Champalimaud Foundation

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Coordinates: 38°41′35″N 9°13′17″W / 38.693°N 9.2215°W / 38.693; -9.2215

The Champalimaud Foundation

The Champalimaud Foundation is a private Portuguese biomedical research foundation, which aims to support the biomedical sciences, focused in particular, on the fields of neuroscience and cancer. In addition, the foundation's António Champalimaud Vision Award carries one of the highest monetary prizes (1 million Euros) of any science prize and is, financially, the World's largest in the field of vision. The Champalimaud Foundation is headquartered in Lisbon.

The Champalimaud Foundation's high-tech research center, which opened in 2010 at the mouth of the River Tagus in Lisbon, features diagnostic and treatment units for cancer patients on the lower floors and research labs above, aimed at research on cancer and neuroscience.[1]


The Champalimaud Foundation, based in Lisbon, Portugal, was created at the bequest of the late Portuguese industrialist and entrepreneur, António de Sommer Champalimaud. At the end of 2004 it was officially incorporated as the Anna de Sommer Champalimaud and Dr. Carlos Montez Champalimaud Foundation, in honour of the benefactor’s parents. The building of Champalimaud Centre for The Unknown in Lisbon, was designed by architect Charles Correa (2007-2010).[2]


The Champalimaud Foundation's focus is on the fields of neuroscience and oncology. In 2007, the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme[3] was created to support researchers working in this area. On October 5, 2010 the Foundation inaugurated a clinical and research centre in Lisbon - the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown - which will support work in both of the aforementioned fields.

The Champalimaud Foundation's translational research is defined as scientific study that begins in the laboratory before progressing to the clinical arena, or patient’s “bedside”. The Champalimaud Foundation gives priority to research that may contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of people worldwide, in particular those in developing countries.


Acting President — Maria Leonor Beleza is a graduate of the University of Lisbon Law School, where she has also worked as an Assistant Professor. During a distinguished professional career she has held a number of high-profile public offices. Among other positions, she was Secretary of State of the Presidency of the Cabinet (1982–83), Secretary of State for Social Security (1983–85), and Minister of Health (1985–1990) in the Portuguese Government. She has been elected as a Member of Parliament on several occasions and on two occasions she has served as Vice-President of the Parliament (1991–94, 2002–05). In addition to her prominent role in public affairs Dr Beleza has also played an active role in the private sector.

Leonor Beleza is currently the Chairman of the Portuguese League for People with Physical Disabilities, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the D. Pedro IV Foundation, and a member of the General Councils of the CEBI Foundation and of the Gil Foundation. She is also a vigorous campaigner for women’s rights, a cause she has supported for many years. In 2004, Leonor Beleza was appointed President of the Champalimaud Foundation by the will of Mr António Champalimaud. She is joined on the Champalimaud Foundation Executive Committee by João Silveira Botelho and António Horta-Osório.

General Council[edit]

António Champalimaud Vision Award[edit]

Year Laureate Country
2007 DRV.JPG Aravind Eye Care System India
2008 Jeremy Nathans United States of America
King-Wai Yau China, naturalised American
2009 Helen Keller International United States of America
2010 J. Anthony Movshon United States of America
William Newsome United States of America
2011 African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC)
2012 David Williams & James Fujimoto, Eric Swanson, Joel Schuman,Carmen Puliafito, David Huang United States of America
2013 Nepal Netra Jyoty Sangh, Eastern Regional Eye Care Programme, Lumbini Eye Institute and Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology Nepal
2014 Napoleone Ferrara, Joan Miller, Evangelos Gragoudas, Patricia D'Amore, Anthony Adamis, George King and Lloyd Paul Aiello United States of America

The Champalimaud Foundation recognises outstanding contributions to research in vision and associated areas through an annual award of 1.0 million. The Vision Award has a strong bias towards work that has provided major breakthroughs in the understanding of vision or in the alleviation of visual impairment and blindness.

The award is given alternatively between contributions to overall vision research and contributions to the alleviation of visual problems, primarily in developing countries. The recipients of the award are productive research groups rather than single individuals and this may involve groups from more than one institution or discipline.

The winner of the award is chosen by a jury panel consisting of both high profile public figures and esteemed scientists. The members of the jury are:


On the 30th June 2007 it was announced [1] that the António Champalimaud Vision Award [2] had been won by the Aravind Eye Care System. Established in 1976 with the mission of eliminating needless blindness, Aravind is the largest and most productive eye care facility in the world and is based in Madurai, India. From April 2006 to March 2007, including the work done in the Managed Eye Hospitals, over 2.3 million out patients were treated and over 270,444 surgeries were performed.

Today, the Aravind Eye Care System encompasses five hospitals, a manufacturing centre for ophthalmic products, an international research foundation and a resource and training centre that is revolutionising hundreds of eye care programs across the developing world.


On 9 September 2008, it was announced that Jeremy Nathans and King-Wai Yau from Johns Hopkins University, had won the 2008 prize for their outstanding contributions to vision research.


It was announced on 4 September 2009, that Helen Keller International won the prize.


On 11 June 2010, it was announced that Anthony Movshon, New York University, and William Newsome, Stanford University, were the recipient of the 2010 award –- the two men are credited with having begun solving the mystery of visual perception, for their "remarkable work on the role of the brain in reconstructing images and the way we act and understand the world".[4]


The 2011 edition of the award recognises APOC’s outstanding contribution to the prevention, control and fight against onchocerciasis or River blindness, a disease which has already infected over 18 million people.


The 2012 António Champalimaud Vision Award recognised the development of two novel approaches to visualising the living human retina in health and disease. These techniques have provided remarkable opportunities for studying fundamental questions of retinal structure, for unravelling the mechanisms of human ocular disease, and for better monitoring clinical outcomes.


The 7th edition of the António Champalimaud Vision Award recognised the work developed by four Nepalese non-governmental organisations, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh, together with Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, the Eastern Regional Eye Care Programme and the Lumbini Eye Institute, which have distinguished themselves through their efforts to find solutions to the ophthalmologic problems affecting the population of Nepal.


On 9 September 2014, Napoleone Ferrara, Joan Miller, Evangelos Gragoudas, Patricia D'Amore, Anthony Adamis, George King and Lloyd Paul Aiello were awarded the António Champalimaud Vision Award for their work in the development of Anti-Angiogenic Therapy for Retinal Disease. The prize covers the entire research process, from the identification of the molecule, to the elucidation of its role in retinal-vascular disease in animals and humans, to the experimental evaluation of an inhibitor and its final application in the treatment of affected patients. The clinical value of anti-VEGF therapy has been well established through a large number of clinical trials in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusions, offering the first real hope to millions of affected individuals around the world.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Portugal foundation aims for a cutting edge, Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ "Charles Correa - India's greatest architect?". BBC News. 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme
  4. ^ 2010 award news at "Público" (in Portuguese)

External links[edit]