Elsevier Award Recognises Brilliant Women Scientists In the Developing World

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The number of women in science, technology and innovation in the world’s leading economies is alarmingly low and actually on the decline in several, including the U.S. Women remain severely under-represented in degree programs for these fields. Even in countries where the numbers of women studying science and technology have increased, more women are not finding their way into the workplace. This why the recent winners of the 2014 Elsevier Foundation prizes are impressive not only for their research, but for their potential, as these awards and recognition could bring exciting new opportunities for research. Plus, over time, these researchers will fulfil their potential as teachers and mentors, as partners in international projects and as advisers to governments. Such leadership can make a long-lasting contribution to global science.

The five female chemists were honoured with Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, each for research that looks to nature for ways to address cancer, malaria and other medical problems. The winning researchers, representing five regions of the developing world, are from Indonesia, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uzbekistan and Yemen. The focus was chemistry; a selection panel of eminent chemists independently selected each winner based on her achievements, who had impressive accomplishments in applying the chemistry of nature to pharmaceutical science. The Elsevier Foundation prize includes USD $5,000 and all-expenses paid attendance at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Chicago. In 2015 the prize will be for physics and mathematics.

The awards, launched in 2012, are a collaboration between the Elsevier Foundation, The World of Sciences and the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World. These five winners, like all women undertaking scientific research in developing countries, will have faced challenges to gain this award. Their steely determination, commitment and enthusiasm will have gotten them through—they will be an inspiration to all young women considering careers in science. The award is vital for encouraging women in developing countries to be more involved in science and technology and to make a more significant contribution to social and economic developments.

Professional visibility is crucial to developing high-profile international scientific careers, especially for women. The Elsevier Foundation provides support to early-career women scholars through its New Scholars grant programs and mentoring, research retreats, professional visibility, childcare, and work-life integration and recognition programs. The awards for these women scientists help to build a research capacity and advance scientific knowledge throughout the developing world.

The awards help to raise awareness among scientists, policymakers, media and the public about the need to retain and celebrate women scientists. The winners acknowledged that the awards could have a significant impact on their work and Dr. Eqbal Dauqan from Yemen, who won for the Arab region emphasised the impact the award would have on women from her region and that it was very encouraging for Arab women and will enhance scientific research in the Arab world. These winners are an inspiration not only to other young women, but to all scientists of every generation.

Photo Credit: Elsevier Foundation