ISA Secretary-General's Award for Excellence in Deep-Sea Research


ISA is explicitly mandated to promote and encourage the conduct of marine scientific research in the Area (UNCLOS, art.143) and the coordination and dissemination of the results of such research when available. Since 2017, ISA promotes and encourages excellence of young researchers from developing States by recognizing the best of them  through the ISA Secretary General’s Award for Deep-sea Research Excellence (#OceanAction40845).

The ISA Secretary-General Award for Research Excellence is an annual/biannual award given to young researchers (under 45 years old) from developing countries as recognition of excellence of their work and their contribution to advance scientific knowledge of the deep-sea environment and improve the development of sound and efficient regulatory frameworks.

The Award is supported by Monaco. Since 2020, the Awardee is also offered the opportunity to participate into an exploration and environmental campaign in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. For the Fifth edition of the ISA Secretary-General’s Award, Loke CCZ has committed to offer a berth on one of its exploration cruises taking place in 2025. The cruise will include both resource and environment work across Loke CCZ’s contract areas.

Voluntary commitment 2 supports the following SDGs:

About the Award

Nominations for the fifth edition of the Award are now open until 30 April 2024. The Awardee will be announced during the 29th session of the ISA Assembly in July 2024.


The Secretary-General’s Award is intended to recognize individual accomplishment. However, there may be cases where the research has been undertaken by a team consisting of eligible candidates. In this case, a team nomination may be submitted.

  • Only candidates under the age of 45 at the date of nomination who are nationals of a developing country, as defined by the United Nations, are eligible to apply.
  • The results of the research for which the nomination is submitted should have been published either in English or French no earlier than one year prior to the submission date.
  • Any individual or team who previously received the Secretary-General’s Award shall not be eligible for nomination.
  • Cash prize: USD4,000
  • Participation in an environmental exploration cruise in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (2025)
  • Cost of attendance of Awardee to annual session of ISA’s Assembly
  • Cost of participation of Awardee in one ISA’s workshops on matters of expertise
  • Cost of publication fees of an article written by Awardee in a scientific journal (open access)
Nomination procedure

Nominations for the fifth edition of the Award are now open until 30 April 2024. The following documents are necessary to support nominations:

  • A letter from a nominator summarizing the research and outlining the national or international significance of the work submitted by the candidate. The letter should not exceed 750 words.
  • The curriculum vitae of the candidate.
  • Any publication in English or French derived from the research undertaken.
  • Two letters from sponsors outlining the type and impact of the research carried out by the nominee and attesting to its significance and quality.

Nominations and supporting documents should be submitted to on or before 30 April 2024.

Advisory Committee

A five-member voluntary Advisory Committee has been appointed by the Secretary-General, responsible for evaluating nominations. All members are recognized for their expertise in deep-sea science (natural and/or applied), social sciences and humanities with experience in the law of the sea; international law; or management of marine resources.

Dr. Gordon L. J. Paterson

Ms. Jihyun Lee

Prof. Pedro Madureira

H.E. Dr. Maureen Tamuno

Dr. G. A. Ramadass