Nominations sought for International Canine Health Awards 2021

The world’s leading prestigious canine research awards, with prizes of £70,000 (€77,000; US$91,000), returns in 2021 to recognise more innovative researchers and scientists who are pushing the boundaries in the field of dog health

Now in its ninth year, the famous International Canine Health Awards recognise and celebrate some of the world’s finest researchers, scientists and veterinarians, as well as UK veterinary students and breed health coordinators whose work has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of dogs.

The awards, which are run by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, include substantial monetary prizes donated by Vernon and Shirley Hill, founders of Metro Bank. The awards ceremony is planned to take place in May/June 2021; however due to the current Covid-19 situation, the charitable trust cannot confirm a date and venue at this time.

With a prize fund totalling £70,000, the charitable trust urges scientists and others throughout the world to nominate world class researchers and clinicians worthy of the International or Lifetime Achievement Awards. Individuals may also nominate themselves. The awards will be judged by an eminent international panel drawn from the veterinary profession and scientific research.

All nominations must be submitted via the designated charitable trust application form and received by 31 January 2021. Separate forms are available for the two UK Student Inspiration Awards and for the UK Breed Health Coordinator Award.

The four awards are:

  • International Prize in Canine Health – for outstanding contributions in the field of canine health and welfare, with a prize of £40,000 towards future projects. The award will be presented to one individual or a group currently involved in world-class innovation, with more still to contribute
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – with a £10,000 prize, this award will go to a veterinarian or scientist working in a related discipline, who has dedicated much of their career to advancing the health and welfare of dogs. The award will be presented to an individual who has made a significant lifetime impact to benefit canine health and welfare on a world stage
  • UK Student Inspiration Awards – these comprise postgraduate and undergraduate awards, with prizes of £10,000 and £5,000 respectively to aid further education costs, the development of their careers, or the creation/continuation of a project. The awards will be presented to extraordinary students studying at a British veterinary school who demonstrate the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and research to benefit dogs. Post-graduate applicants must be within five years of receiving their first degree
  • UK Breed Health Coordinator Award – with a £5,000 prize, judges will be looking for individuals from UK Kennel Club breed clubs or councils who have demonstrated a dedication to supporting health and welfare within their breed over the previous year. Some of the aspects that will be considered include starting or coordinating a new project or resource for the breed, such as a health website or health survey, and good communication with The Kennel Club and other key stakeholders

Dr. Andrew Higgins, Chairman of the judging panel and trustee of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which runs the awards, said: "The International Canine Health Awards recognise and commend the commitment shown by researchers, veterinarians, and students dedicated to the improvement of dog health through science. We are also delighted to recognise the amazing work of our UK breed health coordinators who do such a good job supporting health and welfare programmes within breeds.

“We are very grateful for the generous funding from Vernon and Shirley Hill, as well as support from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which enables us to celebrate those who work tirelessly for the health and welfare of man’s best friend.

“We would encourage nominations of individuals you feel have made, are making or will make, a significant contribution to the health and welfare of dogs.”

Vernon Hill, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Metro Bank, and whose major gift underwrites the awards, said: "We are extremely proud to support the ninth International Canine Health Awards, to honour the people who are committed to transforming and improving the lives of dogs across the world.

“As a dog owner myself, it’s a subject extremely close to our hearts at Metro Bank, and it’s incredible to see how many people, from so many different countries, dedicate their whole lives to their work, and all for the good of the dogs.”

Last year’s winners were Professor Dr. Tosso Leeb, recipient of the International Award, who was recognised for his expertise in veterinary molecular genetics, leading to the formation of a world-class canine genetics research program in Bern, Switzerland; Professor Dr. Urs Giger who won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work spanning four decades dedicated to the study of clinical haematology in dogs, hereditary diseases and genetic predispositions, and transfusions medicine, the results of which have helped impact Kennel Club testing across many breeds; Dr. Valeria Bergomi, winner of the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award, who will use her prize to further expand her outstanding research into canine diabetes, a serious problem in clinical practice; and Dr. Sarah Helps, recipient of the Breed Health Coordinator Award, who was acclaimed for her dedication and commitment to improving the health of the Deerhound, a breed she has been involved with for over 40 years. Her passion for the breed has seen her support veterinary research into dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in UK Deerhounds.

Nominations for the 2021 awards can be made via the online application form on The Kennel Club website by 31 January 2021. If you have any queries regarding the application process, please email Andrea Harris at The Kennel Club.