This new prestigious award for the 60th anniversary of FEBS aims to honour individuals whose remarkable efforts and dedication have greatly enhanced the activities of their respective FEBS Constituent Societies and fostered impactful collaboration with FEBS. The selection of the awardees is made from nominations from the FEBS Constituent Societies.

We are delighted to announce the 2024 recipients of this award are Profs László Fésüs, nominated by the Hungarian Biochemical Society (MBKE), and Joan J. Guinovart, nominated by the Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM).

Prof. Jerka Dumić, FEBS Executive Committee member and co-ordinator of FEBS 60th anniversary activities, says, “At this important milestone of FEBS, with The Israel Pecht Award we wanted to put the spotlight on the exemplary dedication, innovation and impact of the 2024 awardees. They serve as an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to celebrating their success during the upcoming FEBS Congress. We thank all those involved in the nomination process for the award. There were many excellent candidates, and we will draw attention to the names of those put forward by other FEBS Constituent Societies at the event in recognition of their varied contributions.”

László Fésüs is an emeritus professor at the University of Debrecen, Hungary. His major research interest has been transglutaminase enzymes. He was Director of the Research Center of Molecular Medicine, University of Debrecen 2013–2017 and previously held terms as rector of the university.

At the Hungarian Biochemical Society, where he served as President from 2005 to 2010, he re-energized the Society at a difficult point in its history, stabilized its organizational and financial status, and oversaw changes in the management of its journal BIOKEMIA. He also broadened the Society’s activities, for example initiating the Hungarian Molecular Life Science Conference, and facilitated its internationalization, particularly with FEBS (such as supporting later participation in two FEBS3+ Meetings with nearby FEBS Societies).

At FEBS, he contributed to reform of its governance (2006–2009) while also a member of the FEBS Publications Committee, which oversees the journals of FEBS. Then, as chair of the Publications Committee 2012 to 2020, he directed key strategic decisions for the journals and FEBS, including adapting to open access publishing policies, securing a favourable publishing contract to ensure FEBS’ financial stability, creating and strengthening the FEBS Press journal brand, and initiating the FEBS Network platform. He also organized special events and publications commemorating the 50th anniversary of his national Society in 2012 and FEBS in 2014.

Joan J. Guinovart is an emeritus professor at the University of Barcelona and Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), Spain. His major research interest has been glycogen metabolism, and he was the Founding Director of IRB Barcelona 2005–2018.

During his tenure as President of the Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from 1996 to 2000, he orchestrated a significant transformation within the Society, resulting in a doubling in membership. He forged partnerships with the French and Italian Biochemical Societies, leading to joint meetings, and established fruitful collaborations with the Argentinian and Chilean Societies. He also launched the influential SEBBM magazine, serving as its chief Editor 1997–2012, and chaired the Organizing Committee of the FEBS Congress in Barcelona in 1996 and the Scientific Committee of the joint FEBS and IUBMB Congress in Seville in 2012.

At FEBS, he served as Congress Counsellor from 1997 to 2005, introducing a standard model for FEBS Congresses. As a FEBS Executive Committee member he contributed to groundwork with other organizations leading to the establishment of the European Research Council. Later he also served on the FEBS Science and Society Committee. His efforts to foster connections between FEBS and IUBMB crystallized in the organization of the first IUBMB–FEBS joint congress in Birmingham in 2000, paving the way for the two organizations to agree on holding periodic joint meetings in Europe and other collaborative activities.