Luísa Magalhães received the FLAD Science Award Atlantic 2022 in a session that took place at Palácio da Conceição, in Ponta Delgada, Azores. The researcher from CESAM – Center for Environment and Sea Studies and the Department of Biology, at the University of Aveiro, presented the winning project, in an event that was attended by José Manuel Bolieiro, President of the Regional Government of the Azores, and Elvira Fortunato, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education.

The official session to award the FLAD Science Award Atlantic 2022 to researcher Luísa Magalhães took place on February 3, at Palácio da Conceição in Ponta Delgada. The winner of the 3rd edition of the award made an extended presentation of her project – UNTIE – UNravelling the role of emerging parasitic diseases in the structure and function of coastal communiTIEs and ecosystems -, which will receive 300,000 euros to study parasitic diseases in coastal marine ecosystems and their impacts, including ecological, economic and social impacts.

The session was opened by Rita Faden, President of FLAD, who stressed the importance of the FLAD Science Award Atlantic to the promotion of science in Portugal and, in particular, to the relationship with the Azores.

“From the moment we decided to establish this award, the idea that one day we could hold the award ceremony here in the Azores was born. This is a prize that stimulates research of the Atlantic and its ecosystems, in a clear commitment to contribute to its sustainable exploitation and, from that perspective, the intersection with the Azores is inevitable.”

José Manuel Bolieiro, President of the Regional Government of the Azores, who also opened the session, saluted FLAD for its proximity to the Azores and extended an invitation to all scientific researchers.

“I leave all researchers with a call to discover the Azores as a laboratory for research, for opportunities to retain talent. (…) We want to be a field of experimentation, an opportunity for research, for development, for innovation, for attracting talent and a reference in Science in the country , in Europe and in the world.”

After the opening session, there followed a debate on “Climate change in the NE Atlantic and the Azores” with Pedro Miranda, Professor at the Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon, and Ricardo Serrão Santos, from OKEANOS, University of the Azores.

At the most awaited moment of the session – the awarding of the prize to Luísa Magalhães – the researcher presented the project she is developing and thanked the opportunity that this prize represents for her scientific career.

In the end, in declarations to the journalists, Luísa Magalhães referred that:

“On a professional level, the FLAD award is the leverage I needed to realize some of my scientific goals. By allowing me to set up a small team, this funding may represent the start of a new line of research focusing on the disease ecology of marine invertebrates.”

The event was closed by Elvira Fortunato, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, who, in addition to congratulating the winner, stated that this Award “legitimizes the scientific research carried out around the Atlantic.”

After the closing of the session, there followed a musical moment by Henrique Rodrigues, a student from the Ponta Delgada Conservatory.