The Oran R. Young Prize awarded by the Earth System Governance Project seeks to reward and encourage cutting-edge research on earth system governance by early-career scholars who could become the next generation of leading scholars in the field of environmental governance research – a field shaped and significantly influenced by the pioneering work of Prof. Oran R. Young.

Oran R. Young has inspired and supported countless young scholars – many of them now leading researchers and teachers in the field themselves. The Oran R. Young Prize is awarded in recognition of his invaluable contribution to advancing the frontiers of research on the institutional dimensions of global environmental change and earth system governance, and equally to honor his enthusiasm and dedication in teaching, mentoring and supporting early-career researchers.

The Oran R. Young Prize will be awarded for the best paper presented at the annual Earth System Governance Open Science Conference authored by early-career scholars. The Prize Committee is chaired by Earth System Governance Steering Group member Heike Schroeder (University of East Anglia). The committee will select the winning paper based on academic quality and novelty as well as relevance to the Earth System Governance Research Framework.


Rakhyun E. KimThe prize has been awarded for the first time at the Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference in January 2013 to Rakhyun E. Kim (Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University) for his paper on The Emergent Network Structure of the Multilateral Environmental Agreement System as the best early-career paper of the 2013 Tokyo Conference. [read more]


Hamish van der VenThe prize has been awarded for the second time at the Earth System Governance Norwich Conference in July 2014 to Hamish van der Ven (Yale University) for his paper on The Correlates of Best Practice in Transnational Eco-Labeling as the best early-career paper of the 2014 Norwich Conference. [read more]


Sandra van der HelThe prize has been awarded for the third time at the Earth System Governance Canberra Conference in December 2015 to Sandra van der Hel (Department of Environmental Policy Analysis of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam), for her paper on New Science for Global Sustainability? The Institutionalisation of Knowledge Co-production in Future Earth as the best early-career paper of the 2015 Canberra Conference. [read more]


The prize has been awarded for the fourth time at the Earth System Governance Nairobi Conference in December 2016 to Robert M. Ochieng (Wageningen University & Research), for his paper on Does discourse matter in institutionalization? the case of REDD+ MRV in Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania as the best early-career paper of the 2016 Nairobi Conference. [read more]


The prize has been awarded for the fifth time at the Earth System Governance Lund Conference in October 2017 to Katharine Rietig (Newcastle University), for her paper on The Role of Policy Learning in Unlocking Deadlocked Negotiations as the best early-career paper of the 2017 Lund Conference. [read more]





The Oran R. Young Prize is generously co-sponsored by The MIT Press.



“The MIT Press publishes books that honor real-world complexity, advance knowledge, and cross both academic and geographic boundaries.  Oran R. Young’s work on environmental governance epitomizes that very mission and the eponymous Earth System Governance prize continues the legacy by recognizing rigorous and transformative research being conducted by early-career scholars. MIT Press proudly lends its support.”


The paper must be accepted for presentation at an Earth System Governance open science conference;

The paper must be submitted in its final or very advanced (review ready) version before the deadline specified for each conference by the Prize Committee;

The paper must be authored by one or more early-career researchers, whereby early-career is defined as Master student, PhD-student or researcher who has received their PhD within 5 years prior to the deadline. Please note that all authors of the paper must fall into the category of early-career researcher;

Papers already published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal will not be eligible for the Oran R. Young Prize. Manuscripts published as working papers or similar informal format will remain eligible;

Papers (co-)authored by members of the Oran R. Young Prize Committee, and by staff of the International Project Office are not eligible.