The Einstein Foundation Berlin is to honor Canadian physician Gordon Guyatt and the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA) with this year’s Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research. Gordon Guyatt is a pioneer in evidence-based medicine and one of the world’s most influential medical researchers, having developed best practices for all areas of clinical research that are now applied worldwide, including standards to assess patient health, design and conduct clinical trials, perform systematic reviews, and carry out clinical practice. He is the recipient of this year’s international Individual Award, while the 2022 Institutional Award honors the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA), a network of 1,400 researchers in 71 countries working to improve the quality of psychological research. The PSA promotes internationally networked research in large teams (known as big team science) in order to make results reproducible and relevant across all cultures. The winner of the award's Early Career category is the Ape Research Index envisioned by Elisa Bandini (University of Tübingen) and Sofia Forss (University of Zurich). The Ape Research Index will document, for the first time, experience-dependent cognitive flexibility among chimpanzees in research, with the potential to impact how we understand our nearest living relatives, and also ourselves.
The €500,000 Einstein Award for Promoting Quality in Research honors researchers and institutions whose work helps to fundamentally advance the quality and robustness of research findings. "The award is the first to honor efforts to improve research quality," said Martin Rennert, Chair of the Einstein Foundation’s Executive Board. “The award’s aim is to provide global visibility and recognition for those engaging with this challenge. For the Einstein Foundation, the prize is an opportunity to help raise standards, increase the efficiency of research quality evaluations, and strengthen trust in science and research in general.”
The award is presented in three categories to individual researchers, institutions, and early career researchers. Awardees are selected by a prestigious international jury of renowned researchers representing the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. "Gordon Guyatt’s achievements perfectly reflect the award’s objective,” said jury member Alastair Buchan, Einstein Visiting Fellow and Professor of Stroke Medicine at Oxford University. “His pioneering work in evidence-based medicine has had a tremendous impact on the quality of clinical research, health care, and health care policy." This year’s institutional awardee, the Psychological Science Accelerator, has developed a unique transformative approach to raise scientific standards by ensuring that research is truly diverse and democratic," commented jury member Dorothy Bishop, Emeritus Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at Oxford University.
Alongside Dorothy Bishop, Alastair Buchan, and jury president Dieter Imboden, former President of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, this year's award jury includes Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Julie Maxton, Executive Director of the Royal Society, Alvin Roth, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, the science historian Lorraine Daston, the philosopher Moshe Halbertal, the computer scientist Michel Cosnard, economists Lena Lavinas and Edward Miguel, the psycholinguist Suzy Styles, the social scientist Soazic Elise Wang Sonne, the entomologist Raghavendra Gadagkar, and Jürgen Zöllner, former Senator for Higher Education and Research of the State of Berlin, now representing the Damp Stiftung.
The award is generously funded by the Damp Stiftung. Additional resources are made available by the State of Berlin. The award office is headed by Ulrich Dirnagl, Founding Director of the QUEST Center at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). The QUEST (Quality, Ethics, Open Science, Translation) Center, the Max Planck Foundation, and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) are supporting the Einstein Foundation in establishing the award. The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Klaus Groth Stiftung are award ceremony partners.
About the award winners:
Individual Award | Gordon Guyatt, McMaster University
Gordon Guyatt is Professor of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and one of the world’s most-cited medical researchers. Since the 1980s, Guyatt has been working to ensure that medical practitioners base their treatments on high-quality studies and that medical students are trained to critically assess such studies. In 1991, Guyatt introduced the concept of evidence-based medicine to overcome established notions of medicine based on intuition, tradition, and authority. Instead, he wants treatments to rely on evidence and quality standards, such as randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews. With his commitment to promoting evidence-based medicine, Guyatt has initiated a cultural shift in medical practice that also benefits patients. The winner of the Individual Award receives € 200,000.
Institutional Award | Psychological Science Accelerator
Founded in 2017, the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA) has been making key contributions to the democratization and diversification of psychological research. Adopting a collaboration-based approach (referred to as big team science), the network brings together scientists from more than 70 countries — from PhD students to senior researchers — to conduct large-scale projects. It thus provides a framework for researchers to carry out studies and trials with thousands of participants (in some cases from more than 80 countries) that deliver reliable results and are relevant across cultures. Its democratic approach also determines the choice of research topics, which are suggested by PSA members and collectively voted on. The concept behind PSA has already given rise to several big team science initiatives within psychology, each pursuing their own focus, for instance in behavioral research. The winner of the Institutional Award receives € 200,000.
Early Career Award | Shortlist
The jury had nominated four project proposals for the €100,000 Early Career Award:
1. The Ape Research Index envisioned by Elisa Bandini (University of Tübingen) and Sofia Forss (University of Zurich) aims to highlight an aspect that has previously been neglected in behavioral experiments involving primates that regularly participate in studies, namely the training effect on their cognitive abilities.
2. The Open Science Observatory plans to promote transparent methods in health research and establish continuous monitoring of transparency standards using crowdsourcing and algorithms. The team consists of Tom Hardwicke and Fallon Mody (both from the University of Melbourne), as well as Robert Thibault and Stylianos Serghiou (both from Stanford University).
3. The Translated Instruments Validation Initiative presented by Jessica Flake (McGill University) and Nicholas Coles (Stanford University) aims to increase the reliability of psychological studies around the world by verifying translations into various languages with the help of a global network of researchers.
4. The TrialsTracker enables automated evaluations of clinical trials. Nicholas DeVito (University of Oxford) wants to see additional checks integrated into trials, including compliance with specific regulations and early warnings when reporting is required to provide researchers with an effective tool to increase the transparency of their work.
The Einstein Foundation Berlin is an independent, non-profit, science-led organization established as a foundation under civil law in 2009. It promotes international cutting-edge science and research across disciplines and institutions in and for Berlin. In the last thirteen years, it has funded over 200 researchers — including three Nobel laureates — more than 70 projects, and seven Einstein Centers.
The Damp Stiftung was established by Dr. Walter Wübben, the former majority owner of the Klinikgruppe Damp, to fund medical research and teaching as well as social projects. Besides supporting the Einstein Foundation Award for Promo-ting Quality in Research, the Damp Stiftung also provides funding for the Foundation’s Einstein Strategic Professorships.