The Great Medals
Albert I

And the Institute's Thesis Prize

Prince Albert I encouraged people to “know, love and protect the oceans”. True to the message of its founder, the Oceanographic Institute acts in many ways. One of them consists in honouring personalities who are edifying in the field of ocean protection.


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 Grandes Médailles Albert 1er
Remise Médailles Albert 1er
2018 prizewinners

Albert I Great Medal, science section

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

Remise Médailles Albert 1er

GRAND MEDAL ALBERT I, mediation section

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 been awarded in recent years are Leonardo DiCaprio (2015), Erik Orsenna (2016) and Dame Ellen MacArthur (2018), all three of whom received the Albert I Great Medal in the Mediation section.

The story of this prize

The Albert I Great Medal was created in 1948 by Nicolas Bendall Manley, on the occasion of 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.

Albert Ier sur passerelle - Institut Océanographique de Monaco

The Oceanographic Institute thesis prize

The Institute of Oceanography’s thesis prize of 3,000 euros is awarded each year to a young researcher for his or her thesis work carried out in a French doctoral school, in a discipline related to the sea or the ocean, as well as for the publications issued in connection with this work.

Applications must be submitted within three years of the thesis defense. The application for 2022 should be sent in digital form to Mr. Olivier Dufourneaud – Director of Ocean Policy of the Oceanographic Institute:

Due to the duration of the lockdown, the Oceanographic Institute has decided to extend the deadline for applications
to Sunday, 20 June 2021.

The winner will be announced in late 2021, and the award will be presented at a ceremony in March 2022.

Watch a video of our 2018 and 2019 award winners…

See also