Nominations open for OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Women Scientists in the Developing World

Submissions for excellence in physical sciences research are being accepted through September 15

Screenshot from a video about the award winners (left to right) Prof. Jennifer Thomson, PhD, Grace Ofori-Sarpong, PhD, and Prof. Geraldine Richmond, PhD. Watch the video below.

I love doing research, and I dream that what I'm doing can be visible, sustainable and applicable in my country. I love doing things related to the environment because there is where we live, right? And if the environment is good, then we also have a good living. … Never give up pursuing your dream, and take a moment to celebrate your achievements.

With these words, Dr. Felycia Edi Soetaredjo spoke about her research after receiving an OWSD-Elsevier Foundation award at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting. Her work involves utilizing waste and local materials for environmental remediation and renewable energy. Research that advances science and impacts society is at the heart of the award she and four other female scientists received last year.

Now, nominations are open for the 2018 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award Nominations for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, which focuses on the physical sciences this year, including chemistry, mathematics and physics.

Honoring the achievements of researchers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science, the awards represent a high-profile recognition for women scientists from five regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab region, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and East and South-East Asia and the Pacific.

A collaboration between the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and the Elsevier Foundation, the awards are open to early-career scientists (within 10 years of receiving a PhD) from the 80 scientifically lagging countries as defined by OWSD. The five winning scientists, one from each region, will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and all-expenses paid attendance at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, where they will be honored in an award ceremony.

The program rotates annually between disciplines (biological sciences, engineering sciences, and physical sciences) to ensure optimal exposure and networking opportunities.

“Visibility and role models are critical for early career women scientists — and even more so in developing countries where women often face compounding societal pressures,” said Elsevier Foundation Director Ylann Schemm. “This year, we have awarded our seventh group of winners, and we can vouch for the impact this has on their careers: opening doors to new research assignments, greater mobility and enhanced international collaboration opportunities. Partnering with OWSD to support a new generation of emerging women leaders in science and technology continues to be a real honor.”

All nominations will be reviewed by a committee international scientists representing the five regions, including members of TWAS and OWSD, and chaired by OWSD President Prof. Jennifer Thomson.

“I was overwhelmed by the commitment and determination of the excellent five winners in 2017,” Prof. Thomson said. “Their ambition to succeed, even under the most adverse conditions, is an inspiration to women scientists worldwide. They are true role models, and we applaud their achievements.

“The value of these awards is far more than a mere prize,” she added. “The exposure that the winners receive, not only at the award ceremony and during the AAAS conference, but long after due to the contacts they are able to make, is life changing.”

Watch a video of the winners

To nominate a scientist

Submissions are being accepted for the OWSD Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Researchers in Developing Countries.

Organizers and sponsors

The Elsevier Foundation

Over the past decade, the Elsevier Foundation has awarded over 100 grants worth millions of dollars to projects focusing on the world’s libraries, nurse faculties and women scholars during their early and mid-careers. Funded by Elsevier, an information analytics provider specializing in science and health, the foundation contributes over $1 million a year to nonprofit organizations. In 2016, the foundation launched a series of new partnerships to support innovations in health information, research in developing countries, diversity in science and technology for development.

Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is an international organization affiliated with TWAS – The World Academy of Sciences. Headed by eminent women scientists from the South, OWSD has more than 4,000 members. The central role is to promote women's access to science and technology, enhancing their greater involvement in decision-making processes for the development of their countries and in the international scientific community. OWSD's overall goal is to work towards bridging the gender gap in science and technology. Created in 1989, OWSD uses its forum to promote leadership, exchanges and networking for women scientists as well as for discussions to assist in the development of national capabilities to evolve, explore and improve strategies for increasing female participation in science.


Written by

Domiziana Francescon

Written by

Domiziana Francescon

Domiziana Francescon serves as the Elsevier Foundation’s Program Officer and is a strong supporter of the company’s Corporate Responsibility program. Domiziana obtained a master’s degree in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a specialization in Publishing Studies. She grew up in Italy.


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