Economics Professor’s Paper Wins National Academy of Sciences Prize

A paper by Assistant Professor of Economics Katharine R. E. Sims and two coauthors has been selected as one of six publications from 2011 to receive the Cozzarelli Prize, an award that recognizes outstanding contributions to the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) chose the paper from more than 3,500 research articles that appeared in the journal last year. It represents one of the six broadly defined classes under which the National Academy of Sciences is organized.

Sims’ “Conditions associated with protected area success in conservation and poverty reduction”—which she coauthored with colleagues at Georgia State University and was published in the Jan. 4, 2011, issue of PNAS—won in the Applied Biological, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences category. The paper describes research the group conducted on the economic impact of protected areas in Costa Rica and Thailand and illustrates how improved understanding of spatial differences in responses to protection could be used to identify locations that promote both environmental and poverty-alleviation goals. “Our paper was part of a great special feature exploring the links between biodiversity conservation and poverty traps,” said Sims. “The world’s most biodiverse areas are also some of the poorest, so it is critical to try to understand how these coupled human-natural systems work.”

The Cozzarellli Prize acknowledges papers that reflect scientific excellence and originality. The award was established in 2005 and named in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. The 2011 awards will be presented at the PNAS Editorial Board meeting, and Sims and her colleagues will be recognized at an awards ceremony during the NAS Annual Meeting on April 29 in Washington, D.C.

PNAS is one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific journals. It covers the biological, physical and social sciences and mathematics and publishes cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers and actions of the Academy. It appears weekly in print and daily online as PNAS Early Edition. Newly published papers are listed at For more information about PNAS or the NAS, visit or