ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

The prestigious ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2006 to recognise international research by individuals, teams and organisations that demonstrate commitment to clinical cancer research and/or education.

ESMO 2014 Congress Madrid - Peter Boyle, Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health at iPRI, International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France

Peter Boyle became the first non-medical oncologist elected to full membership of ESMO in 2006. He is currently Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde and holds Honorary or Visiting Professorships at Glasgow and Yale Universities. Boyle is founder and President of the World Prevention Alliance and inaugural Director of the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health at iPRI, located in Lyon, France and Glasgow, Scotland.

Peter Boyle is internationally known for his research in epidemiology and disease prevention. He led the EUROCAN+PLUS project for the European Parliament which developed priorities for coordination of cancer research in Europe and was Editor of the World Cancer Report 2008 and the State of Oncology 2013 which highlighted the growing global cancer crisis. Previous appointments include Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO), President of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon and epidemiology posts in Milan and Boston.

Peter Boyle

First, I was surprised. Then, I was delighted. Now I am honoured, both for myself and for my discipline of epidemiology and prevention. To be recognised for my contributions to oncology motivates me to redouble my efforts.
I have had the privilege to work with and be inspired by some outstanding persons. Umberto Veronesi has been an inspirational figure and friend and colleague for many years. Marvin Zelen, Brian MacMahon, John Cairns, Louis Denis and Calum Muir have all contributed greatly both to my career and to cancer control. Lastly, I owe a great deal to David Silvey, Charles Gillis and Harry Burns who have always been there when I needed them.
Having spent my entire career in the international environment, I have been exposed to the challenges facing oncology worldwide. Unfortunately, while great progress has been achieved in high resource countries, lower resource regions of the world are dramatically forgotten; they need urgent, collective action. Simply, if I could use this award for just one thing, it would be to draw attention to this disparity and address it with conclusive action. Fortunately, this award demonstrates the breadth of disciplines engaged in the global cancer control movement; hopefully all will participate in the effort.

Peter Boyle

Boyle was a Member of the European Cancer Advisory Board and worked as scientific advisor to the European Commission on the European Tobacco Contents Directive which became law in 2012.  He was also responsible for the revisions of the European Code Against Cancer.

Josep Tabernero, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, in charge of continuously identifying international researchers and clinicians worthy of recognition, said: “Peter Boyle is not only the international reference in mastering cancer statistics to enable all stakeholders to consider, balance and address the realities concerning the state of cancer at global, national and regional levels; he is in fact one of the few to do so with unquestionable authority and heart – in equal measure. A global reference in cancer education and prevention, his exceptional expertise is continuously called upon by policy makers, scientific societies, academies, foundations, and patient advocacy groups.”

Peter’s dedication, his ability to engage us all in ultimately reversing the many disparities that exist in access to optimal cancer treatment and care across borders, make him so particularly deserving of this award.”

Previous winners of the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

2013 – Franco Cavalli, Bellinzona, Switzerland

Prof Cavalli is the founding editor of the Annals of Oncology, ESMO’s flagship scientific journal, established to keep medical oncologists at the cutting edge of new research developments. Born in Locarno, Switzerland, he is Scientific Director of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland (IOSI), Bellinzona, the comprehensive cancer centre for the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. Franco Cavalli was voted Switzerland’s “Person of the Year” in 2006 for his contribution to society – in particular his efforts on tackling cancer in developing regions – while he was a member of the Swiss Parliament (1995 to 2007).

Prof Cavalli has authored or co-authored more than 550 scientific articles and five books including the "Textbook of Medical Oncology". Among his collection of international awards are the Pezcoller Award, the New Drug Development Organisation Honorary Award, the Greidinger Award (Israel) and the Waldman Award (USA).

2012 – European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Brussels, Belgium

The 2012 ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). This unique pan-European non-profit clinical cancer research organisation was created 50 years ago and comprises over 300 hospitals and cancer centres in over 30 countries, including some 2,500 collaborators from all disciplines of cancer treatment and research. It has been, and continues to be, the largest organisation which carries out independent clinical studies at a European level in all types of cancer.

  • 2011 - Hans Jörg Senn, Switzerland
  • 2010 - Alan H. Calvert, United Kingdom
  • 2009 - Alan Ashworth, United Kingdom
  • 2008 - Emil M. Costa, Spain
  • 2007 - Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)
  • 2006 - Breast International Group (BIG)


Candidates for the award are considered by the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee of renowned cancer leaders. After careful deliberations by the committee, its recommendations are forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final consideration and selection.

The choice of the award winner is made on the basis of the candidate's scientific accomplishments. No regard will be given to race, gender, and nationality, religious or political views.

The award consists of a statuette, the opportunity to give a lecture on the team's/individual’s research findings during either the ESMO or the ECC Congress plus free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses.