Prof. dr. Erik van Sebille

Prof. dr. Erik van Sebille

Physical Oceanography
+31 30 253 5441

Personal awards, fellowships and prizes

  • 2024 Appointed member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW).
  • 2023 NWO Vici grant "Tracing Marine Macroplastics by Unraveling the Ocean’s Multiscale Transport Processes"
  • 2021 Winner of the Georg Wüst Award from the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Meeresforschung.
  • 2020 Winner of the Agnites Vrolik Award for research impact at Utrecht University.
  • 2020 Winner of the first ERC Public Engagement with Research Award in the category Press & media relations.
  • 2019 Awarded James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union.
  • 2019 Conferred Fellowship of the American Geophysical Union.
  • 2019 Member of De Jonge Akademie (Young Academy) of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).
  • 2019 Winner of the Utrecht University Publiprize for media and outreach.
  • 2018 Member of the Utrecht Young Academy.
  • 2016 Winner of the Imperial College President’s Achievement Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement.
  • 2016 European Research Council H2020 Starting Grant “Tracking Of Plastic In Our Oceans”.
  • 2016 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Ocean’s Division.
  • 2013 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) on "Inter-ocean exchange around Australia and its relation to regional and global climate".
  • 2013 Best Early Career Paper Award from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.
  • 2013 Media Fellowship for science communication from the Australian Climate Commission.
  • 2009 Best Student Presentation Award at the 2009 International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography in Melbourne, Australia.


  • 2024 – Member of the Steering Group of the Science Communication division of the Netherlands Flanders Communication Association.
  • 2022 – Member of the Sounding Board group of the NWO/KNAW Dutch Caribbean Research Platform (DuCaRP).
  • 2022 – 2023 Member of the Sounding Board group of the KNAW Climate Initiative.
  • 2019 – 2021 Member of the EASAC Working Group on “Changes in Ocean Circulation and Consequences for European Costal Regions”, for the European Commission.
  • 2018 – 2019 Member of the SAPEA Working Group of the European Scientific Advice Mechanism to “Review Microplastics and their impact on Health and the Environment”, for the European Commission.
  • 2018 – 2019 Member of the Mission Advisory Group for the new SKIM satellite mission by the European Space Agency (ESA).
  • 2017 – 2023 Vice-chair of the SCOR Working group on Floating Litter and its Oceanic TranSport Analysis and Modelling (FLOTSAM).
  • 2016 – 2019 Taught Programme External Examiner for University College London (UCL) on the Physical Geography MSc Degree in Environmental Modelling.
  • 2015 – 2017 Member of the UK Future Earth Committee, on behalf of the Royal Society.
  • 2015 – 2017 Member of the UNESCO/UNEP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) working group on marine pollution.

Competitive grants and projects

  • 2022 Principle Investigator on project “Towards a plastic free Wadden Sea”, funded by Stichting Pieter Bastiaan.
  • 2022 Co-Investigator on European Union Horizon Europe project “NECCTON – New Copernicus capability for trophic ocean networks” 
  • 2022 Co-Investigator on NWO project “Weeds of Change”
  • 2021 Co-Investigator on UU AI Labs project “Explainable deep-learning to improve plastic-removal strategies on Galapagos beaches”
  • 2021 Principle Investigator on project “Application of OceanParcels to simulate the spatial and temporal movements of tuna to optimise designs of tuna tagging experiments” funded by The Pacific Community.
  • 2021 Principle Investigator on UU Circular Economy Hub Seedfunding project “Tracking the fate of the “lost” plastic waste in Netherlands” .
  • 2021 Principle Investigator on KNAW science communication project “Mythes ontzenuwd”.
  • 2020 Co-Investigator on NWO project SEALINK.
  • 2020 Co-Investigator on ESA project “World Ocean Circulation”.
  • 2020 Co-Investigator on NWO project “Nanoplastics: Origin, Structure and Fate”.
  • 2019 Co-Investigator on European Union H2020 project “Atlantic ECOsystems assessment, forecasting & sustainability (AtlantECO)”.
  • 2019 Principle Investigator on project “Towards a plastic-free Galapagos: A new model to optimise beach cleanup strategies in complex island regions” funded through Galapagos Conservation Trust project grant, UU Pathways to Sustainability Acceleration Grant and K.F. Hein Fonds.
  • 2019 Co-Investigator on Richard Lounsbery Foundation project “Improving the Understanding of the Physical Processes Governing the Transport of Floating Marine Litter”.
  • 2019 Principle Investigator on Dutch NWO project “Backward Lagrangian Tracking of the Patchiness of Oceanic Nutrients in a Turbulent Ocean”.
  • 2018 Co-Investigator on European Union H2020 Project “Improving Models for Marine EnviRonment SErvices (IMMERSE)”.
  • 2018 Co-Investigator on European Space Agency SKIM Mission Science Study.
  • 2017 Partner Investigator on Australian Research Council Discovery Project “New mathematics to quantify fluctuations and extremes in dynamical systems”.
  • 2016 Co-Investigator on Dutch NWO project “Dynamics and climatic imprint of the early Antarctic Circumpolar Current”.
  • 2016 Partner Investigator on Spanish BBVA project “Reconstrucción histórica y tendencias futuras de la contaminación por plástico en el océano global”.
  • 2015 Principle Investigator on an EPSRC Institutional Sponsorship Award "Extracting Lagrangian information from numerical ocean models in the petascale age".
  • 2014 Principle Investigator on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant on “Understanding the effect of small-scale ocean process on tuna populations – a new tool to forecast tuna distributions for use in fisheries management”.