Life Achievement Award

Nomination Criteria for Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research


The organizing committee for the 14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) to be held September 2019 in Krakow Poland has reviewed nominations for the Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research. This award was established in 2011 to celebrate and recognize select individuals who have made extraordinary lifetime achievements in mercury research, mentoring, and/or contributions to governmental policy and public outreach.


Dr. Kathryn R. Mahaffey passed away in 2009. Her career embodied all that this award is meant to honor: scholarly research on global mercury issues that met the highest scientific standards, greatly enhanced understanding of mercury as a pollutant, and support of public health protection globally. Dr. Mahaffey was a prolific writer, including the scientific literature, but also understood the importance of dissemination of her work to the broader global community of non-governmental organizations, regulators and the general public. She was a model for scientific integrity, reporting her scientific findings even when the results were unpopular. Those who worked with Dr. Mahaffey knew her as thoughtful and kind as well as someone with great intellect and tenacity.

In keeping with the tradition of prior conferences, the recipient of the 5rd Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research will be announced and celebrated at the 14th ICMGP in Krakow, Poland in September 2019. The awardee will have the opportunity to make a brief statement and will receive a handcrafted crystal lifetime achievement award that is transferred between award recipients at each conference as well as an award from the host country as a keepsake. The conference organizers will provide complimentary registration and reimburse the awardee for the costs of travel to the conference.





 The Lifetime Acheivement Award at ICMGP 2019 is given to Dr. Milena Horvat:


Prof. Milena Horvat



Dr. Milena Horvat is currently a Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Jožef Stefan Institute ( and she is also a Dean of the International Postgraduate School Jožef Stefan ( 


She graduated  from  the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia  in 1989 of the field of analytical chemistry. During her post doc period she spend a short  time at Brooks Rand Ltd. in Seattle, USA and continued her work in UN IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory in the Principality of Monaco. The UN environment opened her international collaborations world-wide. Upon return to her home country in 1996 she took over the a position of the Head of newly established Department of Environmental Sciences at the Jožef Stefan Institute. 


Her research accomplishments have touched virtually all aspects of Hg environmental chemistry and cycling. These include the development of novel and highly sensitive analytical techniques applied to all environmental matrices and which have been foundational in methodologies codified by government agencies. In the same vein, she pioneered novel techniques that overcame previous limitations in attempts to quantify the rate at which inorganic mercury is methylated in various environments. Her work has spanned the breadth of Hg as it occurs in the environment from locations where Hg is a present in trace amounts to some of the most highly contaminated sites known. Enduring scientific discoveries across such a range of sites requires such novel approaches and the strictest adherence to sampling and analytical protocols. These techniques and measurements are critically important in our attempts to better understand the hazards associated with Hg and how best to mitigate those hazards.

She authored and co-authored over  255 scientific paper with over 8500 citations with an H index of 46 (Scopus). She also published 35 book/monograph chapters, presented her work at over 110 invited lectures and over 500 presentations at conferences, and 259 reports. She also lectured at numerous prestigious research institutions and universities. Her publications reflect her broad interests and deep knowledge of Hg chemistry, its behavior in the environment, and its impact in all its forms to human and ecological receptors. In addition to her publication records in  analytical chemistry she also published work in the field of Hg human health impacts, the behavior or Hg in contaminated freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems  as well as in matters of policy, outreach, and community involvement.

She attended all ICMGP conferences since 1991 and contributed with numerous presentations. She was a Chair of the 7th ICMGP organized in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2004 and in addition she was a Steering Group member of 9 of the 13  ICMGP conferences.  In addition, she organized 13 international events (conferences,  symposia and exploratory workshops) which resulted in 10 special issues dedicated to mercury research and where she acted as Guest Editor (Fresenius J. Analytical Chemistry, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Environmental Health Perspectives, Marine Chemistry and, Materials and Geo-environment).


Her mentoring activity resulted in 16 completed PhD thesis and 6 on-going, 5 master theses and over 20 BSC theses. She organized numerous training courses while working for the IAEA and after she returned to her home research institution. 


Her policy and outreach related activities  is well documented by membership in relevant scientific and professional associations and committees. She was very active in the United Nations activities (WHO, IAEA, UNEP – GMA reports in 2002, 2012 and 2018, and IOC of UNESCO) and EU DG ENV Position paper on mercury in  2001 and policy briefs of the EU DG “Science for Environmental Policy” since 2012. Lately she has been a member of the UNEP’s partnership programme on  (1) Fate and Transport and (2) Mercury Emission from Coal. She has also been nominated as member of the Experts for the UNEP’s Effectiveness Evaluation of the Minamata Convention.


She has also been a coordinator of numerous research projects/programmes at national , European and global level. She currently coordinates EU funded projects:  (1) EMPIR MercOx – Traceability of oxidized mercury, (2) ERAChair Iso-Food - Food safety and traceability and (3) MASSTWIN – Mass spectrometry in food, environment and health. These projects bring together academia, industry and other stakeholders. She has also been a partner in several other Hg projects of global relevance. In collaboration with 11 world leading research groups she, as a coordinator, has recently been awarded an EU MSCA - Innovative Training Network   “Global Mercury Observing System for the implementation of Minamata convention (2020-2023). The objectives of the GMOS-Train network are (1) to provide urgently needed training in mercury science within the context of the UNEP Minamata convention, and (2) to bridge key knowledge gaps on biogeochemical mercury cycling that currently hamper the optimization of national environmental policy regarding mercury emissions. The process of training a pool of 15 PhD students represents an excellent capacity building of new generation of experts needed for the implementation of the Minamata Convention. Being trained in highly relevant research topic will enhance researchers career prospective and employability. Moreover, complimentary training in dissemination using Open science principles, communication, exploitation and outreach will enforce the transfer of science results to effective policy making.