Update: 20.03.2017

Soil stores 10% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.


This medal is awarded by the IUSS Division 1 Soils in Space and Time and the IUSS Commission 4.5 History, philosophy and sociology of soil science.


The award honours Dan Hardy Yaalon (1924-2014), a professor of soil science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dan H. Yaalon had 57 years of an exceptional research career. He contributed to some of the most fundamental issues of soils in space and time as well as theory and history of soil science. In particular, he made some of the most significant contributions in pedology and palaeopedology, especially regarding arid and Mediterranean landscapes. Highlights of his scientific impact were his research on the effect of dust on soil formation as well as his work in the fields of anthropo-pedology and environmental reconstruction. Yet Dan H. Yaalon was also an intellectual who contributed greatly to the history of soil science, its philosophy and sociology. He was also engaged in archaeology, as he attributed much importance to the interface between human beings and their natural environment. His unequalled contributions to the disciplines of basic soil research and the history of soil science have earned him the honour of being the only scientist who was recognized both by the Dokuchaev Medal from the IUSS (2010), and the Sarton Medal from the University of Ghent (2000). Dan H. Yaalon was a modest and open-minded person, straightforward and full of creative ideas. His inspiring personality and works have influenced many and will surely continue doing so for generations to come.

Criteria for the selection of nominees for the Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal

A nominee should have the following qualifications:

  • be a researcher in his/hers early scientific career, i.e., PhD student or postdoc researcher within the first 5 years after PhD graduation and,
  • be an active member of a national soil science society and/or the International Union of Soil Science and,
  • have published in at least one of the following fields: Soil morphology and micromorphology, soil geography, soil genesis, soil classification, pedometrics, palaeopedology, history of soil science, philosophy of soil science, sociology of soil science, and
  • either have made a significant contribution that advanced the fields of soil science as presented above, or compiled a body of work that has advanced the science, success, methodology, or use of the above fields.

The medal is not awarded posthumously.
Current officers of IUSS Divisions, Commissions and Working Groups cannot be nominated.

Periodicity of nomination

The Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal is awarded once every four years at the World Soil Congress.

Nomination procedure

The call for nominations is distributed by the Commission officers not later than twelve months before the suggested date of award of the Medal via IUSS Alerts and all involved Commissions’ and Working Groups’ Newsletters and e-mail lists. The nominees may be proposed by institutions, societies, commissions and working groups of the IUSS, and by individuals. Self-nomination is not encouraged.

The proposal for nomination should include a short justification, including the main steps of the scientific career of the nominee, his/her main scientific publications and the major contribution to the development of one or more of the following fields: Soil morphology and micromorphology, soil geography, soil genesis, soil classification, pedometrics, palaeopedology, history of soil science, philosophy of soil science, sociology of soil science.
The deadline for nominations ends at least nine months before the date of award of the medal.
The decision will be made at least six months before the date of award of the medal.

Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal Award Committee

The Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal Award Committee is a standing committee invited by the current officers of IUSS Division 1 ‘Soils in Space and Time’, and Commission 4.5 ‘History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Soil Science’. Its task is to select outstanding individuals among the candidates for being awarded the Dan Yaalon Young Scientist Medal.

The Committee includes three members representing Division 1 and one member representing commission 4.5. The committee is headed by a chair person. The service of the Award Committee Members has no strict time limitation. If a member of the Committee is planning to resign his/her service, he/she should inform the officers of Division 1 and Commission 4.5 in due time, to allow for his/her timely replacement.

The responsibility of the Committee Chair is to receive nominations and, after discussion and voting on the candidatures, to announce the decision to the Division 1 and Commission 4.5 officers. The Chair of Division 1 has priority to hand over the Medal to the nominee. If he/she cannot do it personally, the responsibility may be passed to a member of the Award Committee.

The following scientists (in alphabetic order) are members of the Award Committee:
Danny Itkin
Rosa Poch
Daniela Sauer
Karl Stahr (chair)