top of page

Geoethics Medal


The idea to establish the IAPG Geoethics Medal was conceived in April 2016 during the IAPG Council Meeting held during the EGU General Assembly in Vienna.

The medal was unanimously approved by the first IAPG General Assembly held in Cape Town, on 31 August 2016.

The Geoethics Medal is assigned annually.

The first edition of the Geoethics Medal (2018) has been launched on 18 October 2017, during the Global Ethics Day 2017 of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.


The Geoethics Medal honors scientists and scholars who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to ethical practices in geoscience research and/or practice, and/or in its interdisciplinary applications.


For the IAPG Geoethics Medal 2023 nominations should be submitted by 31 October 2023, by providing the following material about the candidate:

  • A CV (about 1 page) and a list of up to 10 selected publications that show the focus on ethical/social/cultural implications in the geoscience work.

  • A concise statement of achievements for merits in the geoethical field (maximum  250 words).

  • A brief encomium of the candidate and his/her work (maximum 600 words).

Proposals have to be submitted through an email to:, with the subject “Nomination for the IAPG Geoethics Medal 2023


Nominations will be evaluated by an international committee.


Important: IAPG officers (Members of the Executive Council, Coordinators of National Sections, Corresponding Citizen Scientists, Members of Task Groups, Members of the Board of the Young Scientists Club) cannot be nominated for the Geoethics Medal.


See details below in the page

  • 2022: Fahd Albarraq (Yemen)

  • 2021: Sandra Villacorta (Peru) and Iain Hay (Australia)

  • 2020: John Geissman (USA)

  • 2019: Linda Gundersen (USA)

  • 2018: Chris King (United Kingdom)

Geoethics Medal

Fahd Albarraq, Yemen (Geoethics Medal 2022)

"For his valuable contribution in promoting Earth Sciences in society by sharing knowledge, running geological museum without wages since 2016 in a war-torn country, with a socio-economically and politically failed state, where he risks his life every day. As a Pioneer Geological expert, educator and currently teaching geology to more than 500 students/researchers in Yemen and Arabian Peninsula every week, aiming to add value and help all the students wherever practical learning and geological exploration is limited due to scarcity of required resources, Fahd Albarraq endeavors to do his best for keeping open and running the museum without interrupting his geological educational activities. 

Fahd Albarraq shares his geological, mineral, environmental knowledge in an easy, attractive and passionate way, through which he offers clear and careful explanations of geological observations without trivializing the content, while always paying great attention to the quality of scientific discourse. His efforts in promoting global sustainable development goals beside promoting geoeducation are much more than a mission to disseminate Earth Sciences knowledge among students and general public. Fahd Albarraq is an excellent example of a passionate geologist who feels and practices his geological activity as a geoethical duty towards society, while working in a war country. A great example of humanity for our future generations."


Fahd Albarraq, BSc Honors in Geology from the University of Sanaa, dynamically promotes geological knowledge related to rocks and minerals nationwide among students and the general public. He strongly contributes to raising national awareness regarding the importance of geoeducation and the dissemination of geoscientific methods and information within society. His career began as geologist working in Geological Survey and Mineral Resources Authority, then he became the Director of the Yemen Geological Museum. He is very popular among many school and university students, and is recognized as a reliable source of information pertaining to geology and mineral sector, especially linked to Yemen. Fahd Albarraq is working tirelessly to develop excellent geoeducational activities. With his dedication and commitment, he is working to convert the museum to a learning hub for the school students, higher education researchers and the general public. The museum has 140-seat lecture theatre were Fahd delivers talks on geology for the general or dedicated visitors. This has changed the way that the teaching of geoscience knowledge is seen in Yemen. As an active geoscience educator, he participates in World's Largest Lesson initiative to promote and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targeting to more than 1000 visitors per week. Moreover, he also actively contributes to raising the knowledge about utilizing natural resource in sustainable ways. Fahd Albarraq gives also media interviews for popularizing the geological knowledge. Due to the war in Yemen since 2015, geology education is strongly suffering: practical training for geology students at several universities has been suspended. In order to contribute to solve this kind of problems, he has provided a room for students and researchers at the Geological Museum to learn more about geology. Fahd intensively allocated all his efforts to keep the museum running via continuous activities even without wages (since 2016), Despite the ongoing civil war and economic crisis, Fahd Albarraq and his colleagues want Yemenis to continue visiting the museum and learn more about geology through their tireless work. This has been captured in several regional media press and considered to be a valuable contribution and generous spirit to be mentioned by important journal (i.e. Nature: ; Bloomberg: The suspension of salaries in 2016, as a repercussion of the war, was his biggest problem, and led the museum staff to drop from 12 people to just 4. The war continues to threaten his and colleagues' safety and  financial situation. His commitment to geoeducation was rewarded with several appreciation and merit letters from several universities such as (Twintech University, Sanaa University, Emirate University and many others) and most importantly awarded full respect from all geoscience community.It is clear that Fahd Albarraq’s efforts in geoeducation are intentioned and applied for serving society at the best of his possibilities. He has used his geological knowledge as a part of his fundamental geoethical duty towards the public in general and to younger generation students in particular, despite all difficulties to work in a war area. His geoethical committment for society deserves great appreciation by the international geoscience community and is awarded with with the Geoethics Medal 2022.

Fahd Albarraq
Fahd Albarraq
Fahd Albarraq
Fahd Albarraq

Sandra Villacorta, Peru (Geoethics Medal 2021)

Iain Hay, Australia (Geoethics Medal 2021)

"Sandra Villacorta is one of the outstanding figures in geoethical practice in the Spanish-speaking region. She has made a measurable impact over the past 10 years as a passionate advocate for promoting the spread of Geosciences in the society as well as the improvement of Geosciences education quality and leading the advance in geoethics in Latin America. She was the founder of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) Peruvian section, highlighted in the region. Since 2014 she has dedicated herself to promoting scientific integrity, ethics, and equality in geosciences, as well as giving conferences and writing articles on geoscience subjects and geoethics to spread it in the Spanish language. Her volunteer activities include: working with the International Union of Geological Sciences (Commission on Geoscience Education) and the International Geoscience Education Organization to help the improvement of Geosciences education worldwide and working in raising the awareness of applying Geosciences as part of the solutions for the development in Latin American countries, as a member of international committees. She has also assisted the Peruvian Groups of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment and IAPG with encouraging the use of worldwide techniques of engineering geology and ethical values to solve environmental problems faced in Peru and frequently been asked to give public talks as well as to appear as the subject of a variety of media material, encouraging awareness in disaster prevention in Peru. Sandra is an example of a high level of commitment to the practice of geoethics, academic excellence and develops its activities as a geoethical duty to society."

"Iain Hay has pioneered the field of geographies of domination and oppression in a lifetime’s work acknowledged by a rare Doctor of Letters (University of Canterbury 2009). His research unmasks unintended and insidious ways in which injustice is created, reproduced and transformed. He works tirelessly to overcome injustice through practical and conceptual means and has led international professional development initiatives on ethics in geography; shaped geographical organisations’ codes of ethics; and developed influential educational resources on ethics. Iain’s lasting service to geoscience professions includes as First Vice‐President of the International Geographical Union, President of the Institute of Australian Geographers, Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Geography, and Councillor of the global Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). He co‐founded the ground‐breaking journal Ethics, Place and Environment and promoted its ambitions for twelve years as Asia‐Pacific Commissioning Editor. He has been Editor-in‐Chief of Geographical Research and Editor of South Australian Geographical Journal. Iain co‐authored the innovative Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and continues to write extensively on ethics in geography. Contributors to his landmark multi‐edition book Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography are entreated to emphasise ethical concerns, social justice, issues of racism, ableism, sexism, and Indigenous issues in their chapters. Iain’s dedication to justice and the development of geoethical understandings is acknowledged by awards from the: American Association of Geographers, New Zealand Geographical Society, and Royal Geographical Society. He is the only geographer to receive the Australian Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year."


Sandra Villacorta joined the team of geological service professionals from Peru (INGEMMET) in 2003 as a junior geologist in the Division of Environmental Geology (before becoming the environmental geology and geological risk) in Lima, Peru. There, he began by supporting studies of the National Program of Geologic Hazards. In 2007, advanced to a senior geologist and group leader, developing projects of and then developing studies of Environmental Geology but later specialized in mass movements (in particular debris flows and floods). In 2011 and 2015, went part-time at the National University of Engineering giving lectures at the applied geology course (undergraduate) and the course on Risk Assessment caused by natural phenomena (postgraduate). Since that time she assisted numerous students in their bachelor and master's thesis. Between 2013 and 2018, she studied Lima's alluvial fan to have a geomorphological interpretation to help in preventing disaster in the Peruvian capital. During this time she developed volunteer activity through being a member of the Young Earth Scientist network, International Association for Promoting Geoethics, International Geoscience Education Organization and International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment. Between 2014 and 2018, she was the representative of IAPG in Peru and developed initiatives such as promoting the creation of other IAPG sections in Latin America and the foundation of the Latin American chapter of IGEO. To date, she has authored or co-authored 35 peer-reviewed publications (consisting of 43 conference papers, 41 journal articles and a book chapter and a book in progress). Most importantly, she has steered projects through international networks involving professionals in Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean and Australasia. An example of the variety of her involvement in projects includes Lima Environmental Atlas (several Peruvian entities); Building Latin American chapter of IGEO (coordinating with colleagues in Latin America and The Caribbean); green technology to prevent disaster (ongoing with Charles Darwin University, Australia). Her research topics include Quaternary landscape processes, fluvial geomorphology, natural hazards, spatial analysis of terrain, erosion processes and environmental geology. She also develops models for debris flow and floods that can be used to predict geohazards in urban areas. In addition, Dr. Villacorta currently holds a research fellow position with Charles Darwin University and previously worked with INGEMMET for 15 years. In that experience, she covered a wide variety of open-cut geoscientific projects across environmental geology, geotechnical and geosciences. She has been instrumental in the conception, inception, guidance and leadership of projects. A direct contribution to disaster prevention was through the Landslide Susceptibility Map of Peru project, which involved the collection and interpretation of data from more than ten years of research. The result was effectively shared online with the Peruvian administration for natural disaster management. To see the gamut of projects Sandra has been involved with, visit the INGEMMET website (Geocatmin). Education: She has been lecturer, mentor, trainer, guide, challenger, advisor to an innumerable number of students and young geologists during her career in Peru and recently in Latin America. Her extensive experience has enabled her to educate geoscientists across several experience levels from undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates, geotechnical engineers to senior geologists and heads of department. Many people she has been involved with have progressed to become prolific contributors in their own right to the body of knowledge on the Andes geological hazards. In this sense, she has generated a multiplier effect on the contribution to geohazard knowledge in Peru and Latin America through her original contribution. Qualifications and Pre- Career: She received her PhD from the Technical University of Madrid, Spain, in 2018. After graduation, she joined the University of Charles Darwin as a research fellow in Australia, working on infrastructure and green technology to prevent disaster. She also holds a Master degree of Science in Environmental Geology from the same University and a Bachelor degree as a Geologist Engineer from the National University of Engineering (Peru).

Iain Hay’s academic career has been dedicated to the understanding and assurance of justice. After joining Flinders University’s ethics review committee in 1992 he became absorbed with the links between justice, geography, and ethics, and keen to negotiate the fraught relationship between ethical conduct and regulatory compliance. Iain was concerned to ensure that geographers favour and apply thoughtful ethical conduct over blind compliance to institutional edicts. Throughout his career he has tackled this challenge along three interconnected axes: scholarly leadership, institutional service, and celebrated teaching. First, with two colleagues, Iain co‐founded the ground‐breaking journal Ethics, Place and Environment in 1998 and served for over 12 years as its Asia‐Pacific Commissioning Editor. His highly‐cited article in the journal’s inaugural issue announced ambitions for an ethical focus in geography that encourages the development and application of moral imaginations and does so by embracing research, pedagogy, and the role of professional societies equally. Later, Iain teamed this work with a successful book, co‐authored with lawyer/criminologist Mark Israel, entitled Research Ethics in the Social Sciences. From ethical conduct to regulatory compliance (2006), and numerous scholarly papers written over two decades. And Iain’s most successful book, Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (Oxford University Press), now in its fifth edition, has been a vanguard of ethical practice. Second, in the 1990s Iain guided the Institute of Australian Geographers and the New Zealand Geographical Society in their development of ethical codes. He helped move the policy focus from adherence to ‘codes’ to thoughtful, ‘ethically informed conduct’ by ‘responsible citizens’. He also served as Institute of Australian Geographers’ liaison with the American Association of Geographers’ Values and Environmental Justice Specialty Group. In a continuation of his career‐long institutional service to geoethics, Iain was recently elected by its 12,000 members to join the Council of the global Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Third, recognising that not all geoethical challenges can be anticipated, Iain has sought to help students and colleagues develop the skills, knowledge, and character required to conduct themselves ethically, even when none is watching. He developed, used, and published innovative teaching‐and‐learning resources to foster what he calls ‘moral imaginations’. Central to these resources are real ethical dilemmas, gathered painstakingly from geographers who had confronted them in everyday practice around the world. That this work has been successful is linked to Iain’s internationally recognised capabilities as a distinguished geoeducator. He has, for example, been able to advance geoethics through work as co‐founder of the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education, foundation Australasian Editor of Journal of Geography in Higher Education, advisor on British geoethics curriculum projects, and ethics program contributor to the US Geography Faculty Development Alliance. Iain’s professional commitment has been recognised extensively. In 2006 he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year. In 2009, the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) acknowledged his “excellence in the promotion and practice of teaching and learning in Geography in Higher Education” with its Taylor and Francis Award. In 2010 he accepted the American Association of Geographers’ E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award, for “outstanding contributions to the discipline of geography.”
The New Zealand Geographical Society presented Iain with its Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2011 and in 2014 he was admitted as a Fellow the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. This was followed in 2018 by the American Association of Geographers’ Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors, believed to be the first time this award has been presented to anyone outside North America. Iain Hay’s name is synonymous with advancing ethics practice and education in geography.

Sandra Villacorta
Iain Hay

John W. Geissman, USA (Geoethics Medal 2020)


"In recognition of career-long dedication to the highest ethical standards and practices of the geoscience profession, John W. Geissman has earned recognition as the IAPG 2020 Geoethics medalist. He has demonstrated this commitment to geoethics in his work with international geoscience professional societies by applying the highest standards of research and publication through his leadership as Editor/Associate Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geophysical Research, Tectonics, and EOS, and as Councilor and Past President of the Geological Society of America. Geissman’s contributions to the profession are recognized by his Fellowship in both the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He has imparted the importance of geoethics to generations of students as he has played a leading role in incorporating geoethics training for undergraduate students in the geoscience curriculum, and through his mentorship of over 70  graduate students, from the Colorado School of Mines, to the University of New Mexico, to, finally, the University of Texas at Dallas. His work has extended beyond the geosciences to address issues of contemporary concern such as the teaching of evolution in public schools, and has proactively addressed the importance of conveying the importance of science to society and removing ignorance and fear of science from society. Through his dedication to the highest standards of professional conduct, application of the geosciences in service to society, and concern for the long-term stewardship of Earth, John W. Geissman has lived the ideals defined by the International Association for Promoting Geoethics, and is most deserving of the 2020 Geoethics Medal."

John W. Geissman has graduate studies at the University of Michigan (1974) and is a researcher of the highest order, applying the methods of paleomagnetism and rock magnetism to “big questions” in geoscience including studies of the tectonic evolution of the western United States, central and southern Mexico, and the Himalayas, the Karoo intrusive suite (South Africa), paleomagnetism and magnetostratigraphy of Permian/Triassic strata in west Texas and the Karoo Basin, South Africa, and western China, Xinjiang Province, and studies of magnetic fabrics of igneous rocks using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility/anisotropy of magnetic remanence methods. A common thread in this body of research is an absolute commitment to the integrity of data, data products, and their interpretations. In this research, John has selflessly shared his experience and results in numerous collaborative research projects, and has invited students and colleagues to work with him in his state-of-the-art paleomagnetism laboratory. John has long served the geoscience professions as Editor/Associate Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geophysical Research, most recently Tectonics, and EOS, and as Councilor and Past President of the Geological Society of America. John was one of the early innovators who has advocated for inclusion of geoethics instruction into classes across the geoscience curriculum—an essential contribution to the long-term health and growth of the geoscience professions. And, John has addressed the persistent issues of diversity and equity in the geosciences, particularly as these affect women and people from underrepresented populations.

John Geissman

Linda Gundersen, USA (Geoethics Medal 2019)


"For her unselfish work and scholarly contributions in leading the advancement in scientific integrity and professional ethics in the geosciences. Gundersen’s transformative work across governmental, academic, non-profit, and private institutions has made her one of the world’s leading authorities in “geoethical” scholarship, policy and practice. Linda Gundersen was one of the early leaders in proactively promoting what is now called geoethics. She created and was first Director of the USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity, implementing bureau-wide programs in scientific integrity, ethics, publication, research excellence, post-doctoral fellows, youth internships, education, and Tribal relations. Since retiring in 2012 she has dedicated her time to promoting scientific integrity, ethics, and diversity in the geosciences, including leading and/or influencing major ethics policy revisions at the American Geophysical Union, the American Geosciences Institute, The Geological Society of America, and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences. Linda sets the example for highest standard of geoethics service, practice, and scholarly excellence".

Linda Gundersen began her scientific career at the U.S. Geological Survey, where her geological training was notably combined with ethical approaches to achieve notable results benefiting society. Gundersen's early work in studying radionuclides helped redefined how radon was looked at. Her work also gave the science community a powerful tool to assess radon, leading to the creating of radon potential mapping. Publications such as her "Mapping the radon potential of the United States: Examples from the Appalachians", were used to set policy at the national and state level. This work helped lay the foundation for additional national geohealth assessments in the U.S., and provided positive public examples of applied geoethics. Gundersen's scientific leadership lead to further advancement to become the USGS Chief Scientist. In this role she led the implementation of community science databases. She also assembled and led a group of research scientists who were at the cutting edge of their fields and wrote "Geology for a Changing World 2010-2020." This strategic blueprint document further set the stage for basic principles for broader applied geoethics. Geology for a Changing World contains six goals that emphasize many of today's basic principles of "geoethical thinking." To quote from the executive summary of this prophetical 2006 document "These six goals focus on providing the geologic underpinning needed to wisely use our natural resources, understand and mitigate hazards and environmental change, and understand the relationship between humans and the environment." As seen in the above examples, Linda's scientific work consistently demonstrates a strong understanding and promotion scientific ethics and integrity in achieving scientific advancement to meet societal needs. Notably, Gundersen was the founding and inaugural head of the Office of Science Quality, and Integrity at USGS. Additionally, she has been widely recognized for her scientific leadership work through awards such as her election as Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a U.S. Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award for contributions to environmental geology, economic geology, program management and leadership. Perhaps equally important, Linda has devoted the past decade of her life in being a notable and unrelenting positive force for change in promoting geoethics scholarship, policies, and practice across the scientific community. Linda co-authored or led the development of scientific integrity policies for USGS (2007), Department of Interior (2011), American Geosciences Institute (2015), and the American Geophysical Union (2012 and 2017). Her ethics leadership and influence is also exemplified by her work as editor and an author of the book "Scientific Integrity and Ethics in the Geosciences" (2017). More recently Linda served on the National Academies of Science Committee on the Impacts of SexuaI Harassment in Academia whose report Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences, released in June 2018, further extending her influence and knowledge of scientific ethics to additional important issues for today's world that negatively impact our science. Linda has been repeatedly in action! Much of at least the initial development of AGU's ethics efforts were guided by Linda. Her then continued commitment helped develop AGU's current program over several years, which is now providing an influence across scientific societies and expanding further. She led the key task force that led ultimately to AGU's current ethics center and helped develop a wider positive conversation around ethics, diversity, and equity. Linda's broad understanding of ethics, encompassing diversity to leading practices for data stewardship and more, greatly influenced the broader AGU effort around ethics, equity, open data practices, and culture change, as well as AGU's decision to include harassment and bullying as scientific misconduct. Over the years, she has always been available for and regularly provided advice and input, and has helped on several additional directed projects for AGU or reviewed practices at other institutions through AGU. Linda Gundersen's name is synonymous with advancing ethics education and practice in the geosciences.

Linda Gundersen

Chris King, United Kingdom (Geoethics Medal 2018)


"For his valuable contribution in promoting Earth Sciences in society by introducing innovative methods and tools to teaching, aiming at the proactive involvement of end-users based on developing their critical thinking and observational scientific approaches.
Chris King teaches (geo)scientific methods and geological knowledge in an easy, attractive and passionate way, through which he offers clear and careful explanations of geological observations without trivializing the content whilst always paying great attention to the quality of the scientific discourse. 
His efforts in promoting geoeducation are much more than a mission to disseminate Earth Sciences knowledge among students and the general public: Chris King is an excellent example of a geologist who feels and practices his geological activity as a geoethical duty towards society.

Chris King, BSc Honours in Geology from the University of Bristol, energetically promotes geological knowledge worldwide among students and the general public, strongly contributing to raising global awareness of the importance of geoeducation and the dissemination of geoscientific methods and information within society. His career began as geologist working in industry (he was a diamond prospector for De Beers for five years, in South Africa, Swaziland and Australia). He then became a school teacher and a university professor (he became Professor of Earth Science Education at Keele University in 2006 and retired in December 2015).

Chris King has contributed (and is continuing tirelessly) to developing excellent geoeducation activities, among them Earthlearningidea, an admirable innovative project on Earth-related teaching-ideas, that he instigated in 2007. This has changed the way that the teaching of geoscience knowledge is seen globally.

As Chair of the Commission on Geoscience Education (COGE) of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Chair of the Committee on Education of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), Adviser  and past-Chair of the Council of the International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO), Chair of the Earth Science Education Forum (England and Wales), Past-Chair of the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA) and current Chair of the ESTA Secondary Committee, he has achieved an internationally-renowned role as geoeducator in the geoscience community.

As keynote speaker at the International Geological Congress (Cape Town, 2016; Brisbane, 2012) and in many other international conferences held in Austria (2017, 2004), Bangladesh (2009), Canada (2016, 2007, 2003), Italy (2008), Japan (2002), Norway (2008), Nigeria (2016), Russia (2011), South Africa (2016, 2010, 2004), Spain (2010) and Taiwan (2001), he has promoted his teaching methods and activities to a global audience. He is an example of geologist keen to enable his colleagues to educate their students more effectively and to transfer geological knowledge to society. Nearly 300 of the activities developed by Chris and his colleagues have been published and are freely downloadable from the internet, primarily for use in the developing world, but widely used in the developed world as well; they have been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Japanese, Polish, Slovakian and Catalan.

His commitment to geoeducation was rewarded by Honorary Life Membership of the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA) in 1994. Moreover, in 2003 he was awarded the Geological Society’s ‘Distinguished Service Award’ and, in 2011, the Geologists’ Association’s ‘Halstead Medal’, for ‘work of outstanding merit, deemed to further the objects of the Association and to promote Geology'.

From his career, is clear that Chris King’s efforts in geoeducation have had the goal of serving society: he has used his geological knowledge in his profession of geoscience educator and communicator as part of his fundamental geoethical duty towards the public and in particular, to our younger generations.

Chris King
bottom of page