Prof. Isabel Sá-Correia and Dr Elisabeth Bik have been awarded the FEMS Special Merit Award for 2022. This award recognizes contributions to FEMS and the microbiological community beyond and in addition to research excellence. It is presented on behalf of FEMS in acknowledgement and appreciation of efforts to support the field of microbiology and the microbiology community. These awards are a recognition and thank you for the hard work of both.
Dr Bik has been a tireless campaigner for scientific integrity in research and publications by highlighting and exposing examples of dishonesty and incompetence in the academic process. Through establishing the Science Integrity Digest blog, Dr Bik has identified and shared examples of fraudulent research and manipulated results in scientific publications. Dr Bik has also campaigned for greater awareness of this issue, teaching others how to interrogate data and encouraging others to share concerns about poor research. These activities are a vital contribution to the scientific method, and we applaud Dr Bik’s tireless work to highlight this issue.
Prof. Isabel Sa-Correia has been a central figure in the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (Sociedade Portuguesa de MicrobiologiaI) for many years and enabled that organization to connect and support microbiologists across Portugal and beyond. As well as FEMS Delegate and President of Portuguese Society of Microbiology, Prof. Isabel has been a member of the FEMS Yeast Research editorial board. She has also organized many international meetings over a long career, enabling microbiologists to meet, network and share research. These opportunities are vital for science to flourish. These contributions to scholarly societies enable these not-for-profit organizations and their contributions to science. Such efforts are often invisible go underappreciated, but without them, academic life would be much harder.
Prof. Sá-Correia was also the architect of International Microorganism Day, an annual celebration of everything microbiology. This is commemorated every year on 17 September, the day Antonie van Leuwenhoek sent a letter to the Royal Society of London with the first description of a single-celled organism. International Microorganism Day is now celebrated across Europe and beyond.
Ensuring we acknowledge and appreciate those who make a positive difference, is a vital part of making us a real community. It is a pleasure to recognize these two excellent scientists with a special Merit Award this year.