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News Release 07-167

NSF Science and Technology Center Wins United Nations Prize

Center in Arizona praised for remarkable scientific work on water research in deserts and arid lands

Students measure evaporation rates in Patagonia, Arizona.

Students measure evaporation rates in Patagonia, Arizona.

November 6, 2007

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA) is one of two institutions to win the 2007 International Great Man-made River Prize. The prize is awarded by UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization.

The UNESCO prize "rewards remarkable scientific research work on water usage in arid areas as well as areas subject to drought and also for the development of agriculture for the benefit of humanity and the environment." The annual award, which includes a certificate, a medal and cash, will be presented by the director general of UNESCO at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on Nov. 10, 2007. SAHRA Director Jim Shuttleworth will accept the prize for SAHRA. Former SAHRA Director Soroosh Sorooshian, now director of CHRS, will accept the prize for CHRS. NSF Director Arden L. Bement, Jr., will attend and participate as a speaker on the UNESCO panel entitled, "Science and Innovation as a Global Enterprise."

SAHRA, headquartered at the University of Arizona, includes several institutions, including universities, government agencies and national laboratories.

"The award has been awarded to everyone involved in the SAHRA Center and reflects our numerous contributions to the hydrology of semi-arid and arid regions of the world and the level of international respect for the work we do," Shuttleworth said. "We carry out state-of-the-art science and engineering in the water arena and, by building strong relationships with water professionals, make sure the resulting understanding gets used effectively and quickly."

The SAHRA Center is an NSF Science and Technology Centers (STCs), part of the agency's integrative partnership program that enables innovative research and education projects of national importance that require a center mode of support to achieve the research, education, and knowledge-transfer goals shared by the partners. STCs conduct world-class research in partnerships among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations, and/or other public/private entities to create new and meaningful knowledge of significant benefit to society.

The STC program invests federal funds in areas consistent with the goals of the NSF strategic plan to enable the nation's future through discovery, learning and innovation.

SAHRA member institutions include Arizona State University, New Mexico Tech, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, United States Geological Survey, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Penn State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Services, Desert Research Institute, University of California at Irvine, University of California at Merced, University of California at Riverside, Northern Arizona University, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of California at Los Angeles, and Sandia National Laboratories.

The Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing at the University of California at Irvine is the joint award-winner of this prize awarded every other year by UNESCO.


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:

Program Contacts
Randy Phelps, NSF, (703) 292-5049, email:
L. Douglas James, NSF, (703) 292-8549, email:
Tissa H. Illangasekare, NSF, (703) 292-8549, email:

Principal Investigators
Jim Shuttleworth, Director of SAHRA, (520) 621-8787, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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