Quick Links



The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize




Visit the Clarke Prize Conference Website at www.clarkeprize.com



Athalie Richardson"Nothing is more important than the careful stewardship and development of our water resources," said Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, co-founder of NWRI.

Mrs. Clarke recognized the vital importance of water and strongly promoted better water science and technology.

In honor of Mrs. Clarke's vision, NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to honor outstanding individuals who have implemented better water science research and technology.

The Clarke Prize - a medallion and $50,000 award - is presented annually in the summer. As part of the award ceremony, the Clarke Prize recipient delivers the annual Clarke Lecture.

The Clarke Prize is:


To learn more about Mrs. Clarke, watch the video on the “Twentieth Anniversary Celebration: Tribute to Mrs. Athalie R. Clarke” presented by James Irvine Swinden, grandson of Mrs. Clarke, at the 2013 Clarke Prize Award Ceremony and Lecture.




2016 Clarke Prize Recipient: Dr. Mark Sobsey


Mark D. Sobsey, Ph.D., was the twenty-third recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Sobsey is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

A microbiologist and environmental health scientist by training, Sobsey has worked nationally and globally for 45 years to improve water quality and protect public health. He has led groundbreaking efforts to understand, detect, and control waterborne viruses (such as norovirus and Hepatitis A and E viruses), bacteria, and parasites, and his work has directly influenced the development of guidance and policies by prominent public health safety organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and World Health Organization (WHO).
Among his most notable achievements, Sobsey’s work on methods to concentrate and examine viruses (including fecal indicator viruses) in groundwater has become the standard for the water industry. For example, he developed an innovative filtration technique – known as the MDS filter – that was more practical and effective than conventional filters and, ultimately, helped develop a better understanding of the occurrence, concentration, and public health significance of viruses in the environment. His work in this area informed the analytical method used for viruses in the EPA’s Ground Water Rule, which standardized practices in the U.S. to detect and control the presence of microbial pathogens (particularly viruses) in well water.


2016 Clarke Prize Ceremony on November 3

“The award of the Clarke Prize to Mark Sobsey,” said Dr. George Tchobanoglous, Professor Emeritus of the University of California Davis and Chair of the Clarke Prize Selection Committee, “is in recognition of an illustrious career hallmarked by fundamental inquiry, the development of analytical methods and techniques, and the application of research findings and scientific principles to the solution of practical environmental problems.”
The Clarke Prize will be presented to Sobsey on Thursday, November 3, 2016, at the Twenty-Third Annual NWRI Clarke Prize Lecture and Award Ceremony, to be held in Newport Beach, California. He will receive the award from James Irvine Swinden and Morton Irvine Smith, grandsons of NWRI’s co-founder, the late Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke. The award ceremony will precede the annual NWRI Clarke Prize Conference on Urban Water Sustainability, featuring a mix of leading-edge research by academics complimented with practical case studies by industry practitioners.
To learn more about the ceremony and the conference, go to http://www.clarkeprize.com/.