ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology

In commemoration of the European pioneer in cancer research and treatment, founding member and first President of ESMO, Prof. Georges Mathé, the ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology is presented to an individual internationally recognised for outstanding achievements in the area of Immuno-Oncology.

2019 ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology recipient

The 2019 ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology has been given to Prof. Thomas Gajewski, Abbvie Foundation Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Professor of Pathology and Medicine at the University of Chicago, where he has worked for more than two decades furthering understanding of fundamental aspects of anti-tumour immunity and translating this into new treatment strategies.

The award is given in recognition of his groundbreaking work elucidating why some patients are resistant to immunotherapy and how to restore the anti-cancer immune response.


Many of us have been doing research in the field of cancer immunotherapy for over 20 years, and it is amazing to see the progress that is currently benefiting so many patients. It is humbling to be recognised as perhaps representative of this group, and especially by my European colleagues.

Thomas Gajewski

Past ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology recipients

  • Cornelis Melief (2018)
  • Laurence Zitvogel (2017)

Georges Mathé was previously commemorated via the Georges Mathé Translational Research Fellowship (2012-2016). As of 2017, the fellowship has been replaced by the ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology.

Nomination and selection process

The recipient is nominated by the ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress Scientific Committee.

The award consists of the opportunity to give a scientific keynote lecture at the ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress, an award statuette, complimentary Congress registration, accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses.

Each member of the ESMO Immuno-Oncology Scientific Committee may nominate a candidate who meets the eligibility criteria below:

  • be an individual who has made a significant impact in the field of immuno-oncology
  • be an oncology professional, medical or clinical oncologist or researcher
  • be an ESMO member
  • not be a current or recent (last two years) member of either the  ESMO Executive Board, the  ESMO Council or the  ESMO Nomination Committee
  • not be a member of the current ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress Scientific Committee 

All nominations are evaluated, and a final awardee is selected by the Selection Committee: ESMO Nomination Committee Chair,  Scientific Co-Chairs of the ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress. This recommendation is forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final approval.