 14 to 16 May in Paris.
Open to academic researchers aged under 30, entrants are invited to submit a short article summarising their work (no more than 1,500 words). The subject must be relevant to at least one of the topics under discussion at the upcoming World Hydropower Congress.
The winner will receive a year’s individual membership with IHA and free registration to the 2019 Congress, where they will be invited to present their research. Those who make the shortlist will have their articles published on the IHA website.
IHA’s Chief Executive Richard Taylor said: “The IHA Young Researcher Award provides an opportunity for young innovators to share their research with key representatives from the hydropower sector, government, financial and academic institutions and civil society. It is a rare chance to bring specialist research findings to the attention of policy-makers from around the world.”
The award was first presented at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, China, where it was won by Sami Khan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his work on hydrophobic rare-earth oxide coatings and their potential application in hydropower systems.
It was awarded again at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The recipients were Alexandros Korkovelos of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sara Mercier-Blais of the University of Quebec in Montreal and Rafael Schmitt of UC Berkeley.
Since winning the award, Dr Schmitt has become Lead Hydrologist and a postdoctoral researcher at The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University. He referred to the experience as a “pivotal moment” for his research.
“The World Hydropower Congress exposed me to real-world challenges and led me to direct my research towards decision-relevant research questions. The network I established during the Congress has led to ongoing collaborations and research opportunities with key actors in the hydropower sector,” said Dr Schmitt.
This sentiment was echoed by Ms Mercier-Blais, for whom the Congress was a “first step” into the hydropower sector. “By attending different panel sessions, I learned about many subjects, which has helped me to better understand the context I am now working with.”
Mr Korkovelos, a PHD Researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, added: “Winning the award definitely had a positive impact on my career as it gave rise to new, interesting opportunities. The Congress provided the chance to get informed about the newest developments in hydropower and meet with experts in the field.”
The 2019 World Hydropower Congress will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is expected to bring together representatives from more than 100 countries.
To qualify, entrants must have been born after 31 December 1988 and must be affiliated with an academic institution. To find out more about the IHA Young Researcher Award, including the full entry criteria, visit