South Africa

Programme recognises female scientists

Johannesburg – Female researchers were awarded a research grant at a ceremony in Johannesburg on Monday in the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science programme.

  The organisera said the first edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science South African National Programme, highlights L’Oréal’s commitment to female scientists and ambition to contribute to the development of scientific excellence.

  L’Oreal South Africa manager Gilles Antoine said the initiative began 21 years ago, and has supported and raised the profile of 107 laureates and over 3 100 talented young doctoral and post-doctoral scientists, providing research grants in 117 countries.

  “The sub-Saharan Africa programme saw significant growth since inception in 2010. With a vision of reaching more female scientists across Africa the first edition of the programme was launched this year.”

  Antoine added that there are not enough women scientists in Africa to drive change at the scale at which it is needed. “Science and technology are among the keys to address these challenges. It is vital that women and men are empowered to contribute to the development of solutions, foster innovation and enrich locally relevant research. The world continues to face unprecedented challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, and exposure to illnesses and challenges with food security, among other issues. Women in science can change the world. They have the power to change the world provided they are given the means. This year, as we honour seven emerging women scientists from across South Africa, we reaffirm our commitment to empower more young women scientists, so that they receive the recognition they deserve,” Antoine said.

  The seven female researchers, five doctoral and two post-doctoral, were selected by a jury of independent experts for the scientific excellence of their work from over 175 applicants.

  The winners will attend the sub-Saharan Africa regional programme leadership training and ceremony in Dakar, Senegal. They will benefit from a training programme that will help strengthen their career, with the objective to empower them to pursue their career.

The Winners 

PhD candidates: each PhD candidate will receive a research grant of R80 000

Dr Yogandree Ramsamy– Department of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal 

Triangulating the Molecular Epidemiology of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae from Humans, Food, Animals and the Environment

Shantelle Claassen

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town 

Nasopharyngeal bacterial community profiles as a biomarker for Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTI) during infancy

Chelsea Tucker

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town

Designing a catalyst with improved fuel selectivity for decentralized waste-to-fuel production in Africa 

Emma Platts

Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town

Machine Learning and Data Clustering Techniques to Probe Fast Radio Bursts and Constrain Cosmological Parameter

Sinenhlanhla Sikhosana

College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Diffuse Radio Emission in Atacama Cosmology Telescope’s polarimetric extension Clusters

Post-Doctoral Researchers 

Each post-doctoral award winner will receive a research grant of R160 000 

Dr Melissa Nel

Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Investigating the genetic basis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in subjects of African genetic ancestry

Dr Busiswa Ndaba 

Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, Agricultural Research Council 

Sustainable production and application of nanofertilizers through the adoption of biosynthesis approach

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