Winners of 2020 Hopper Prizes announced at Annual Public Meeting
Awarded in memory of IDRC’s first president David Hopper, the prizes recognize two individuals who have received support from IDRC that has been foundational to their careers and that has led to significant positive societal impact. The winners were announced at IDRC’s first virtual Annual Public Meeting on December 9, 2020.
Nominated by Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Teresa Mosquera-Vásquez is a professor in the Faculty of Agricultural Science. Teresa participated in two Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFRSF) projects as the principal investigator for Improving Potato Production for Increasing Food Security of Indigenous Communities in Colombia (2012–2014) and Scaling up the production of more nutritious yellow potatoes in Colombia (2015–2018). Her research focused on food security, agriculture, nutrition, and improving livelihoods, with a strong emphasis on the integration of social and natural sciences and women’s empowerment. Under Teresa’s leadership, researchers developed new potato varieties that are more nutritious, productive, and disease resistant.
Improving Colombian lives with potatoes
At the prize presentation, IDRC President Jean Lebel said “Producer earnings increased by 18% and over 6.5 million Colombians gained access to more nutritious potatoes. Among participating families, the number of households considered food insecure dropped from 81% to 41% and the proportion of households with adequate diet diversity increased from 17% to 52%. Without IDRC’s initiative and Teresa’s leadership, changing the lives of vulnerable populations in Colombia by improving potato production would otherwise not have been possible”.
In a written statement, Universidad Nacional de Colombia said “Thank you to IDRC for trusting the work carried out by Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Professor Mosquera. Professor Mosquera has approached the comprehensive training of her students by creating environments that combine scientific knowledge and innovation with application. Professor Mosquera has formed trans-disciplinary work teams and achieved high impact results by promoting dialogue between knowledge arising from education, agriculture, and nutrition, and thus generating new knowledge for the benefit of society.”
Nominated by the Université Cadi Ayyad in Morocco, Rachid Hakkou is a professor in the Faculty of Sciences and Technology. He held the IDRC Research Chair in Management and Stabilization of Mining and Industrial Waste (2009–2016), led a workshop on Sustainable Mining and Development in North and West Africa (2017), and he was the principal investigator for the Passage à grande échelle de la production de matériaux de construction à partir de déchets miniers recyclés (2017–2018). Rachid is considered a pioneer of research on the management of mining waste in Morocco and is currently one of the top 10 global experts in his field. Morocco’s long mining history has left behind more than 200 shuttered mines that pose significant environmental and health risks to surrounding communities.
Replenishing mines in Morocco for community health
“[They] generated the first map showing which mines were leaching harmful chemicals”, said IDRC President Jean Lebel, speaking about Rachid’s collaboration with the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. “Then, they developed targeted, cost-effective techniques to contain acid mine drainage and to use mine waste as building materials. This resulted in the first contained abandoned mining site in North and West Africa. Due to Rachid’s leadership skills and IDRC’s collaboration, mines are being transformed and as a result are improving health in surrounding Moroccan communities.”
In a written statement, the University Cadi Ayyad said “Thanks to this [IDRC] support, Professor R. Hakkou has become an internationally recognized researcher in the field of recycling and valorization of mining waste. Mr. Hakkou has also used IDRC’s initiative to build new national, regional, and global networks. With his collaborators, both nationally and internationally, particularly in Canada, he has been able to provide concrete answers to questions and concerns of a social, environmental, and economic nature.”
Watch the announcement here: