University creates $250,000 prize to honor work in diabetes research
The university will award an international prize to an individual or group for biomedical research in diabetes beginning next year, OU President David Boren announced today at a news conference.
The Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes will be awarded once every two year and administered through the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at OU, Boren said. The prize will include a $250,000 award.
Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, joined Boren for the announcement, which came before the opening of the American Diabetes Association's 72nd Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.
“We are very pleased today to announce this prize,” Hamm said. “I think it’s a great thing that a lot of people are going to grab a hold of and we’ll have some wonderful ideas and good things come out of it”
Both Boren and Hamm have Type 2 diabetes and said they share an interest in diabetes research.
“We can no longer ignore the growing global epidemic that is having a devastating impact on young and old alike and costing health systems worldwide billions of dollars each year,” Boren said. “At the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, we are on a mission to find a cure for diabetes and provide those suffering from the disease with dramatically improved clinical care.”
The Harold Hamm International Prize will be awarded biennially to a laureate selected by a rotating jury of national and international leaders in the field of diabetes. It will be given on the basis of scientific merit, with a special emphasis on progress toward a cure.
To be eligible for the award, researchers cannot be employed by a for-profit pharmaceutical or biotechnology company. Scientific breakthroughs with direct clinical applications are given preference, but all major accomplishments in Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes research are considered.
“The prize is going to be awarded purely based on scientific merit,” said Dr. Timothy Lyons, director of research and scientific programs. “It’s going to be given to an individual or perhaps a group of individuals who have made a significant and established breakthrough. We want to give this prize to someone [who has done something] which we know will be of lasting value.”
Researchers from across the world will be eligible for the prize, Boren said.
“We are seeing a rapid increase in Type 2 diabetes around the world,” Boren said. “This prize is not a prize of which only Americans can compete, this is a prize that will be an international prize."
Besides raising awareness for diabetes, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center also aims to increase collaboration with other centers across the world, Boren said.
The creation of this new prize marks a special occasion in the fight against diabetes, said Dr. Kenneth Copeland, director of Oklahoma City pediatric programs.
“And we applaud, indeed we thank you, Howard [Hamm], for you visionary leadership in this quest," Copeland said.