This year, for the first time, the Career Center of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG) has established an award for domestic leaders in research and science: the Leadership Excellence Award in Research (LExA). LExA is intended to recognize outstanding leadership skills that make significant contributions to solving societal challenges and thus also serve as role models for young researchers. The first award ceremony took place on September 27, 2023, together with Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research Martin Polaschek at the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
The work of Igor Grabovac and his team encompasses a wide range of public health issues, most of which concern the health and well-being of marginalized, underserved, stigmatized, socioeconomically disadvantaged, or otherwise so-called vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by worsening inequalities that are exacerbated in the current context of wars, cost-of-living and energy crises, and various infectious disease outbreaks. While there is no definitive list of groups that can be counted as "vulnerable populations," they include migrants and refugees, sexual and gender minorities (LGBTQIA+ people), older adults, people who are homeless, people with chronic or terminal illnesses, children, and ethnic minorities.
LBG LExA 2023: 45 submissions in first call
This year, for the first time, the LExA honored leaders in the research and science sector who have distinguished themselves through outstanding and innovative leadership skills. In most cases, they were nominated by their own teams. This award is a significant addition to existing research awards and is intended to raise the profile of leadership in science.
Nominations were open to researchers from the narrower research environment, including universities, non-university research institutions and spin-offs, who have been working in a leadership role for at least two years. A total of 45 applications were submitted, from which an independent jury of leadership experts selected the finalists after careful consideration.
The finalists of the LExA 2023 at a glance:
1st place: Eva Maria Reininghaus, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the Medical University of Graz.
2nd place: Igor Grabovac, Specialist for Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna
3rd place: Jan David Smeddinck, Principal Investigator & Co-Director at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Digital Health and Prevention and Christian HILL, Founder & CEO/CTO at BRAVE Analytics GmbH, a spin-off Medical University of Graz
About the person
Igor Grabovac is a specialist in public health at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health. His research focuses on health behaviors and health behavior change of marginalized groups in society. He is currently the coordinator of the Horizon 2020 CANCERLESS and Horizon Europe Co-Captain projects, which work to improve the health and well-being of homeless people and people with mental illness. He is also Block Coordinator for Block 22/23 Public Health and a member of numerous international and national organizations.