Eleven Women Scientists Announced as Winners of Elsevier Foundation OWSD Awards

Outstanding young biologists, chemists, physicists and mathematicians recognized across the developing world

Kuala Lumpur, September 29, 2011 – The Elsevier Foundation, TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) announced today that they are recognizing eleven talented women scientists from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their research excellence. The announcement was made at the International Symposium on Women in Science and Engineering (WISE 2011) held in conjunction with the International Year of Chemistry 2011 and hosted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Institut Kimia Malaysia (IKM) in Kuala Lumpur from September 29-30. Each winner will receive a cash prize of US$5,000.

"Once again, the standard of the winners selected for the OWSD Awards for Young Women Scientists from the Developing World has been outstanding. For us, this is not a surprise, as we are well aware of the excellent contributions that women are making to science,” noted Professor Fang Xin, President of OWSD. “The aim of the OWSD Awards, therefore, is to honor the work of these young researchers, bringing it to the attention of the scientific and policy-making communities in their countries, and to highlight their successes so that they may act as role models to other girls and young women who might be considering a career in science."

Lubna Tahtamoouni, winner from The Hashemite University in Jordan said, “Over the years I came to recognize that it is difficult for women to do science since they have to juggle their career, marriage, motherhood and other social obligations. Winning such an award made me more confident about my decision of pursuing a career in science. Women need recognition, especially young women to give them that ‘head start’ and confidence. This award is celebrating women!”

Denise Evans, biological sciences winner from South Africa added, “It is important to highlight that women, even from developing countries, are doing great things - making breakthroughs, contributing to advances in medicine, science, chemistry and engineering - becoming leaders and experts in their field. It is important to acknowledge young scientists so that they may be motivated from an early age to stay in science and develop a career in science and research.”

Through a grant from the Elsevier Foundation, the OWSD Awards for Young Women Scientists from the Developing World were expanded to cover three disciplines in each region – Biology, Chemistry, and Physics/Maths. The grant was made as part of the Elsevier Foundation New Scholars program, which supports programs for women scholars during the early stages of demanding careers in science and technology. After a rigorous review by the four regional OWSD committees, shortlisted candidates in each discipline were nominated and subsequently ranked by the regional vice presidents and Professor Fang Xin, the current OWSD president. The eleven winners include:



Region


Subject


Nominee


Country


Institution



Asia
Biological Sciences
BEGUM, Mahfuza

Bangladesh


Bangladesh Agricultural University

 
Phys/Maths
MOHANTA, Rukmani

India


University of Hyderabad

 
Chemical Science
SHAHEEN, Farzana

Pakistan


University of Karachi

Africa
Phys/Maths
ADERMOLA, Janet Ayobami

Nigeria


University of Ibadan

 
Chemical Sciences
OSOWOLE, Aderoju Amoke

Nigeria


University of Ibadan

 
Biological Sciences
EVANS, Denise

S. Africa


University of the Witwatersrand

Arab R.
Chemical Sciences
ISMAIL, Nahla

Egypt


National Research Centre

 
Biological Sciences
TAHTAMOUNI, Lubna

Jordan


The Hashemite University

LAC
Phys/Maths
GONZALEZ SANCHEZ, Maria Magdalena

Mexico


Instituto de Astronomia

 
Biological Sciences
HERMIDA CRUZ, Lisset

Cuba


Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

 
Chemical Sciences
Silvina, PELLEGRINET

Argentina


Universidad Nacional de Rosario

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Minister for Women, Family and Community Development in Malaysia says, “It is an honor for Kuala Lumpur to host such an award. Malaysia is and always will be committed to advancing women in science. The strength of our nation depends on empowering our women, and enabling them to believe that they are every bit as capable of succeeding in science as men. We are very pleased that the OWSD and the Elsevier Foundation share this vision and show us through their innovative programs that when women are given the right support, their capacity to succeed is limitless.”

“We are proud to present the OWSD award to eleven extremely gifted young women working in different areas of science,” noted Prof. Dr. Farida Habib Shah, Vice President of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, TWAS fellow and WISE 2011 conference organizer. “This award provides them with the recognition they deserve and a very special thanks must go to the Elsevier Foundation for making this possible. This award serves as a boost not only to their personal careers but also to the thousands of young women working in science across developing countries.” 

“We know from experience how important it is to fight the steady loss of talented women in science caused through lack of support during critical family building years, lack of networking opportunities and mentorship—or simply a lack of recognition and opportunities,” David Ruth, Executive Director for the Elsevier Foundation, remarked. “Congratulations are in order to our eleven winners and the excellent research they have undertaken over the past years. Each of these scientists represents a powerful role model to colleagues and the next generation of women scientists in the developing world.”


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About OWSD
The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is an international sister organization of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world. OWSD is headed by eminent women scientists from the south, consisting of more than 3,000 members. The central role is to promote women’s access to science and technology, enhancing their greater involvement in the decision-making processes for the development of their countries and in the international scientific community. Created in 1989, OWSD overall goal is to work towards bridging the gender gap in science and technology. OWSD uses its forum for intellectual discussions to assist in the development of national capabilities to evolve, explore and improve strategies for increasing female participation in science.

About TWAS
TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, is an autonomous international organization, based in Trieste, Italy, that promotes scientific excellence for sustainable development in the South. Originally named "Third World Academy of Sciences", it was founded in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the South under the leadership of the late Nobel laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan. The Academy's strength resides in the quality and diversity of its membership – internationally renowned scientists elected by their peers. TWAS currently has more than 900 members from 90 countries, 73 of which are developing countries. It is administered by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and financially supported by the Italian government.

About The Elsevier Foundation
The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to institutions around the world, with a focus on support for the world’s libraries and for scholars in the early stages of their careers. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than 60 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields. In January 2010, $600,000 in grants was awarded to 12 organizations selected for their innovation and potential for impact in the developing world and academic workplace. Through gift-matching, the Foundation also supports the efforts of Elsevier employees to play a positive role in their local and global communities. The Elsevier Foundation is funded by  Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media Contacts
OWSD
Daniel Schaffer, Information Officer
+39 040 2240 571
schaffer@twas.org 
 www.owsd.net  

Tasia Asakawa 
+39 040 2240 516 
asakawa@twas.org  

Elsevier Foundation 
Ylann Schemm 
Elsevier Foundation Manager 
+31 20 485 2025 
newsroom@elsevier.com  
elsevier@kaizo.net