Josef Stark Award


On March 1st 2004 the bee keeping world lost one of its most eminent researchers and conservationists, with the death of Dr Josef Stark. Those present at the 1998 joint BIBBA/SICAMM conference in York, or the 1999 conference at Kirkley Hall will remember his fascinating accounts of restoring wildflower meadows through the agency of honeybees and cattle and his pioneering uses of honeybees as monitors of environmental pollution. It was Josef’s bees passing Geiger counters at their hive entrances that alerted the world to the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Josef Anthony Stark.
Photo: Bosse Malmgren.


Josef Anthony Stark was born on the 18th of August 1942 in “Regio d’Italia”, now Slovenia, as the youngest son of agronomist Anton Starc and his wife Olga, a teacher of domestic science. The family had close connections with Austria where as a boy Josef spent his summers. He attended boarding school in Croatia, where he completed the high-school examination in engineering, specialising in agriculture. After military service, as a parachutist, in 1969 Josef attended the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, gaining a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences in 1975 and a doctorate in 1982. He remained at the University of Uppsala for 33 years, including 20 years as Director of the Bee Division. Since 1997 he was President of the European Black Bee Association (SICAMM). He married Christina, another teacher of domestic science and they have one daughter, Katarina, pharmacologist and post doc researcher at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.

Dr. Josef Stark (left) with Polish colleagues,
Poland 2002.
Photo: P. Denwood

Josef spoke Slovenian, Serbo-Croat, German and Russian in addition to Swedish and English and received gold medals from the Swedish and Slovenian Beekeepers’ Associations. In 1995 he was awarded a silver medal by the Military Defence Radio Organisation of Sweden. In 2000 the Royal Patriotic Society awarded him a King’s Gold medal and in 2001 he received a further gold medal for 30 years’ of honourable service to the Kingdom of Sweden.

He made several programmes for radio and television and in 1993 at Apimondia in China his video and photographic presentations on Peruvian stingless bees won all three medals, gold, silver and bronze. For two weeks of every year he served as a guard at the Swedish Royal Palace and in 2002 was awarded the Palace Guard Military Medal for this service. In 2001 the Government of Slovenia appointed him Honorary Consul to Sweden.

Dr. Katarina Stark, Dr. Dorian Pritchard, Christina Stark, Bosse Malmgren with examples of the Award certificate and publicity poster. Photo: Gitte Malmgren.

“Josef was unique in my experience in combining the curiosity and observational powers of the old fashioned naturalists with ingenious application of the most modern scientific equipment. He published some 60 scientific papers and leaves the manuscript of the “Comprehensive Dictionary of Insect Immunology” in co-authorship with Professor Z. J. Glinski. But Josef was pre-eminently a warm and generous person who opened his mind and his home to those with whom he shared an interest.

To commemorate his life’s work his family and friends have set up a trust fund to provide an annual prize for a young man or woman who is tackling a research or conservation project in a spirit of which Josef would have approved. In this way we hope to consolidate the aims which BIBBA shares with the wider European community. Any contribution toward this fund would be greatly appreciated.”
Dorian Pritchard

Richard Jefferson receiving the Award at Apimondia 2005, Dublin. Left to right: Terry Clare (Chairman, BIBBA); Richard Jefferson, Dr. Katarina Stark, Uppsala; Professor Octaaf Van Laere, Belgium. Photo: Terry Clare.

Recipients of the Josef Stark Award

2004: Nils Drivdal, Norway – special award.
2005: Richard Jefferson, UK
2006: Patrik Berg, Sweden
2007: Elis Kadic, Slovenia
2008: Rodger Dewhurst, UK

2009: Dr. Alejandra Vásquez, Sweden

2010: Dr. Tobias Olofsson, Sweden

2012: Dr. Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda, Ireland

Dr Alejandra Vásquez (right) and Dr.Tobias Olofsson

receiving the 2009 and 2010 awards from Nils Drivdal

Dr. Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda receiving the 2012 award

from Dorian Pritchard

Rodger Dewhurst receiving the Award from Dr.Dorian Pritchard, British Beekeepers’ Association Headquarters, 2008.
Photo: R. Patterson/R. Dewhurst.

Sekr i Josef Starks Stipendiestiftelse,
Christina Stark,
Nibble gård Dalby,
75591 Uppsala,


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