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AGU Award for Harald Schuh

Harald Schuh is recipient of the 2022 “Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership” of the Geodesy Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Harald Schuh, Director of Department 1 Geodesy at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ and Professor for Satellite Geodesy at TU Berlin, was honoured as American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) 2022 Geodesy Section “Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership” recipient. Being selected as a Section Honoree is bestowed upon individuals for meritorious work or service toward the advancement and promotion of discovery and solution science. AGU, a nonprofit organization that supports 130,000 enthusiasts to experts worldwide in Earth and space sciences, annually recognizes a select number of individuals as part of its Honors and Recognition program. The official award ceremony took place at the AGU22 Autumn Meeting in Chicago from 12 to 16 December 2022.

On the occasion of the award ceremony, the AGU announced:

“Harald Schuh is recognized by the global Earth and space sciences community for his tremendous personal sacrifices and selfless dedication to advancing Earth and space sciences. 

The Geodesy Section chose Harald Schuh because his significant achievements in service to, or leadership in, the geodesy community. His research and services for geodetic communities has led to fundamental contributions into a wide range of topics in Satellite Geodesy including VLBI, Reference Frame, GNSS, Quantum Geodesy, Gravity field and others.

Internationally recognized leader

Harald Schuh is an internationally recognized leader in the field of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). He played a pioneering role in promoting this technology to support the establishment of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) and the realization of the International Celestial Reference System (ICRS). Together with international colleagues, he founded the International VLBI Service (IVS), a collaboration of organizations that operate and support global VLBI components, and he served as the chair of this organization from 2007 to 2013. Harald Schuh’s dedication to IVS and his great vision led to the development of the VLBI Global Observing System (VGOS) with a number of new radio telescopes in the United States, Japan, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and China.”

“Impressive service to the scientific community”

The AGU acknowledged Harald Schuh's passionate pursuit of frontier research in geodesy and his “unselfish contribution and services to scientific communities” as “impressive”. He has been member of several important national and international organizations and working groups, including Chair of Scientific Advisory Board of the German Geodetic Research Institute (DGFI) in Munich, Germany, Member of Scientific Advisory Board of the European Optical Fibre Project NEAT-FT, Member of Scientific Advisory Board of the German Research Group on Satellite Geodesy (FGS), Vice-President of the Austrian Society for Surveying and Geoinformation (OVG), President of the Austrian Geodetic Commission (ÖGK) and of the Austrian National Committee of the IUGG, President of IAU Commission 19 on Earth Rotation, Elected member of the IAG Executive Committee, and IAG President during 2015-2019. Currently he is Chair of the German Geodetic Commission (DGK, 2019-2024) and Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of the next General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) in Berlin (2023).

Commitment to knowledge transfer and as a mentor for other researchers

The AGU also paid tribute to Harald Schuh as a “truly inspirational leader with great passion and enthusiasm for advancing geodesy not only in fundamental research but also into the wider range of governmental and ministerial levels that places geodesy in a more influential position on decision-making processes to change our society. As the former director of the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria (2002–2012) and current director of the Department of Geodesy at GFZ, the German Research Centre for Geosciences, he has been a devoted mentor and has attracted many Ph.D. students, world-class postdocs, and scientists to his research team”.

Harald Schuh on his award

“I feel very honored to receive this award, as serving the geodetic community, educating students, and training next generation geodesy experts has always been a main part of my professional life,” says Harald Schuh. “In geodesy we are living in an exciting era with new monitoring technologies, next space missions and upcoming satellite positioning and navigation scenarios, and I am glad to contribute to these developments.

Since 2015 I have represented international science organizations such as the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) and the International Association of Geodesy (IAG)—in cooperation with AGU—at the annual conference of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), in New York. This allowed me to further promote science and research on a high political level and in particular to support the development of geodetic infrastructure and the education and training of next-generation geodesists.

I would like to thank all my former and current colleagues who have supported my activities in the past decades, and I am proud that this award is named for Prof. Ivan I. Mueller, who was one of my predecessors as president of IAG. Promotion of geodesy is our common goal.”

The award announcement on the AGU website:


AGU press contact:
Hope Garland, news@agu.org

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