The L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Ceremony, presided by Professor Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1999, took place last night at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Every year, L’Oreal and UNESCO renew their joint commitment to promoting scientific careers and identifying outstanding women scientists. Even though women increasingly attain the highest academic levels, they are still underrepresented at the top levels of scientific research. We are convinced that science is the source of progress for society and that women have an essential role to play in that progress.
For the past fourteen years, the L’Oreal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” program has given recognition to over a thousand women scientists, providing visibility and encouragement for the exceptional quality of their work. These top-ranking scientists embrace universal challenges ranging from health to the environment, and represent hope for the future.
Five exceptional women scientists, who contribute to resolving major global challenges, were distinguished by the awards, presented by Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman of the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation.
The women of science given the L’Oreal-UNESCO Laureate awards are:
- Laureate for Africa and the Arab States, Jill Farrant (South Africa) is Professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town. She has been recognized for discovering how plants survive under dry conditions.
- Laureate for Asia-Pacific, Ingrid Scheffer (Australia) is a paediatric neurologist and Professor at the University of Melbourne. She has been awarded for identifying genes involved in some forms of epilepsy.
- Laureate for Europe, Frances Ashcroft (United Kingdom) is a Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics Professor at the Oxford University. She was honored for advancing our understanding of insulin secretion and of neonatal diabetes.
- Laureate for Latin America, Susana López (Mexico) is a Professor of Genetics and Molecular Physiology at the National University of Mexico. She has been recognised for her studies on rotaviruses that cause the death of 600,000 children each year.
- Laureate for North America, Bonnie Bassler (USA) is Professor of Molecular Biology at the Princeton University. She has been recognised for understanding chemical communication between bacteria and opening new doors for treating infections.
As the second-largest corporate foundation in France, the L’Oreal Foundation is committed to three types of action: promoting scientific research in the fundamental and human sciences, supporting education and helping individuals made vulnerable by alternations to their appearance to reclaim their rightful place in society.
Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has pursued its mission of promoting science at the service of sustainable development and peace. It focuses on policy development and building capacities in science, technology and innovation and promoting and strengthening science education and engineering. UNESCO fosters the sustainable management of freshwater, oceans and terrestrial resources, the protection of biodiversity, and using the power of science to cope with climate change and natural hazards. The Organization also works to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to promote equality between men and women, especially in scientific research.
Sources: The L’Oreal Foundation and UNESCO
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