UWI Climate expert hopes ANSA award encourages young Caribbean scientists

Internationally acclaimed Climate Scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at The University of the West Indies’ (UWI), Mona Campus Professor Michael Taylor was among those celebrated by the ANSA McAL Foundation at its Caribbean Awards for Excellence ceremony last Saturday, March 30 at the Sandals Royal, Barbados.

Professor Taylor, whose work has been invaluable to practical and research advancements in the region’s response to climate change, was presented with the 2019 ANSA Caribbean Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. Responding to the prestigious award, Professor Taylor humbly reflected on the full list of Laureates.  “When I look at the list of past awardees and the kind of stellar contributions they have made and continue to make to Caribbean life, it is humbling to have been considered and awarded,” he said.

Professor Taylor also paid homage to the team of scientists he works with, noting that they all had a “genuine conviction” that their science could make a difference in the region. “In our case our motivation comes from the significant threat that climate change poses to the Caribbean way of life. To have what you consider your daily passion recognised in this public way is a pleasant surprise. It comes with a sense of gratitude, encouragement to continue and the hope that young Caribbean scientists will be encouraged to also make their contribution.”

Other awardees this year included Danielle Dieffenthaller – Filmmaker, for contributions in the field of Arts & Letters; Kimala Bennett – Media Entrepreneur, for Entrepreneurship and Cory Lane – Civic Activist, for Public & Civic Contributions.

In the presence of Caribbean dignitaries including Her Excellency, Dame Sandra Mason, Governor General of Barbados and the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, the recipients were each presented with a medal, citation and cheque for TT $500,000. They join 35 previous laureates throughout the Caribbean who have been honoured since 2006.

Chairman of the ANSA McAL Foundation and CEO of the ANSA McAL Group, Mr. A. Norman Sabga pledged the Group’s continued support of the awards.  According to Sir Shridath Ramphal, Chairman of the awards’ regional selection panel, the programme is actually expected to expand with nomination committees in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and the OECS now empowered to seek nominations from adjacent territories including The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands and Belize.

ANSA Caribbean Awards for Excellence 2019 recipients (l-r) Corey Lane, Danielle Dieffenthaller, Kimala Bennett, and Professor Michael Taylor.

More about Professor Michael Taylor

Professor Michael Taylor is an outstanding Climate Scientist who currently serves as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at The University of the West Indies’ Mona campus.  A UWI alumnus, Professor Taylor has done outstanding work in the area of climate change. He has been the Director of the Climate Studies Group, Mona (CSGM) since 2007 and has successfully positioned the CSGM as a centre of regional thought and expertise with respect to climate change science and the leading centre for coordinating regional climate modelling efforts. Professor Taylor also serves on a number of national and regional boards and committees. He is a member of the Climate Change Advisory Board in Jamaica’s Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and served as a member of the Advisory Panel on Climate Change for the Ministry of Land Water, Environment and Climate Change from 2012-2016.

Professor Taylor’s research which has produced over 100 publications and garnered over $USD 20 million in research grants and funding for The UWI has focused on determining the scientific impact of climate change in the Caribbean islands. His work has been invaluable in shaping the understanding of the region’s vulnerability to climate change; building Caribbean Climate Databases; developing climate tools and improving our ability to predict Caribbean climate on seasonal timescales. He was also one of the coordinating, lead authors of the IPCC 1.5 Report released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018.

In 2013 Professor Taylor received The UWI Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and in 2019 was named the ANSA McAL Caribbean Awards for Excellent Laureate in the area of Science and Technology.

Photo Caption: (l-r) Corey Lane, Danielle Dieffenthaller, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Dame Sandra Mason, Prime Minister the Hon. Mia Mottley, Kimala Bennett, Mr A Norman Sabga, and Prof Michael Taylor.