MAB awards and prizes

UNESCO and its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme afford recognition to outstanding contributions in the management or preservation of the environment; honour successful management of biosphere reserves in line with recommendations of the Seville Strategy; and foster access for young scientists, especially women, to advanced research facilities through respective prizes and awards schemes:

UNESCO-MAB Young Scientists Awards

Since 1989 MAB has been providing young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because we think well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues. The International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) at its 29th session on 12-15 June 2017 adopted the new criteria and conditions for the selection of MAB Young Scientists Award winners in order to address the Lima Action Plan (LAP) for Biosphere Reserves and relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in applications. The deadline for submission of application forms for the 2019 MAB Young Scientists Awards is 15 December 2018.

The International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) endorsed seven winners for the MAB Awards for young scientists during its 30th session on 23 - 28 July 2018.

How to apply for MAB Young Scientists Awards
Application forms for the 2019 MAB Young Scientists Awards Scheme are available here:

Note that applications must be received by UNESCO no later than 15 December 2018 to be eligible.

The Awards basics

The MAB Young Scientists Awards targets young researchers carrying out interdisciplinary research in line with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves. Until 2025, implementation of the UNESCO MAB Programme is guided by the MAB Strategy and Lima Action Plan for UNESCO’s MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (LAP), which contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MAB Young Scientists Award applicants are strongly encouraged to take into account the priorities of the LAP, and to identify in their applications how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.


The objectives of the MAB Young Scientists Award Scheme are to:

  •     encourage young scientists, in particular those from developing countries, to use MAB research, project sites and biosphere reserves in their research;
  •     encourage young scientists who already use such sites to undertake comparative studies in other sites in or outside their own country;
  •     promote and encourage the exchange of information and experience among a new generation of scientists;
  •     strengthen communication of the LAP within the young scientists and strengthen its visibility;
  •     involve young scientist in the implementation of the LAP;
  •     enhance awareness among young scientists of the role of research in the implementation of the SDGs – in particular when conducted in biosphere reserves.


The following criteria are used in the selection of MAB Young Scientists Awards:

  •     To be eligible, award applications must be made on the MAB Young Scientists Award application form (in English or French) and follow-up technical requirements stated there. The application must be endorsed by the applicant's MAB National Committee*, which may endorse only two applications per year from applicants who are not older than 35 years of age (at the closing date of the application).
  •     Applications must contain concise information on past and existing research in areas concerned in order to present linkages and avoid duplications and financing of projects already carried-out.  
  •     Priority is given to interdisciplinary projects carried out in biosphere reserves designated under the Man and the Biosphere Programme or potential biosphere reserves and which contribute to the implementation of the LAP and the SDGs. In this regard, applicants shall identify in their applications if and how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.  
  •     Applicants from developed countries are eligible for Awards only in exceptional cases or if working in joint partnership with developing countries.
  •     Awards are set at a maximum of US$5,000 each.
  •     Research supported by an Award should be completed within two years.
  •     Candidates must accept to submit reports of Award-funded research to the MAB Secretariat in Paris and to their MAB National Committees*, and agree to the possibility of UNESCO publishing the results of their research.
  •     International travel expenses are usually not covered under these Awards.

* For the countries in which a MAB National Committee does not exist or is not fully operational, the National Commission for UNESCO will ensure the selection of candidates according to the above criteria.

MAB Secretariat
Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris SP 07, France
E-mail: mab.awards(at)


Previous editions



Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management



UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation