The King awards Karolinska Institutet's Gold Medal

Motiv: The King and Queen are met at the entrance to Stockholm City Hall by Karolinska Institutet's President Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson. Photo: Karin Törnblom, IBL.

On Friday 27 August, The King awarded the Karolinska Institutet's Gold Medal in the presence of The Queen and The Crown Princess Couple at the celebrations to mark Karolinska Institutet's 200th anniversary at Stockholm City Hall.

The Karolinska Institutet Gold Medal was awarded to Ingvar Carlsson, Bengt Samuelsson, Marcus Storch and Hans Wigzell.

The Medal Committee's reasons for awarding the Gold Medal to former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson included the fact that he "has been a great support for Karolinska Institutet in his involvement in LifeGene, a research project comprising half a million Swedes designed to examine how heredity, environment and lifestyle are linked to the major diseases. He led the steering committee with enthusiasm during the important start-up phase, and helped to anchor the plans for LifeGene with the medical faculties of other universities in Sweden."

Professor Bengt Samuelsson has received his Gold Medal for "decades as a mainstay of Swedish research and innovation. In 1982, Professor Samuelsson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His research has contributed to our basic understanding of central disease mechanisms, above all those concerning pain, fever and inflammatory diseases, and has led to the development of a number of important medicines for rheumatism, thrombosis and asthma. In 1983, Professor Samuelsson was appointed President of Karolinska Institutet, a position he retained until 1995, during which time he oversaw major restructuring programmes and extensive work on modernising infrastructure and internationalising operations. From 1993 to 2005 he was chair of the Nobel Foundation."

"For many years director Marcus Storch has been a significant figure in Swedish medical research. Through the Tobias Foundation, which he and his family founded and now run, he has provided substantial research funds and financed important development projects in the healthcare sector. One such project is the Tobias Registry, a national bone marrow registry based at Karolinska University Hospital that enables doctors to find suitable bone marrow for transplantation. Another is the endowment professorship in stem cell research that was established at Karolinska Institutet in 2001. Marcus Storch has held many leading positions in Swedish business, and has been chair of the Nobel Foundation since 2005. He is also an honorary doctor of medical sciences at Karolinska Institutet."

The Medal Committee writes that "Professor Hans Wigzell is an inspirational leader who possesses immense scientific ingenuity and visionary enterprising spirit, and who has helped to develop Karolinska Institutet on many different levels. As a researcher he has made important discoveries in the field of immunology. In 1986 he became director of the National Bacteriological Laboratory and led its transformation into today's Institute for Infectious Disease Control. From 1995 to 2003, Professor Wigzell was President of Karolinska Institutet, at which time he instigated a number of important changes to the university, such as distributing faculty funds according to scientific quality and activity. An issue close to his heart has always been improving opportunities for the commercialisation of scientific discoveries, which has led, amongst other things, to the founding of Karolinska Development, today an internationally renowned innovation system in the biomedical field."