Dr. Hal Holmes, a 2018 Schmidt Science Fellow, has been announced as one of 21 nominees for the 2020 Pritzker Award. The award, an annual prize of $100,000, is made to a young environmental leader working to solve complicated environmental challenges.
Hal has been nominated for his work on a DNA ‘barcode scanner’ that he is developing in his role as Chief Engineer at Conservation X Labs in Seattle and which he hopes will enable frontline wildlife officers to stem the flow of illicitly traded products derived from endangered species.
Candidates for the Pritzker Award are nominated by environmental leaders who have already made significant contributions. After careful review, a faculty committee will choose three finalists. The judges will select a winner who will be announced at a mid-December ceremony. The winner receives $100,000, and finalists take home $5,000, made possible by the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation.
The Pritzker Award is a way for younger leaders to gain recognition early on. It also builds a network, connecting environmental leaders from different fields with one another and providing younger candidates with mentorship from experienced leaders.
Hal is an engineer by training and pursued his Schmidt Science Fellows placement year in the cancer research lab of Dr. Eli Vlaisavljevich at Virginia Tech. Here, Hal focussed on ultra-sound-based technology to advance techniques to effectively extract DNA from timber samples.