Meet the recipients of the GEO 2021 Individual Excellence Award

Blog / December 17, 2021

In 2019, the GEO Programme Board created the GEO Individual Excellence Award to recognise individuals who have demonstrated exceptional personal commitment to the mission and vision of GEO and whose work has had tangible impact.

The GEO Secretariat is pleased to announce the award recipients for 2021: Li Guoqing, Stella Chelangat Mutai, Brian Killough and Nataliia Kussul.

The prestigious awards were announced on 26 November during the GEO virtual awards ceremony at the GEO -17 Plenary. You can watch the award ceremony here.

You can learn more about the selection and nomination criteria here. The following statements about the winners are taken from the nominations received:


Li Guoqing

Serving as the director of ChinaGEO Data Sharing Platform and China National Earth

Observation Data Center, Dr. Li Guoqing has been coordinating ChinaGEO data sharing activities from 2014, and made great efforts to improve the performance of Chinese data sharing in the GEO community. He was deeply involved in GIDTT and DWG in this term of GEO, and also served as the coordinator of AOGEO Data Sharing Task Group (TG10) from the beginning. The ChinaGEO Disaster Data Response Mechanism (CDDR) he pioneered has made high level responses to more than 25 global disaster events in the past 5 years, which was the major contributor to last year's EO4SDG award (Rapid Disaster Mapping).


Stella Chelangat Mutai 

Stella Chelangat Mutai has been using GIS and remote sensing methodologies for supporting farmers in Kenya. Stella Chelangat Mutai won the Africa Prize for the Farming by Satellite competition. She has supported the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and worked with its Innovation Challenge on systematically integrating GIS and remote sensing in Monitoring and Evaluation (GeoM&E). Currently, Stella is working with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) further using her skills on GIS and remote sensing for the good of the poor and hungry in developing countries.


Brian Killough

Through his relentless effort and passion, Dr. Brian Killough has been an outstanding contributor to the GEO mission and fully embodies the values of GEO. Brian’s passion toward providing innovative, real-world solutions through the Open Data Cube has truly helped “unlock the power of Earth observations” across the globe. Serving as a visionary, advisor, and implementer, his work was instrumental in the creation of Digital Earth Africa, Digital Earth Pacific, Digital Earth Americas, and many other data cubes across the world. In addition to his significant contributions, Brian’s ability to bring diverse people and communities together is truly unique and worthy of this special recognition.


Nataliia Kussul 

Nataliia Kussul has made considerable contributions to the GEO Flagship Program GEOGLAM through extensive use of EO data and state-of-the-art computing technologies in developing new generation of agriculture monitoring products, including at national and regional scale, and playing a major role in adopting those products for the use by authorities in Ukraine and UN (through UN-SPIDER Program Support Office). She not only greatly contributed to the EO R&D domain by proposing new methods and technologies, e.g. based on deep learning, in utilizing EO data, but she led adoption of the developed geo-information products (e.g. land cover land use maps, SDG indicators) into the policies, as evidenced by ongoing collaborative efforts with Ministries and local authorities in Ukraine, such Ministry of agrarian policy and food of Ukraine, State Statistics Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine.



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