Thursday, March 8, 2018

2018 Laureates mark 20th Anniversary of L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Programme

UNESCO Press Release N°2018-16

2018 Laureates mark 20th Anniversary of L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Programme

Paris, 8 March—UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation are preparing to honour five exceptional female scientists with the 2018 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards at a ceremony on 22 March at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris.

The ceremony will follow a major scientific conference, organized by the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO on 21 March. These events will recognize leading women scientists and shine a spotlight on 15 talented young female scientists. They will also provide an opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the For Women in Science programme.

Women continue to be under-represented in public and professional life, particularly in science, where the "glass ceiling" is still a reality. Today, only 28% of scientists are women and only 3% of Nobel Prizes for Science have been awarded to women since the awards began in 1901.

Despite this, there are many eminent women scientists, and raising their profile is vital to promoting greater gender equality in science. Every year for the past 20 years, UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation have recognized five exceptional female scientists and taken action to improve the balance of women and men in science.

Each of the five laureates will receive a prize of €100,000 and be honored for her contribution in the fields of medicine, palaeontology, molecular biology, ecology and developmental biology.

Over the last 20 years, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has raised the profile of 102 laureates and supported more than 3,000 young female scientists, helping them benefit from increased recognition within the scientific community. Three of these laureates have received Nobel Prizes for Science.

In order to further promote these women in science, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme is raising public awareness of their achievements. It has launched an international communications campaign in seven international airports (Paris, New York, Beijing, London, Dubai, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg) and on the streets of Paris, in partnership with JCDecaux and Aéroports de Paris.




Professor Heather ZAR
Professor and Chair, Department of Paediatrics & Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
Director SAMRC Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa

For establishing a cutting-edge research programme on pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma, saving the lives of many children worldwide.



Professor Mee-Mann CHANG
Professor, Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology
Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

For her pioneering work on fossil records leading to insights on how aquatic vertebrates adapted to life on land.



Professor Dame Caroline DEAN
Professor, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, United Kingdom

For her groundbreaking research on how plants adapt to their surroundings and climate change, leading to new ways to improve crops.



Professor Amy T. AUSTIN
Professor, IFEVA-CONICET, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

For her remarkable contributions to understanding terrestrial ecosystem ecology in natural and human-modified landscapes.



Professor Janet ROSSANT
Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
University Professor, University of Toronto, Canada
President, Gairdner Foundation, Canada

For her outstanding research that helped to understand better how tissues and organs are formed in the developing embryo.




Over the last 20 years, the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have supported 3,022 talented young female scientists through research fellowships. These L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowships are awarded annually at national and regional ceremonies in 117 countries.

National and regional fellowships are awarded to 275 young women scientists each year. Out of these 275, the International Rising Talents programme targets the most promising 15 of these scientists.

The 15 young female talents honoured in 2018 are:



  • Dr. Areej Abuhammad, Levant & Egypt
    A crystal for a cure
  • Danielle Twilley, South Africa
    Targeting angiogenesis for the treatment of melanoma
  • Dr. Hanifa Taher Al Blooshi, United Arab Emirates
    Sustainable products for major oil spills clean-up
  • Dr. Ibtissem Guefrachi, Tunisia 
    Plants point to ways of overcoming antibiotic resistance



  • Dr. Weang Kee Ho, Malaysia
    Targeted screening for breast cancer
  • Dr. Hiep Nguyen, Viet Nam
    A 21st century first-aid kit
  • Dr. Yukiko Ogawa, Japan
    Lightening the load: next-generation structural materials



  • Dr. Radha Boya, United Kingdom
    Making tiny pipes for transport and filtration
  • Dr. Agnieszka Gajewicz, Poland
    Safety first in developing new materials
  • Dr. Anna Kudryavtseva, Russia
    The mysteries behind tumour malignancy
  • Associate Prof. Duguy Sag, Turkey
    Triggering the immune system to fight cancer
  • Dr. Ai Ing Lim, France
    The origins of immune system intelligence



  • Dr. Selene Lizbeth Fernandez Valverde, Mexico
    The secrets of genomic "dark matter"
  • Dr. Rafaela Salgado Ferreira, Brazil
    Computing power in the service of neglected diseases



  • Dr. Anela Choy, United States of America
    Ocean food webs and human societies



Press kits






Laetitia Kaci / / +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 72

UNESCO for Women in Science Programme:




Ludivine DESMONTS-MORNET / / +33 (0)6 10 57 41 74

Alix BONNET / / +33 (0)6 99 45 86 45


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UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, PARIS, NA FRANCE France

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