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IODE Achievement Awards

iode_award.jpgThe IODE programme, since its establishment in 1961, has been able to develop and grow to an active global network of data centres and information centres thanks to the hard work of hundreds of national and international experts. 

Most IODE experts contribute their work to the Programme on a voluntary basis in addition to their normal day job. 

In order to express special appreciation to some of these experts who contributed time and effort the IODE programme has started bestowing "IODE Achievement Awards" during the twentieth Session of the IODE Committee in 2009.





Awards List

  1. Balopoulos, Efstathios (Mr)
  2. Brown, Murray (Mr)
  3. Davies, Suzie (Ms)
  4. Fornwall, Mark (Mr)
  5. Goovaerts, Marc (mr)
  6. Herman, Rudy (Mr)
  7. Iona, Sissy (Ms)
  8. Keeley, Robert (Mr)
  9. Keita Ndiaye, Arame (Ms)
  10. Lin, Shaohua (Ms)
  11. Levitus, Sydney (Mr)
  12. Lowry, Roy (Mr)
  13. Maillard, Catherine (Ms)
  14. Oliounine, Iouri (Mr)
  15. Mees, Jan (Mr)
  16. Mikhailov, Nick (Mr)
  17. Narayanan, Savithri (Ms)
  18. Pepe, Richard (Mr)
  19. Pikula, Linda (Ms)
  20. Reed, Greg (Mr)
  21. Rickards, Lesley (Ms)
  22. Ruivo, Mario (Mr)
  23. Simpson, Pauline (Ms)
  24. Troisi, Ariel (Mr)
  25. Vannier, Adrien (Mr)
  26. Watson-Wright, Wendy (Ms)


The 24th Session of the IODE Committee issued 2 awards. The awards ceremony was held during the IODE-XXIV Scientific Workshop, 27 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Prof. Mario Ruivo

iode24 award ruivo

In recognition of his vision of a data and information network in Africa and his decades of support to IOC and its IODE
Prof Ruivo had the vision, way back in 1988, that there should be an ocean data and information network in Africa. He sponsored, as IOC Executive Secretary, a mission to 8 East African countries to investigate the feasibility of an electronic network between countries in that region that would enable searching publications in a bibliographic data base and to send messages. That mission led to Flanders supporting the first ODINAFRICA pilot project which was called RECOSCIX-WIO. Without that first sponsoring we doubt ODINAFRICA would ever have seen the light of day. But even after Prof Ruivo left IOC (retirement), (1990), he continued to be a strong supporter of IODE but even more of capacity development. Portugal, through his strong support, hosted the 16th Session of IODE (2000) where Prof Ruivo again showed his strong support for IODE. For all the mentioned reasons we are awarding Prof Ruivo an IODE achievement award.

Ms Arame Ndiaye Keita

In recognition of her strong commitment to marine libraries in Africaiode24 award keitaArame Keita has been involved in ODINAFRICA since the early days meaning almost 20 years. Throughout these years she has become Africa’s lead expert in IODE’s marine information information management. Despite often challenging conditions Arame was always there to assist colleagues in Africa and beyond. With this award we want to thank Arame for her commitment to IODE in general and to marine information management in particular.





The 23rd Session of the IODE Committee issued 7 awards. The awards ceremony was held during the celebration day for the 10th aniversary of the IOC Project Office for IODE in Brugge, Belgium on 16 March 2015. [move over image to get full size version]

Ms Sissy Iona and Mr Ariel Troisi

award iona

award troisiThe first and second awards go to Ariel Hernan Troisi and Sissy Iona who have guided IODE through choppy watersduring the past 4 years after being elected in 2011. The past 4 years were challenging: on the positive side we welcomed the OBIS and ICAN communities into IODE but at the negative side we saw the United States leaving UNESCO resulting in an almost 80% drop in IOC’s operating budget. But Ariel and Sissy held their hands firmly on the steering wheel.The 22nd Session of the IODE Committee issued 4 awards. The awards ceremony was held during the official dinner on Thursday 14 March.


Dr Wendy Watson-Wright

Another colleague who had to deal with the choppy seas and empty coffers was Wendy. When she joined IOC asaward watsonwright Executive Secretary in 2010 she probably did not expect that the bottom would fall out of her budget only  a year later in 2011! It takes a good leader not to scream and run away when something like this happens. But Wendy took this disaster in her stride and worked hard to keep all of us, her staff, working together rather than just saving our own little empires. But the main reason we are giving Wendy this award is what she did for IODE. When OBIS joined IOC and its IODE one of the commitments was to provide a sustained stable environment for OBIS including secretariat staff. Despite the financial disaster Wendy baffled us all by actually creating a new professional position for OBIS. This was not only exceptional because of the financial situation but it was also the first IODE position to be created in 20 years, the previous one being mine. And of course let me also note that Wendy’s mother is a member of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire of which the acronym is also IODE. So it is a really great pleasure and honour for me to give this award to Wendy.

Mr Mark Fornwall

Unfortunately Mark could not be with us today so I am asking Pat Halpin to accept the award on his behalf. Markaward fornwall became the Chair of the OBIS Ad Hoc meeting in November 2010 and was re-elected as Chair at the first session of the OBIS Steering Group in December 2011. Mark has shown great leadership with the OBIS transition from the Census of Marine Life into an intergovernmental project under IODE. This was far from easy. With a budget of half a million US$ per year for the OBIS secretariat to a few ten thousand, barely enough to pay for the OBIS Steering Group meeting, was not what you call an easy transition. But he has managed to keep the community together, and has shown a lot of confidence, respect and patience with IOC, IODE and all the members of the OBIS nodes. OBIS is now doing very well and is one of the flagship projects of IODE and IOC. Now that Mark retired from the US Geological Survey, where he was the manager of the OBIS USA node, he also retired as chair of the OBIS Steering Group and in recognition for his commitment to OBIS he deserves this IODE award. 

Mr Marc Goovaerts

Mr Marc Goovaerts has been involved with IODE’s marine information management activities for more than 10 years.award goovaerts He has been a key lecturer in OceanTeacher and has helped build marine library capacity in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Marc has, while working with IODE GEMIM, provided up-to-date marine information technology services through the OceanDocs e-repository. At the University of Hasselt he has created a one-stop online access point to free or low cost scientific literature through the OpenScienceDirectory which delivers over 13,000 scientific journals to developing nations. For many years we have appreciated Marc as someone with innovative vision and passion. It is therefore with great pleasure that we hand over this award to Marc.

Dr Savithri Narayanan

Savi, as we all know her, has been part of the Canadian Delegation for many years. She was also an IODE national award narayanancoordinator and stood at the cradle of JCOMM in the late 1999s. In fact Savi was elected as the first JCOMM Co-President in 2001 (with Johannes Guddal as the other Co-President) when JCOMM met for the first time. The meeting took place in Akureyri, Iceland during the period of midnight sun and I still remember that we were meeting in a hotel room at night, sun shining at 2am, with Savi and Neville Smith, thinking of distributed data systems and what would later become Ocean Data Portal. Within JCOMM Savi has always been a strong supporter of IODE. In meetings Savi never took the role of flowerpot: when you invited Savi you knew there would be a lot of discussion! Savi has now retired but we hope we will be able to continue benefiting from her experience and wisdom. So it is with great pleasure that I hand over this award to Savi.

Dr Jan Mees

The last award for 2015 goes to a man who stood at the cradle of the Project Office and actually built the cradle. It award meeswas in fact at the opening of the new Flanders Marine Institute facilities in Oostende in 2000 that the idea popped up to open an office in Oostende. How could the IOC not have an office with a view on the sea? So Jan and Rudy Herman, also here, decided to discuss the idea with the Flemish Government and, as well all know, they were successful. Jan and his team have been assisting us from the start with all sorts of support. So we want to thank Jan and his team for 10 years of assisting us in reaching the service level we wanted to reach.



Ms Suzie Davies

awards13 davieslinda

To Suzanne Davies - semi-retired Marine Librarian and Information Specialist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Library, Australia. Member of the Group of Experts on Marine Information Management and Chairperson, 2004-2010. This award is given in recognition of her entire service to IODE , her work in developing the MIM Communication and Strategy Policy and her work in fostering the ODIN PIMRIS group and obtaining funding for mentoring and twinning through Pacific Marine & Environmental Libraries pilot twinning program - which she continues to do. This award is given in recognition of her service and her caring - to Suzie.(VIDEO

Dr Rudy Herman

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to hand over this award, albeit virtually, to Dr Rudy Herman. One may wonder why awards13 rhermanwe are issuing an award for someone who is not an expert of our IODE network. The anwer is simple: without the commitment and loyalty of Dr Herman to IODE, there would have been no ODINAFRICA, IODE Project Office or OceanTeacher and the staff working for IODE would be just one or none. We are awarding Dr Herman for his long-term vision as a donor but also as a marine scientist. Nearly 15 years ago the Government of Flanders was considering providing support to a UN agency that were active in areas of Science in which Flanders was also interested. At that time Dr Herman discovered the work that has been started by IOC and African Member states within the framework of RECOSCIX and ODINEA. He was impressed with the achievements of these activities despite the limited resources and this was the start of the Flanders-UNESCO Trust Fund for Science. This Fund was established in 1998 and provides €1 million/year for support of activities of the International Hydrological Programme, Man and Biosphere, and IOC. IODE was lucky to be one of the first to submit proposals and this enabled us to start ODINAFRICA. The major difference between the donor policy of Flanders and some other donors has been the flexibility: development cooperation cannot always follow a work plan strictly, especially over an extended period of time. Local situation change and needs change. Flanders has always allowed us the flexibility to, while adhering to common objectives, to also have the flexibility to focus on emerging needs. This has also led to spin-offs like the African Marine Atlas. Also in the establishment of the IODE Project Office Rudy has played a key role. Without his commitment we would have had the project office, nor the substantial financial support that has enabled IODE to develop spectacularly since 2005 and has made Oostende the global meeting and training centre that it is today. As you know the MoU between Flanders and IOC has just been signed for another 5 years. Especially in the current financial crisis at UNESCO, the support provided by Flanders makes the difference between survival and shutdown. It is therefore with great pleasure that I am handing over, on behalf of the IODE community, this IODE Achievement Award to Dr Rudy Herman. [VIDEO]

Mr Roy Lowry

awards13 lowryRoy has made numerous contributions to IODE over the past 3 decades – beginning with the software to accompany GF3 in the 1980s – an early attempt at interoperability! The General Format 3 (GF3) system was developed by IODE as a generalised formatting system for the exchange and archival of data within the international oceanographic community. The comprehensive software package, known as GF3-Proc, was written by Roy who also provided technical support. This was a major undertaking from a different era! The next stage of Roy's career was spent compiling integrated data sets from major multidisciplinary oceanographic field programmes for UK, European and international projects, including leading the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) Data Management Task Team. This also included a lot of work on controlled vocabularies which has evolved into one of his main areas of interest and impact. In particular, over the last 10 years or so, he has focused on the development of semantic infrastructure both in terms of technical and content governance. Roy was part of the joint IODE-ICES Study Group on MarineXML and subsequently instigated and led the IODE Steering Group on MarineXML. He set up the SeaVoX e-mail discussion forum for vocabulary content governance - and perhaps at this point we should note that whilst IODE (and other) representation on SeaVoX is extensive, further participation would be most welcome (just ask him). Although much progress has been made, there is still a lot to do: so Roy is responsible for the semantic framework underpinning the EU SeaDataNet project (which includes IODE) and has also led the ontologies work package in another EU project. One final area of Roy's influence which should be mentioned is his contribution to the emerging subject of data publication and citation, through his contribution to the workshops and case studies of the joint project established between SCOR, MBLWHOI and IODE to investigate this topic. One last comment: Roy is a person who likes to get things done – and done properly! And he is always happy to discuss areas of interest whether in a workshop like this or over some beers! So with this I want to express IODE's appreciation for Roy's tremendous achievements. Even though Roy has now decided to take retirement we hope it will be a retirement only from his BODC day job but that he will continue sharing his expertise with the IODE community because it is so valuable and import for us. [VIDEO]

Prof. Shaohua Lin

The IODE programme, since its establishment in 1961, has been able to develop and grow to an active global network of awards12 lindata centres and information centres thanks to the hard work of hundreds of national and international experts.
Most IODE experts contribute their work to the Programme on a voluntary basis in addition to their normal day job.
In order to express special appreciation to some of these experts who contributed time and effort the IODE programme has started bestowing "IODE Achievement Awards" during the twentieth Session of the IODE Committee in 2009.
On this occasion we would like to acknowledge the long-standing commitment and hard work of Prof Shao Lin from China. Prof Lin has always been very supportive of IODE and one of our main champions both at the IOC Assembly and EC, as well as in GOOS and JCOMM meetings. She has been the IODE national coordinator for China since 2003 and the regional coordinator for ODIN WESTPAC since 2007, devoting enormous efforts to promote the discovery, exchange of, access to and preservation of ocean data in her country as well as in the region. Neither can we forget that Prof. Lin was also the main driver that allowed our Committee to hold its XXth session in Beijing in 2009. We would like, accordingly to ask Prof Lin to accept this heartfelt token of our appreciation and acknowledgment of her dedicated work and congratulate her for earning the award. (VIDEO)


2011 was of course a special occasion as we celebrated IODE 50th anniversary. Candidates for an award were selected by the IODE Community (IODE national coordinators for data management and for marine information management) through a web survey. The awards ceremony was held on Monday 21 March 2011 at the Cloister of the Saint–Paul Cathedral in Liège, Belgium. At this occasion 8 awards were issued. The awards were handed over by Dr Wendy Watson-Wright, IOC Executive Secretary. [photos: Aleksandr FEDORTCOV]

Mr Sydney Levitus (USA)

Sydney Levitus is undoubtedly one of our most revered colleagues. Syd started working at NOAA in 1989. With the end of the cold war and the award_levitus_thumbfragmentation of the Soviet Union approaching, Syd realized that the results of thousands of research cruises undertaken by the huge Soviet research fleet we are risk of being lost forever. This led to the establishment of the IODE Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue project (GODAR) project in 1992. This later led to the development of the World Ocean Atlas and World Ocean Database. Syd’s work was certainly visionary as his efforts to collate data sets from all around the world and from a considerable historical range turned out to be of crucial importance for one of humankind’s greatest challenges today, climate change. Syd’s work is being recognized not only by our IODE but also by others. Recently Syd was elected as a 2010 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).                                                                 [Click on image to see full size]

Dr Iouri Oliounine

awards_oliounine_thumbIouri has laid the solid foundations of IODE, the foundations that we are now building on using 21st century technology. As a member of the Secretariat Iouri was a people person. He realized that the strength of an international programme is based first of all on bringing people together, across political borders. But he also went beyond purely professional relationships. Iouri forged strong friendships with many in the IODE community. He made IODE a family. But Iouri also took care of the future. Rather than simply disappearing upon retirement Iouri trained his successor Peter. Iouri’s commitment to IODE and to IOC was and is strong. This is also why we called him back two years ago to assist with the celebrations of the IOC’s 50th anniversary in 2010.  I am therefore most honoured to award the second IODE Achievement Award to our colleague and friend Iouri Oliounine  [Click on image to see full size]

Mr Robert Keeley

awards_keeley_thumbInternational operational data management can trace it beginnings to Bob Keeley. He recently retired from the Canadian Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS) and leaves some big shoes to fill. Bob was one of the founding leaders for the Global Temperature Salinity Profile Program (GTSPP) and helped guide it to be one of IODE’s most respected international programs. Working tirelessly on the important but tedious documentation process, Bob helped guarantee that future generations of oceanographers would have the necessary information to evaluate past, present and future programs. This included defining standards that could be used throughout the oceanographic community and he chaired the first Data Standards workshop which defined the foundation for today’s International Data Standards process. Bob helped bridge the gap between the IODE and JCOMM community serving as the Chair of the Data Management. 

Ms Pauline Simpson

Marine Information Management was added to the remit of IODE in the 1980s. This was also the time that IODE started collaborating with other UN awards_simpson_thumbagencies in the development of the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts ASFA. Who has not used ASFA for their research? This was still the time of the what we can call “traditional” librarian dealing with paper journals and books. But in the late 1980s we witnessed the emerging digital revolution. This did not only affect the data managers but also the marine librarians. Within IODE marine information management was dealt with by the Group of Experts on MIM. It was under the Chairmanship of Pauline Simpson between 1992 and 1999 that most of the MIM products we all know and use today, were developed such as OceanExpert, OceanPortal and OceanDocs. Pauline, through her expertise and commitment has created the MIM identity of IODE.

Mr Greg Reed

Being an IODE Chair is not an easy task. Many may think it merely consists of Chairing the IODE Committee meeting once or twice. They are very much awards_reed_thumbmistaken. As an IODE Chair you represent the IODE community, the IODE family. As an IODE Chair you have to master many technical issues and have many talents. Since its creation in 1961 IODE has had many excellent Chairs. But the club of those who have contributed to IODE with the enthusiasm and commitment that Greg Reed has given is quite small. Greg’s contribution to IODE is not only as Chair. Greg has also taken it upon him to pass his expertise to the next generation. Indeed we have to remind ourselves that there still exist no “ocean data management” curricula in universities.  Greg was one of the founding father of OceanTeacher now over ten years ago, and from the start Greg has been an enthusiastic lecturer, sharing his knowledge and experience with hundreds of students.

Mr Nick Mikhaylov

awards_mikhaylov2_thumbNick Mikhailov has been one of a few creators of JCOMM and more particularly of the Data Management programme area of JCOMM. With his end-to-end data management concept Nick has laid the basis for the IOC Strategic Plan for Oceanographic Data and Information Management and for the IODE Ocean Data Portal. Nick is definitely our main engineer of the future data system. But Nick is also our main proponent for interoperability creating an essential bridge between oceanography and marine meteorology.

Ms Linda Pikula

Clearly Linda knew that this area of knowledge management would offer exciting opportunities. And indeed Lindaawards_pikula_thumb has continued the work of Pauline. Not only as a GEMIM Chair but also as the IODE’s ambassador for marine information manager and also inspiring many starting marine information management students. Linda has made a lasting impression on the hundreds of students that attended the courses she taught and they are all strong promotors of IODE’s ambition to build a global free and open digital library of ocean knowledge.

Dr Murray Brown (could not attend - award received by Greg Reed on Dr Brown's behalf)

Murray Brown started working with IODE in the 1980s after he completed a long and distinguished career in the US. We soon discovered Murray’s considerable talent as a teacher. Murray has the rare quality of explaining complex issues in a way that people can understand. Murray was without a doubt the founder of IODE’s training programme which started with OceanPC. Later he was, together with Greg, one of the main teachers in ODINEA and ODINAFRICA’s data management programme. Near all African NODC data managers have been trained by Murray. Murray has now been an IODE teacher for more than 20 years and he is still as enthusiastic and driven as ever. Students still ask for Dr Murray and we hope that Murray will continue to help us create tomorrow’s data managers. 


AWARDS 2010pepe_linda2010

Mr Richard Pepe (USA): ASFA Editor-in-Chief. 

Richard was given the Award in recognition of his 28 years of outstanding service to the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), the bibliographic reference tool of choice for the ocean research (and freshwater) community.

The photo shows the handing over of the award to Richard by Ms Linda Pikula (Chair GE-MIM) during the 2010 ASFA Advisory Board held in Casablanca, Morocco (5-9 July 2010).






Lesley Rickards (UK): IODE Chair 2003-2007: rickards_400.jpg


Dr Rickards was given the Award in recognition for her critical contribution in developing the IOC Strategic Plan for Oceanographic Data and Information Management, her visionary and leading role as IODE Chair during two inter-sessional periods and her contribution to the review of the ODINAFRICA project. 







Efstathios Balopoulos (Greece): IODE Vice-Chair and Chair 1996-2003. balopoulos_400.jpg



Dr Balopoulos was bestowed an award for his work as IODE Chair and Co-Chair but also for his considerable contribution to IODE by seeking funds for IODE related conferences and other IODE activities for many years.





Catherine Maillard (France): maiilard_400.jpg



Ms Maillard was issued a special lifetime achievement award for her outstanding contribution to the IODE programme through her work as IODE national coordinator as well through developing international programmes such as MEDAR/MEDATLAS and SeaDataNet.




Adrien Vannier (France): vannier_400.jpg



Mr Vannier has given the award in recognition for his nearly 30 years of outstanding service to IODE as administrative assistant at the IOC Secretariat in Paris. Thanks to his lifetime experience at IOC and having served several IODE Technical Secretaries and IOC Executive Secretaries, Mr Vannier has been able to ensure successful IODE Sessions and effective communication with Member States.

© 2017, UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE, Oostende, Belgium.  Google+