Scoop: Isala receives the very first grand EU citizen science prize  

Woohoo, Isala won a big prize! What an honor! Today the Isala team officially receives the ‘European Union Prize for Citizen Science’. No worries if you have never heard about it before. It is a brand-new prize awarded by the European Commission for the first time this year. The fact that Isala is the first to receive it makes it even more unique! Read on to discover why Isala was awarded this prize and what it entails. 😊 

As of this year, the European Commission will award an annual citizen science prize. This prize honors initiatives that have both great scientific merit and a large societal impact. Now it turns out that this prize perfectly fits our Isala project, also known as the largest citizen science project studying the female microbiome worldwide! 😊 The European Commission is recognizing the power and importance of citizen science for a pluralistic, sustainable, and inclusive society. By establishing the prize, she aims to strengthen the development of citizen science and to acknowledge initiatives that drive research, innovation, engagement, and creativity for the benefit of society. Of course, in a citizen science project like Isala, mainly the citizens are indispensable. After all, it would not have been possible to make Isala such a success story without our wonderful participants. Apart from that, we are also very grateful to our audience of loyal Isala followers. The combination of the powerful empowerment of women regarding vaginal health and our efforts in breaking taboos through scientific knowledge led to the achievement of this award. As a small present from the Isala team, we would like to show you our brand-new video. We would like to say a thousand thanks again to all of you, for contributing to a true Isala wave that is now awarded with this fantastic prize. 😊 

You might wonder what this prize entails? Besides the fact that we receive European recognition for the scientific and societal impact that we achieved with Isala, the prize includes a nice amount of money. A total of 60,000 euros (wow!) is now in the hands of our Isala team to continue our high-tech (and thus quite expensive!) research and to enable more science communication. After all, fulfilling Isala’s dreams also includes sharing research results with all participants and the large group of Isala followers. The budget received is therefore welcomed with open arms and forms an extra boost to continue to break taboos about women’s health. We will continue our work in the coming period to ensure that women can take their vaginal health into their own hands (in the longer term). Of course, we are not only referring to women in Flanders in this regard. In the meantime, Isala has become a great source of inspiration for various international sister projects, from Africa to America. 😉 Breaking taboos about vaginal health therefore extends far beyond our national and continental borders. Likewise in terms of gender, Isala knows no boundaries. We do not only envision women while working towards knowledge on vaginal health, but certainly also their partners, children… Here, the same rule applies as in the Isala team: Strong together! 

Maybe you remember that this is not the first time that Isala has been awarded? Yes, indeed! Isala was previously honored for her clear science communication with a KVAB (Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium) annual prize for science communication and the EOS public prize in 2021. Of course, at that time, we also provided a blog to keep you informed. Who knows what the bright future has to offer… But for now: THANK YOU to everyone for standing in front and behind our citizen science project. See you soon with more vaginal news! 😊