Professor Roman Hovorka receives the EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence 2023. The Prize is awarded annually to an internationally recognised researcher who has contributed significantly to diabetes research. The Prize is accompanied by DKK 6 million.
Professor Roman Hovorka’s ground-breaking research over the past two decades has revolutionised the management of type 1 diabetes. His pioneering work in developing a viable “artificial pancreas” has extended across diverse demographics, including children, teenagers, adults, older adults and pregnant women. Through controlled laboratory studies, Dr Hovorka has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of closed-loop technologies to manage glucose levels, leading to innovative translational clinical trials conducted under free-living conditions. These studies have showcased remarkable improvements in glucose outcomes and psychosocial well-being for individuals with type 1 diabetes and their families.
One of Dr Hovorka’s most significant contributions is the development of a revolutionary glucose control algorithm embedded in a smartphone app, driving closed-loop systems consisting of a continuous glucose monitor, control algorithm and insulin pump. His expertise in mathematics, informatics, physiology, insulin pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, statistics, clinical research and medical device regulation has enabled the successful commercialisation of this interoperable app, which is already transforming lives in 16 countries. Notably, it was the first closed-loop system approved for use in very young children and remains the only one approved for pregnancies complicated by type 1 diabetes.
“It has been a privilege to see how decades of our collaborative research and clinical endeavour are now improving the everyday lives of tens of thousands of people. Until such a time as there is a cure for type 1 diabetes, I have no doubt that this is the best way forward. My enduring motivation has come from seeing a problem, finding a way to solve it, and hearing from people how it has changed their lives,” said Dr Hovorka, Professor at the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science-Metabolic Research Laboratories at the University of Cambridge.
Chantal Mathieu, President of EASD and Chair of the committee that awards the Prize, said:
“Dr Roman Hovorka’s research spearheaded the development, regulatory acceptance and clinical practice adoption of closed-loop delivery (the artificial pancreas) worldwide. His research has underpinned medical, societal and regulatory acceptance of closed-loop systems to manage type 1 diabetes. Without question, Dr Roman Hovorka will be recognised as an outstanding individual joining the list of previous luminary recipients of the EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence.”
Expressing his gratitude for the prestigious award, Dr Hovorka acknowledged the unwavering support of his dedicated colleagues, collaborators and research group:
“It is difficult to put into words the honour of receiving such a unique and prestigious award. I see this as also being given to my team, and I believe it recognises the entire diabetes technology field. It acknowledges the work we have done, what I have personally accomplished and the contributions the field has made for people with type 1 diabetes. I could also not have done this without the enduring support of my loved ones throughout this long journey.”
Roman Hovorka’s influential research findings have been presented at prominent international and national diabetes conferences, including the EASD, ADA, ATTD and Diabetes UK. Leading consortia across the UK, Europe and the US, funded by esteemed organisations such as JDRF, NIDDK, the European Commission Framework and Horizon 2020 Programmes, Helmsley Trust, EME NIHR and Diabetes UK, have supported his ground-breaking work in the field of diabetes technology and the artificial pancreas.
Dr Hovorka’s research has been widely published in renowned medical journals and extensively cited, cementing his reputation as a globally recognised authority on the artificial pancreas. His exceptional contribution has been acknowledged with numerous prestigious awards, further emphasising the impact of his work.
In addition to his contributions to type 1 diabetes research, Roman Hovorka has conducted seminal, world-leading studies on closed-loop systems in type 2 diabetes, both in inpatient and outpatient settings. His groundbreaking work extends the use of closed-loop systems to frail adults on dialysis, representing a potential vital application of this technology in vulnerable populations.
About the Prize
The EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence is awarded to an internationally recognised researcher who has contributed significantly to diabetes research.
The Prize is accompanied by DKK 6 million – of which DKK 1 million is a personal award and the remaining DKK 5 million is for research purposes. The Prize is awarded in collaboration between the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation. A special prize committee appointed by the EASD decides the recipient, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation donates the money accompanying the Prize.
The Prize recipient’s research may focus on prevention, treatment and/or basic research in physiological biochemistry. The research may also be clinically oriented. In addition, the Prize may be awarded for the “discovery of the decade” within diabetes research.
The European Association for the Study of Diabetes e.V. (EASD) is a membership-based academic non-profit organisation. The aims of the Association are to encourage and support research in the field of diabetes, the rapid diffusion of acquired knowledge and to facilitate its application.
The EASD Annual Meeting is one of the largest diabetes-related conferences in the world. EASD is also an active player in postgraduate education, having trained over 40,000 healthcare professionals through training courses and online education activities.
In 2000, the EASD increased its commitment to stimulate diabetes research in Europe by creating the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD). Since its inception, the EFSD has committed over €120 million to diabetes research in Europe by various funding means.
EASD is the publisher of Diabetologia, a major monthly international diabetes journal with an impact factor of 10.46 (2021). For more information, please visit: www.easd.org.
Professor Roman Hovorka PhD FMedSci (he/him), the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science-Metabolic Research Laboratories, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Can be contacted through: Josephine Hayes [email protected].
EASD Press Team: [email protected]
Novo Nordisk Foundation: Christian Mostrup, Senior Lead, Public Relations, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]