The Great Medals
Albert I

And the Institute's Thesis Prize

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Prince Albert Ier encouraged people to “know, love and protect the oceans”. True to its founder’s message, the Oceanographic Institute takes action in many ways. One of them is to honor eminent personalities in the field of ocean protection.

The Albert Ier Great Medal was created in 1948 by Nicolas Bendall Manley, on the centenary of the Prince’s birth, by this science enthusiast and patron of various learned institutions, particularly in oceanography. Awarded annually by the Oceanographic Institute, this work by Edmond Becker symbolizes the legacy of this visionary Prince and reinforces the Oceanographic Institute’s role as a mediator in the service of the oceans.


More than an annual event, the Grand Medal Ceremony
Albert I is a tradition. Since 1948, the Institute of Oceanography has been rewarding personalities from the world of the sea for their scientific discoveries and their
commitment. The winners, both French and foreign, are now distinguished in two categories. The Science section highlights a highly qualified researcher in the field of oceanography for a lifetime of achievement, specific work or an outstanding discovery. Created in 2014, the Mediation section values the actions carried out by women and men in public life. 75 laureates have already received the Albert I Great Medal, including Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1981), Gilles Boeuf (2012), Sandra Bessudo (2014), Leonardo DiCaprio (2015), Erik Orsenna (2016) and Dame Ellen MacArthur (2018).

Remise Médailles Albert 1er
2018 prizewinners

science category

The Science section recognizes a highly qualified researcher in the field of oceanography for lifetime achievement, specific work or an outstanding discovery.

mediation category

The Mediation section, which has been in existence since 2014, highlights the personal commitment of men and women from civil society who work, with the general public as well as political or economic decision-makers, to make the oceans known, loved and protected.

The prizegiving ceremony, the highlight of the event

More than an annual event, this is a tradition that has been in existence for over 65 years.
Since 1948, the legitimacy of the Institute of Oceanography to reward and highlight a personality from the world of the sea is widely recognized. The quality of the laureates and the desire of the Oceanographic Institute to distinguish those who deserve it, contribute to making this ceremony a highlight of the marine world.
Among the public figures to have received awards in recent years are Leonardo DiCaprio (2015), Erik Orsenna (2016) and Dame Ellen MacArthur (2018), all three of whom were awarded the Grande Médaille Albert Ier section Médiation.

The Oceanographic Institute thesis prize

With the support of Biotherm, and in partnership with the French Academy of Sciences, the Oceanographic Institute Thesis Prize, worth 5,000 euros, is awarded each year to a young researcher for his or her thesis work in a French doctoral school, in a discipline related to the sea or ocean, as well as for publications issued in connection with this work.

Applications must be submitted within three years of the thesis defense. The 2025 bid must be sent in digital form to

Application deadline: July 19, 2024.

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