Lars H. Backer Prize


The Lars H. Backer Prize in memoriam of Mr. Lars H. Backer will be awarded for major contributions to the development of a geospatial foundation for official statistics or for significantly improving the relevance of geospatial statistics for evidence-based decision making.
Relevant activities include eminent work for the development of geospatial statistics, improving the access to geospatial information for statisticians, preparing relevant ground-breaking legislation, conducting high quality research on territorial development using geospatial statistics, development of innovative tools and software, or major achievements in training and education on creating and using geospatial statistics.

Candidacy Criteria
Both individuals and organisations are eligible.

Process of Nomination and Selection
A nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by National Statistical Institutes, National Mapping Authorities or their employees. The Steering Committee of the European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the selection of the Lars H. Backer Prize Laureate.

The Prize has a great importance for the winner and the whole EFGS community gathering to celebrate and congratulate the winner. However, due to the current pandemic situation and no possibility to organize a face to face meeting, EFGS Steering Committee has decided to postpone the nominations for the Prize until the next EFGS conference.

In order to remain open to the various ways in which the qualities of a candidate may be conveyed, the Nomination Committee has introduced  no special nomination submission form. The nomination need not be lengthy, but should include:

  • the name of the candidate,
  • an explanation of why the individual or organisation is considered by the nominator to be a worthy candidate for the Lars H. Backer Prize in light of the above criteria,
  • and the name, title and academic or professional affiliation of the nominator.

Submission Methods
More information soon.

Lars H. Backer was one of the founders and the long-standing executive director of the European Forum for Geography and Statistics. An urban planner and architect by education and passion, he worked for Statistics Sweden as a Senior Expert on geospatial information from 1995 until his retirement in 2009. When Sweden joined the EU he became the Swedish representative in the GISCO working group.
During his professional career and as executive director of the EFGS he was for many years the leading figure within the European Statistical System for the integration of statistical and geospatial information. His main area of interest was designing and building an integrated geographical-statistical information system for the sustainable development of cities and regions.

In addition to his professional achievements, he will always be remembered as a friend who shared not only his knowledge, but most importantly, his “vision” on a future built upon the humanistic values of tolerance, cooperation and friendship.

The Lars H. Backer prize was awarded for the first time to Marja Tammilehto-Luode from Statistics Finland during the EFGS 2016 conference in Paris.


Prizes awarded in previous years:

2016 Marja TAMMILEHTO-LUODE Statistics Finland

2017 – Ekkehard PETRI Eurostat, Pier-Giorgio ZACCHEDDU Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) Germany

2018 – Jerker MOSTRÖM Statistics Sweden & Statistics Sweden (as the organization)

2019 – Vilni Verner Holst BLOCH Statistics Norway