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September 15, 2015

On the Recognition of Global Excellence in Medical Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Office of the Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
JAMA. 2015;314(11):1125-1126. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.10696

Over the course of 7 decades, the Lasker Awards have emerged as the United States’ most prestigious prizes for breakthroughs in biomedical science and clinical research. This Viewpoint looks beyond the remarkable legacy of Albert and Mary Lasker to examine the broader context for the Lasker Awards and other global prizes for excellence in health research.

Communities through history have sought to channel their members’ competitive instincts by justly recognizing outstanding work in a range of endeavors. Given the increasing importance of medical advances to human health and well-being, it is unsurprising that large numbers of prizes across the globe now focus on rewarding contributions to medical research. Competitions for these prizes are usually constrained by discipline, institution, nationality, or stage of career. Only a very small number of prizes, such as the Lasker Awards, have achieved an international reach and renown.