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USP Professor recognised by American Association of the Advancement of Sciences

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Professor Elisabeth Holland, Director of PaCE-SD

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Professor Elisabeth Holland has been elected a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS).

Distinguished scientists recognised by the AAAS include astronomer Maria Mitchell, inventor Thomas Edison; and computer scientist Grace Hopper (1963).  Professor Holland was recognised by the section on Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences. 

Professor Holland joins an accomplished group of Fellows who ‘were selected for diverse accomplishments that include pioneering research, leadership within their field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.’ 

She is the Director of the University’s Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) and is the Professor of Climate Change. 

Professor Holland has more than thirty (30) years of experience in the areas of climate change and earth system research, including science policy leadership.

She supports the development of Pacific research capacity to ensure that her legacy becomes the empowerment of Pacific students and communities to build resilient futures.

She has also led USP’s delegation to support Pacific governments in negotiating the Paris Agreement. 

Professor Holland is a voice for the development of climate resilient green economies in a blue world, important throughout the Pacific. 

The Professor served on the core team for the development of Fiji’s Green Growth Framework and the panel of experts for the Majuro Declaration on Climate Leadership ( and was lead author of the Suva Declaration.

She also served on the Friends of the Chair (FOC), and the Senior Officials Committee (SOC) of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (, the Chair of the Working Arm for Disaster and Climate Resilient Development (WARD) for the CROP agencies and on the Sustainable Development Working Group for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Professor Holland is leading efforts to establish a Regional Meteorological Training Center in Climate, Hydrological, Atmospheric, and Ocean Science and Services for the Pacific Islands.

In 2007, Professor Holland was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

She is an author of four (4) of the five (5) IPCC reports and also served as a US, German and now a Fiji representative and is a Lead Author of the Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere to be released in October, 2019.  

With a career spanning more than three decades, Professor Holland is a Leopold scholar, served as founding member of the Max Planck Institute fur Biogeochemie, in Jena Germany and served as a Senior Scientist and Leader of the Biogeosciences Program at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, United States of America.

She is interested in the science of climate change, the role of the Pacific Ocean in the functioning of Planet Earth, how the atmosphere works, the PaCE-SD family of students and staff, building bridges between science and policy to enhance community resilience. 

Professor Holland said that she has been humbled by this honour and expressed her appreciation to USP, PACE-SD and her students for welcoming her to “Pacific shores to do meaningful work.”

“I am thankful to an extensive network of inspiring women (and male) scientists, like Joanie Kleypas, who kept me paddling forward. My daughter, Kate Schimel, was the first to tell me about my selection making the honor even more meaningful.  I truly stand on the shoulders of giants,” Professor Holland stated.

This year, 416 members have been awarded this honour by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on 16 February 2019 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science

This news item was published on 15 Dec 2018 03:07:58 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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