EMCDDA celebrates scientific writing with new award

2011 EMCDDA scientific paper award — 14 November, Lisbon

Five scientific papers judged to enhance understanding of the European drugs problem will be acclaimed on Monday evening in Lisbon in a new award ceremony hosted by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and its Scientific Committee (1).

The prize, to be awarded annually in Lisbon, celebrates scientific writing in this area of key concern to EU citizens. The inaugural event, on 14 November, will be held in the margins of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee meeting. It takes place on the eve of the launch of the Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe.

Over 50 eligible entries, from 13 countries (12 EU + Norway), were received in this first year from a variety of disciplines, nationalities and languages. The entries were analysed by a jury consisting of members of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee and scientific staff on the criteria of: scientific significance; EU policy relevance; originality and creativity; and clarity and quality of writing. The articles were published in 2010 in peer-reviewed scientific journals, with the primary author based in an EU Member State or Norway.

The five winners (three male, two female) will receive a non-monetary prize for the following papers:

  • ‘Successful treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection in severely opioid-dependent patients under heroin maintenance’, primary author, Bernd Schulte, BPH, cand. PhD (Germany);
  • ‘Estimating the prevalence of drug injection using a multiplier method based on a register of new HIV diagnoses’, primary author, Gregorio Barrio Anta, MD, PhD (Spain);
  • ‘Tweaking, bombing, dabbing and stockpiling: the emergence of mephedrone and the perversity of prohibition’, primary author, Fiona Measham, PhD (United Kingdom);
  • ‘Evidence for the effectiveness of sterile injecting equipment provision in preventing hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus transmission among injecting drug users: a review of reviews’, primary author, Norah Palmateer, MSc, BScH (United Kingdom); and
  • ‘Mortality among drug users after discharge from inpatient treatment: an 8-year prospective study’, primary author, Professor Dr. philos, Edle Ravndal (Norway).

The importance of scientific publishing has been underlined regularly by the Scientific Committee and the  upcoming prize reflects this. Abstracts of the winning papers will be available online in English, along with translations in German, French and Portuguese in an effort to share findings in non-English speaking countries.

Commenting on the initiative, EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz said: ‘Our Scientific Committee provides a strong voice for scientific standards and I welcome its initiative for lauding papers of merit in our field of drugs and drug addiction. Ensuring that the findings of European research are made available to the policy and practice community is an important issue. I hope this award will become a useful channel for disseminating these results’.