Ljubljana, 25 November 2021 – The nine winners of the International Medis Awards for Medical Research 2021, who this year come from five countries, were today announced in the documentary The Power of Trust. For the eighth year in a row, the contest rewarded the outstanding research achievements of doctors and pharmacists from Central and Southeastern Europe.
The winners of the International Medis Awards for Medical Research 2021 are (by field):
- Gastroenterology: Christoph Grander, Austria
- Gynecology: Luka Roškar, Slovenia
- Intensive Care Medicine and Anesthesiology: Marija Vukoja, Serbia
- Neurology: Aleksandra Tomić Pešić, Serbia
- Ophthalmology: Fanka Gilevska, North Macedonia
- Pediatrics: Matej Šapina, Croatia
- Pharmacy: Marin Jukić, Serbia
- Pulmonology and Allergology: Gordana Drpa, Croatia
- Rheumatology: Gorica Ristić, Serbia
President of the International Scientific Committee Prof. Borut Štrukelj, MSc Pharm, PhD, said at the announcement of the winners:
The committee has found that the submitted contributions are outstanding scientific research works with great potential for use in basic or clinical medicine and pharmacy. We are very pleased to have received many applications from candidates who have published their findings in top scientific journals with a high impact factor, with some of the works also published in the highest ranked medical publications in the world. Trust in science is therefore not and should never be questioned.
Doctors and pharmacists who have published their scientific research contributions in reputable scientific publications with an impact factor higher than 1.500 were eligible to compete for the International Medis Awards for Medical Research 2021. This year, 230 researchers from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia applied for the competition. 180 applications met all the difficult criteria for the position of a nominee for the International Medis Awards. The International Scientific Committee evaluated the applications and selected 19 finalists, including nine winners.
Winners receive a unique statuette called Bodočnost (The Future), a work of art by an established sculptor Jakov Brdar. Finalists and winners also receive a financial prize.
The Power of Trust Documentary
This year, the awards ceremony took place as part of a documentary The Power of Trust, available at this link: https://www.medis-awards.com/ima-2021/. All 19 of this year’s finalists were brought into the spotlight and the broadcast showed how important their work is for building trust in science.
It the documentary, the Rector of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Gregor Majdič, PhD, spoke about the importance of trust in science:
Throughout the history of humankind, we have only been able to get through difficult times when we acted as a connected community. Therefore, I urge everyone to come together and start trusting in science again. We need to restore trust in science in our society. We need to start teaching children already in primary schools how to critically evaluate information and why it is important to trust in science. In universities, we need to build foundations for responsibility, trust in science and an understanding of scientific discoveries. Our task is to constantly raise the understanding of science among the general public and to inform society about science.
Contests such as the International Medis Awards for Medical Research also play an important role in building trust in science. The IMA was founded in 2014 by Tone Strnad, MSc Pharm, founder of the company Medis. In the documentary, Tone Strnad explained why he created the contest:
We see our responsibility to the wider society also in helping to improve the reputation of doctors and pharmacists and increase awareness of their research achievements. The aim of the contest is to recognize doctors and pharmacists who, in addition to clinical work, also research how to provide people with better healthcare. We believe that there is a huge number of healthcare professionals who invest a lot of their time in research besides doing their regular work. Therefore, we want to show the general public how these doctors and pharmacists fight for the advancement of science and thus help society towards better health.
Martina Perharič, PhD, Medis CEO, emphasized why it is important to support and promote research achievements of healthcare professionals from smaller countries:
The general public most often hears of breakthrough scientific achievements only from large countries. However, the 180 contributions evaluated by the International Scientific Committee this year prove that even researchers coming from smaller countries can become high-profile ambassadors of science and progress at home and abroad. Public recognition in the form of an award further supports awareness of the importance of their contribution to the advancement of medicine and pharmacy, and at the same time is further proof that we trust in science.
The power of trust in research, however, is most evident in the stories of people whom science has indispensably helped on the path to health and instilled hope for a better future. In the documentary, we therefore met people who today live better because of their trust in science. Every one of us knows someone with a similar experience, among them is also a renowned Slovenian composer Drago Ivanuša. He paid tribute to the researchers with an original composition Ode to the Winners, created especially for the occasion.
Before the broadcast, Drago Ivanuša said:
I myself – as a patient with disseminated plasmacytoma – have depended on science for years. Therapies, collaboration with my haematologist and other specialists help me live. I know the structure and functioning of the health care system quite well and I know that without research work we would not be so successful. Research drives development forward and gives patients new opportunities and a future. My message to the researchers is first a thank you and then an encouragement to follow the common goal to ensure the validity of research in society.