L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ceremony 2015 © Stephane Cardinale People Avenue

Launched in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award was the first international award devoted to women in science.

These prestigious annual distinctions are awarded to five exceptional female researchers, one per continent, in recognition of their groundbreaking achievements and contributions to scientific progress. Laureates in life sciences and physical sciences are recognised in alternating years.

Each year, scientists from all over the world are invited to submit candidates for the Awards. Final selection of the Laureates is made by an international jury of eminent members of the scientific community and chaired by Nobel Prize winners. The €100,000 award celebrates the outstanding achievements of women in science and is recognised as one of the premier international science awards

UK-based scientists have been named European Laureates on three occasions.

Professor Dame Carol Robinson – European Laureate 2015

Physical Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry – University of Oxford

Professor Dame Robinson was chosen for creating a revolutionary method for studying how proteins function, particularly membrane proteins, and establishing a whole new scientific field: gas phase structural biology. Her pioneering work could have a significant impact on medical research.

Dame Carol Robinson

Professor Pratibha Gai – European Laureate 2013

Physical Chemistry, Electron Microscopy – University of York

Professor Pratibha Gai was chosen for ingeniously modifying her electron microscope so that she was able to observe chemical reactions occurring at surface atoms of catalysts which will help scientists in their development of new medicines or new energy sources.


Professor Frances Ashcroft – European Laureate 2012

Life Sciences, Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics – University of Oxford

Professor Frances Ashcroft was chosen for advancing our understanding of insulin secretion and of neonatal diabetes.

Dame Francis Ashcroft

Professor Athene Donald – European Laureate 2009

Physical Chemistry, Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge