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First Recipient of New Diabetes Prize Selected

Stephen O’Rahilly of the University of Cambridge has been chosen to receive the EASD-Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence, accompanied by DKK 6 million.

The Prize is awarded to recognize outstanding research or technology contributions to the understanding of diabetes, its disease mechanisms or its complications. This is the first year that the Prize is being awarded.

Stephen O’Rahilly’s research has focused on discovering the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes and obesity at the molecular level and turning these discoveries into improved diagnosis and treatment of people. His research has revealed numerous previously undiscovered genetic causes of the two diseases, including several that can be treated.

The Prize is awarded in collaboration between the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

– Both the EASD and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have long been strong supporters of excellent science in the field of diabetes.  It is therefore a great honour to be the inaugural recipient of the generous new international prize. I have been very fortunate in the wonderful colleagues I have worked with since embarking on a career in clinical science 30 years ago  This prize recognises their efforts as much as my own, says Stephen O’Rahilly.

A special prize award committee established by the EASD decides the winner of the Prize, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation donates the money accompanying the Prize.

– On behalf of the entire membership of the Association, I congratulate Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly on his achievement in obtaining this unique and prestigious prize, commented Professor Andrew J.M. Boulton, President of the EASD.

Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, says:

– In awarding this major new prize for diabetes research, the Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to recognize the absolutely best researchers within the field. Stephen O’Rahilly’s research has made an outstanding contribution that has led to new knowledge about diabetes for the benefit of people with the disease.

Diabetes is one of the most pressing global health problems. More than 370 million people have diabetes, and this number is expected to increase to 550 million in 2030.

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. This makes it the world’s biggest diabetes-related prize. The Prize will be officially awarded at a ceremony at the 51st EASD Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on 16 September.


Stephen O’Rahilly graduated in medicine from University College Dublin in 1981. From 1982 to 1991, he undertook postgraduate clinical and research training in general medicine, diabetes and endocrinology in London, the University of Oxford and Harvard University.

In 1991, he obtained a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship and established his laboratory at the University of Cambridge. In 1996, he was appointed to a newly created Chair of Metabolic Medicine and in 2002 to the Chair of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Cambridge. He is the Co-Director of the Wellcome Trust–MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and Director of the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit.