The 2021 Sergey Soloviev Medal is awarded to Fausto Guzzetti for his fundamental contributions to the field of natural hazards and his remarkable efforts to link the scientific community and civil protection authorities to mitigate risk for exposed populations.
Since the very beginning and combining his education in geology and PhD in geography, Fausto Guzzetti has contributed with outstanding achievements to the fields of landslide hazard and risk assessment in strong collaboration with civil protection. He coordinated the Aree Vulnerate Italiane project, creating the largest catalogue of information on historical landslides and floods in Italy, which became the example to follow in many other countries or projects. He has continued assembling high-quality databases to improve the study of landslides and floods, and these have allowed him to characterize the statistical distribution of landslides and to build the first generation of hazard-forecasting models for different time windows.
Guzzetti is undoubtedly one of the most influential researchers in natural hazards in the world today, and he has been widely recognized for his groundbreaking research on landslide hazards, mapping, and forecasting. His general interest in the predictability of landslides and floods brought him to contribute significantly to understanding rainfall landslide triggering and to build early warning systems for risk-reduction purposes. He also explored the domain of risk assessment, investigating the impacts of landslides and floods in terms of losses. He was positioned on the list of the best scientists (0.27th percentile) in all scientific disciplines for 2018.
Guzzetti has shown outstanding leadership by leading national and international projects, shaping a new generation of brilliant young scientists, and helping to develop the standing of IRPI-CNR as a reference institution for the study of landslides and floods. He has played an important role as a facilitator and coordinator of the scientific community, including as an active participant of the European Geophysical Society’s Natural Hazards Working Group and, afterwards, of the Natural Hazards Division of the European Geosciences Union. At EGU he has been responsible for the landslides section and served as the division president, a longstanding member of the Plinius Committee, and an editor-in-chief of the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Science. These activities culminated in Guzzetti’s receipt of the EGU Union Service Award in 2008.