The winners of the highly contested 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK & Ireland For Women In Science Fellowships (FWIS) were announced last night at a ceremony at London’s Royal Society.
17 years ago, L’Oréal joined forces with UNESCO to form a programme to encourage greater participation of women in the field of science. As well as the International Laureate programme there are now 46 National fellowship programmes running all over the world.
These fellowships promote and reward outstanding female postdoctoral researchers, offering flexible financial help. Each worth £15,000, the fellowship can be spent on whatever they need to help drive their research forward, a unique feature of these awards. This year, the five winners will be using their prize money for a range of support such as buying equipment, carrying out field trips, attending conferences, getting help in their labs, as well as covering childcare costs.
The fellows will also benefit from a raft of career and life enhancing experiences such as media training, personal impact coaching, speaking opportunities, networking events and access to senior mentors and role models.
The competition was extremely tough this year with a record 350 candidates applying for the five fellowships. Those candidates that made the shortlist, but were not awarded one of the fellowships were recognised as Highly Commended and presented with a £1,000 bursary.
The five winners were selected by a jury of eminent scientists, chaired by Professor Pratibha Gai, L’Oréal’s International Laureate in 2013. The Jury included Dr Beth Taylor, Vice-Chair and Natural Science Director for the UK National Commission for UNESCO.