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Home › News › Cochlear implant pioneer wins surgical award

Cochlear implant pioneer wins surgical award

02 November 2010

Professor Graeme Clark, the pioneering surgeon who has helped hundreds of thousands of profoundly deaf patients to hear, will be awarded the prestigious Lister Medal at the Royal College of Surgeons on Thursday 4th November in recognition of his contribution to surgical science.

The multi-channel cochlear implant became the first means of providing speech understanding to profoundly deaf children and adults, and was developed from Professor Clark’s research at the University of Melbourne in the 1970s. He was the first to develop an implant that recognised complex speech signals, and today more than 200,000 cochlear implants have been performed around the world.

In receipt of the Lister Award, Professor Graeme Clark will be giving the historic Lister Oration at the event on his research and development of the cochlear implant entitled: “What can electrical stimulation with a cochlear implant tell us about Brain Function and Human Consciousness?”

Professor Graeme Clark, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons said: “I am honoured to receive such a prominent award on behalf of all the researchers that are engaged in the fight against deafness. We have achieved amazing success with the cochlear implant and have brought the world of sound to thousands of children and adults worldwide.”

Mr John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said: “Professor Clark’s pioneering research on the cochlear implant more than merits the Lister Medal. His vision, drive and initiative have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the world, making him a worthy recipient of one of the highest surgical accolades.”

The Lister Medal and Oration is considered the most distinguished award in UK surgery, it was founded as a lasting mark of respect to Joseph Lister, whose work on antiseptics established the basis of modern sterile surgery. The selection for the award is made by a committee, with members appointed by the Royal Society, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow and the Society of Academic and Research Surgery.



Notes to Editors:

1.   The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit

2.   The Royal Society is an independent academy promoting the natural and applied sciences. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as the UK academy of science, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. It responds to individual demand with selection by merit, not by field. As we celebrate our 350th anniversary in 2010, we are working to achieve five strategic priorities, to:

a.    Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation
b.    Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice
c.    Invigorate science and mathematics education
d.    Increase access to the best science internationally
e.    Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery

3.   The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ("RCSI") is the governing body for surgery in Ireland and a third level institution focusing on health care, education and research.  It is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving human health through education, research and service. For further information please visit

4.  The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. Founded in 1451, it has an international reputation for research innovation, making connections with experts in global business, and inspiring thinkers, from eminent scientist Lord Kelvin to the father of economics, Adam Smith. Ranked in the top ten in the UK for research, and a member of the elite Russell Group of 20 major research universities, Glasgow provides an education that inspires respect from employers and satisfaction from students. Glasgow is ranked in the top 1% of the world’s universities today (QS World Rankings)

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