News / 1 October 2019
Claude Bernard receiving the ChunCheng Friendship Award
Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard receiving the ChunCheng Friendship Award

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard who has been awarded the 2018 ChunCheng Friendship Award! The award, conferred this year in August, is the People’s Republic of China’s highest honour and award for experts from outside of China who have made “outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress.”

Claude’s illustrated and productive academic career saw the French native traverse the world and fully embrace the international, collaborative nature of science. Working in the fields of immunology, neuroscience and stem cell research, Claude has undertaken research under the tutelage of and alongside some of medical research’s best and brightest minds, including Sir Gustav Nossal, Jacques Miller and Don Metcalf. Ending his research career with groundbreaking research in multiple sclerosis, which he undertook at ARMI after joining the institute in 2005 as Deputy Director and a group leader, Claude has joined the ranks of these greats.

His involvement with the Chinese medical research community began in 1981, where he was invited by the Chinese Academy of Medicine and the World Health Organisation to educate the best clinicians in Beijing and Shanghai on the latest concepts in immunology. Reflecting on this period, Claude remarks, “I spent close to six weeks lecturing then. That was an amazing experience.” Since then, Claude has supervised a number of Chinese students, postdoctoral fellows and a few researchers on sabbatical as well, many of whom he still maintains close contact.

More recently, Claude held the title of Guest Professor at Kunming Medical University (2011-2014) and the Yan-an Hospital, Kunming (since 2012), China and the Bayi Brain Hospital, General Hospital of Beijing Military Command, China (2011-14). Following on from this, Claude has developed a passion for pro-bono work in the country and in neighbouring India, where he assists in lifting the quality of science education, teaches medical students and helps developing grant applications for PhD students and young scientists. He is also advising on scientific research . “I truly enjoy doing this pro-bono work and give back some of what I was so fortunate to receive from the community at large,” said Claude.

As a recipient of the ChunCheng Friendship Award, Claude is now counted among esteemed company. Past recipients represent a truly global cohort of leading academics from a broad spectrum of sciences, from computer science to geology, musicians, entrepreneurs and experts in international law.  

While Claude retired from academia last year, he remains an active member of the ARMI community as part of the executive team, the ARMI Development Engagement Committee and the ARMI Advisory Board. Not only that, but Claude’s love for science and for mentoring sees him at ARMI every Tuesday, chatting to group leaders and PhD students alike- and we love having him around! Congratulations Claude!