The Thomas C Chalmers Award - 2018 Award Winner, Leonie Van Grootel

The Thomas C Chalmers 2018 Award Winner

The Thomas C Chalmers Award is awarded to the principal author of the best oral and the best poster presentation addressing methodological issues related to systematic reviews.

Tom Chalmers (1917-1995) was an outspoken advocate of randomised trials, whether at the bedside, at professional meetings, in class or in situations pertaining to his own life. His creativity spanned his entire career, influencing clinicians and methodologists alike. He is perhaps best known for the notion ‘randomise the first patient’, his belief that it is more ethical to randomise patients than to treat them in the absence of good evidence. In his later years, in arguably his most important work, Tom and his colleagues showed that, had information from RCTs been systematically and cumulatively synthesised, important treatments such as thrombolytic therapy for myocardial infarction would have been recognised as useful much earlier.

For more information on the prize eligibilty and criteria, visit the Colloquium Prize page. The call for abstracts is open and the deadline for submission is 12 April 2019. Abstracts for oral presentations and posters are invited in areas relevant to the work of Cochrane as well as evidence-based practice, policy, methodology, and advocacy.

In 2018, the winner of best short oral presentation winner was Leonie Van Grootel for 'Using Bayesian information for matchinig qualitative and quantative sources in a mixed studies review'. We spoke to Leonie on what winning the Thomas C Chalmers Award 2018 has meant to her.

"I am an assistant professor at the department of Methodology & Statistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tilburg University., the Netherlands. In addition, I also have relations with the EPPI-Centre at University College London, for we are working on several short-time appointments as a visiting fellow.

I was planning to go to the Cochrane Edinburgh Colloquium and talk about my research on mixed studies reviewing methodology. When checking the program, I never imagined that would have any chance at winning such a prestigious award. However, when reading the description of what the award stood for, I was triggered by the aspect of methodological innovation. Since I consider methodological innovation in reviews a central aspect in my work, I decided to give it a try.

First of all, a great honour to receive at the start of my academic career. The fact that a leading organization as Cochrane welcomes my ideas is very flattering. In addition to that, I very much appreciate the recognition of Cochrane for the potential of incorporation of qualitative research for systematic reviews - which is the main issue discussed in my presentation and paper. Qualitative research will, I believe, becoming increasingly important for systematic reviews in medical and health sciences, and the potential of mixed studies reviews has not yet been reached. Thanks to the recognition of Cochrane for this topic, I am confident that further pursuing research in this field is worthwhile and can possibly aid evidence-based medicine and clinical practice. I am currently even applying for research funding for research on this very topic; and the Cochrane prize on my CV will definitely increase my chances of getting it.

My message to other colleagues or Cochrane collaborators who are considering applying for this award is to keep believing in doing the research that you feel is important for evidence practice. Even if the topic might not be popular or at the top of the agenda of the big institutions or funding agencies; do not let your research agenda be determined by what is expected from you or what happen to be ‘hot topics’ but stand for what you really think is important. Your audience will notice your genuine dedication to your work and will appreciate it."

For further information on other prizes which are awarded at the Colloquium, please visit

Wednesday, March 6, 2019