The American Institute for Economic Research’s Harwood Prize for Intellectual Courage is awarded to an intellectual leader in any field who exercises courage in standing up for what is true under challenging circumstances, making a difference for the good of society in the process.
Billion-dollar public relations campaigns and powerful media echo chambers make challenging conventional wisdom and mainstream orthodoxies difficult, and even dangerous. A society needs leaders who think independently and dare to speak truth to power, especially in times of crisis.
The prize is named after Edward C. Harwood (1900-1980), who founded AIER in 1933, another time of great crisis. Fighting false promises and false narratives, Harwood taught his friends and family that “for integrity, there is no substitute.” This commitment to integrity and courage, especially concerning ideas related to the well-being of society, informs the Harwood Prize.
This year, AIER awarded the prize to John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc, professor of medicine, epidemiology and population health, and (by courtesy) biomedical data science and statistics at Stanford University.
Professor Ioannidis has led the effort to understand and reduce biases in research and ensure that scientific effort is rigorous, reproducible, transparent, and eventually useful for humanity.
From sounding the alarm about Theranos’ stealth studies to making major, thoughtful contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, John Ioannidis has fearlessly defended good science for decades. He has shown firmness, integrity, and intellectual courage against powerful false narratives, and AIER is proud to honor one of the top free thinkers of our time.
Professor Ioannidis has done his pioneering work on COVID-19 without receiving any personal compensation. At the request of professor Ioannidis, the money of the Inaugural Harwood Award has been given as an unrestricted gift from AIER to the Lunchbox Fund and Children Incorporated to help disadvantaged children receive proper educations, and provide opportunities for growth and education, respectively.
His acceptance speech can be read below: