Edwin Pos is New Scientist science talent 2021
Last night evolutionary ecologist Edwin Pos was chosen as New Scientist science talent 2021. The jury praised Pos on a number of points, including the high degree of independence and responsibility that he has already taken on at a young academic age. Pos is assistant professor at the Department of Ecology and Biodiversity and scientific director of the Botanical Gardens of Utrecht University.
“It may sound a bit cliché, but for me it was really not about winning,” says Pos. “The other candidates are excellent scientists, and I think the jury must have had a difficult job deciding on a winner. Of course it is a great honour to stand out among these excellent candidates but I just do what I really like and that is already the main prize for me. The fact that someone else thinks I deserve an award for that, makes me feel incredibly honoured.”
At the time of his nomination, the jury called Pos ‘a kind of Indiana Jones’, because of his adventurous expeditions deep into the Amazon rainforest to collect data on biodiversity. He interprets these data using complex mathematical techniques to find out what processes underlie the dynamics of ecosystems. “My work is quite theoretical and may not seem directly relevant for us, with all these Amazon expeditions. But actually, the knowledge we gain is also extremely important for the Netherlands and Utrecht as a region.”
I just do what I really like and that is already the main prize for me. The fact that someone else thinks I deserve an award for that, makes me feel incredibly honoured.
New Scientist editor-in-chief Jim Jansen praised the originality of the research: “Pos breaks with traditional approaches in ecology and thus expands the toolkit of ecologists. This is urgently needed, because the loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest challenges we currently face as humanity.”
Edwin Pos (1987) studied and obtained his PhD at Utrecht University. In addition to his research, he is also involved in various academic courses on evolution and ecology. In the summer of 2020, he was appointed as scientific director of the Botanical Gardens. In this position, he is responsible for the research and academic education with and by the Botanical Gardens as well as being involved in various other tasks, such as the development of the Utrecht Science Park.