Robert Rabson Award

The Robert Rabson Award, first given by the Society in 2012, recognizes Bob Rabson’s steadfast advocacy of plant biology through creation of funding programs in the Department of Energy for research in basic energy sciences. The award recognizes postdoctoral scholars and faculty-level early career scientists, whether or not members of the Society, in academic, government and corporate research institutions who have made excellent contributions in the area of bioenergy research. The award is made biennially to a researcher who is no more than ten years post-PhD on January 1st of the year of presentation, with consideration of breaks in career relative to this time-frame. The award recipient is given a monetary award and a one-year membership in the Society.

2022 Winner: Berkley Walker

Berkley Walker is recognized for his foundational work addressing carbon fixation, with a special focus on metabolic fluxes that are important for modelling and ultimately improving the photosynthetic performance of crops under natural environments. At the metabolic scale, Berkley has made key contributions to understanding how carbon assimilation and other aspects of metabolism interact to achieve high rates of carbon fixation and productivity under changing climates and environments. He showed that 30-40% of crop energy use goes to managing photorespiratory fluxes under current climate conditions, and even under future climates, photorespiration will be a major source of energy and carbon loss. His body of work provides important insights for the optimization of crop yields during climate change.


Matthew Hudson, Chair (2021-2026)
John Shanklin (2019-2024)
Christoff Benning (2023-2028)
Brent Brower-Toland (2023-2028)
Russ Johnson (2023-2028)
Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison