Picture of Isaac Santos in the lab.
Photo: Malin Arnesson

Isaac Santos awarded the Faculty of Science’ 2022 Research Award


The Faculty of Science’ 2022 Research Award is being given to Isaac Santos at the Department of Marine Sciences. He is receiving the award for his innovative research on the marine carbon cycle where he is taking the lab to the ocean to obtain high-resolution observations of carbon chemistry.

How did you react to receiving this award?

“I am very excited to get this recognition in Sweden. I have relocated from Australia with my family and have learnt to respect and appreciate Swedish values. I feel engaged and supported by a strong community of students, colleagues and friends. This award feels like a major milestone that reaffirms major career decisions and builds my confidence in a bright future.”

Can you tell tell us a bit more about your research?

“I am an oceanographer specializing in biogeochemistry. This means I work at the interface between biology, chemistry and geosciences in the oceans. Most of my work is in coastal marine waters, but sometimes I venture up into rivers and lakes to study the global carbon cycle. My major ongoing research projects are related to resolving carbon transport in so called blue carbon ecosystems. Our group studies mangroves in Brazil, saltmarshes in China, seagrass beds in Sweden and Spain, and fjords in Iceland. “

What is the next step?

“I want to further consolidate our research group with sustained long-term funding. Students need time to develop their skills and confidence. I am working towards large grant applications to further build our research group and engage with collaborators worldwide. Our research projects will keep combining field and laboratory investigations of the aquatic carbon cycle.”

What impact can your research have in the future?

“I want to use research to develop nature-based solutions to fight climate change. Managing blue carbon ecosystems is one of the most promising nature-based solutions to fight climate change. My vision for impact is also all about mobilising the next generation of students to perform excellent research and evolve into engaged citizens. There is nothing more satisfying as an academic than seeing a busy lab with happy students working towards common goals – I experience this every day. The skills and values these students develop will grow and propagate beyond anything I can achieve myself. “

Award motivation

Isaac Santos is an outstanding scientist who has made major contributions in the field of the marine carbon cycle, including the development of new methods, and resolving hidden carbon transport pathways. He inspires and is a mentor to many students and effectively engages in public debate to protect marine ecosystems. Isaac has built a large, diverse, and highly productive research group. He is conducting research at the forefront of an emerging field, using new infrastructure, and is creating a culture of excellence and collaboration. Isaac’s innovative research relies on his vision of taking the lab to the ocean to obtain high-resolution observations of carbon chemistry. 

About the Research Award

The award recognises development of a research specialisation that significantly contributes to novelty in the faculty’s research. The award recipient receives a diploma and a research grant of SEK 250,000. The award ceremony will be held on 17 November.