Origin: local organising committee
In July 1994 the 23rd International Congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion was organized in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was a great success. A new concept of the scientific programme and a special social programme were designed which gave the delegates from many countries around the globe the opportunity to exchange updated knowledge on the transfusion science and practical implications of blood transfusion medicine. The organization of this event was in the hands of an local organising committee composed of representatives of the Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (CLB) and the Dutch Society of Blood Transfusion. Below you will find a link to the website of the ISBT.
Also financially the Congress was successful: it ended with a fine positive financial result. This surplus was partly shared with ISBT.
Designation of the financial surplus
The remaining part of this surplus was designated to the establishment of a special Award on blood transfusion science. This Award should be granted to a person for exceptional performances in the fields of scientific research and/or services in Transfusion Medicine.
With the Executive Committee and the Council of ISBT it was agreed that the Award should have the name ‘ISBT Presidential Award‘ and should be presented at a special symposium at the biennial International Congress of the lnternational Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). The Award consists of a special silver medal (designed by the artist Tonny Drijvers, a sculptor with the specialty in the design of tokens), a calligraphic charter, a cash prize of 5,000 euro’s and a scientific symposium at the occasion of the International Congress of the ISBT.
The Foundation transformed
In 1995, the original statutes of the Foundation responsible for the organization of the Amsterdam Congress were adapted in this way. For the selection of the Awardee, Regulations for the Foundation Transfusion Medicine Award were composed. For the nomination of each Award, the Board of the Foundation Transfusion Medicine institutes a Nomination Committee that further determines the method of granting this Award.
The first Board
The Board of the Foundation, the original organizers of the Congress, was composed by Pim van Aken, chairman, Cees Smit Sibinga, deputy-chairman, Paul Strengers, secretary-general, Rudolf de Soet, treasurer and Henk Reesink, member. The intention was to make this Award – the ISBT Presidential Award – one of the most prestigious Awards in Blood Transfusion Medicine.
The first Award: the International Congress in Vienna
In 2000, when the 100th anniversary of the discovery of blood groups by Dr. Karl Landsteiner was celebrated, the ISBT Presidential Award was first presented in Vienna. This International Congress of ISBT in Vienna ended with a positive result as well and Wolfgang Mayr, the President of the Congress, decided to donate a part of the surplus to the Foundation. As a matter of courtesy, the members of the Board offered Wolfgang Mayr a seat in the Board of the Foundation.
Pim van Aken diseased
In Februari 2018 our long time president Pim van Aken died at the age of 82. Just before this sad event, the board had decided unanimously to appoint Board member Paul Strengers as his successor.