Niels Hovius and Onno Oncken have been named Fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Niels Hovius is Scientific Director (ad interim) of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Before he took over this position in November 2020, he headed the GFZ's section Geomorphology. Onno Oncken was head of the GFZ's section Dynamics of the Lithosphere until his retirement in August 2021. He is now working as a guest scientist at the GFZ. With the Fellowship the AGU recognizes members who have made exceptional scientific contributions in the fields of Earth and space science. The honor is bestowed on only 0.1 percent of the membership which means that this year only 59 of about 60,000 members from 137 countries were named Fellows, two of them from the GFZ.
Hovius joined the GFZ in 2012 from the British University of Cambridge and founded the Geomorphology Section. In a joint appointment he is Professor at the University of Potsdam. His work focuses on Earth surface dynamics, especially erosion processes and their impact on the Earth system, combining geophysical and geochemical approaches. Niels Hovius studied physical geography and geology at the Rijks Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands, and holds a doctorate from Oxford University, United Kingdom. He was a postdoc in Ireland and the USA, and a visiting professor in France, Norway and Switzerland. In 2016, he received the Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal, awarded by the European Geoscience Union EGU.
Onno Oncken has held senior positions at the GFZ since the founding of the German Research Centre for Geosciences. His research is directed at the analysis of Earth's convergent plate boundaries and mountain building. He started in 1992 as Head of the Section "Structure, Evolution and Geodynamics" as it was called then and acted as Department Director from 2003 to 2018. From 2004 to the end of 2020, Onno Oncken was also program spokesperson at the GFZ for three funding periods of the program-oriented research funding (PoF) in the Helmholtz Association. He has been a professor at the Freie Universität Berlin since 1994. In 1998, he was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preis of the German Research Foundation DFG.