2015 Winners Announced

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24 June 2015

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.

Hosted by Amandine Ohayon, Managing Director of L’Oréal Luxe UK & Ireland, the ceremony was an inspiring event. The venue was filled with anticipation as the attendees were welcomed by Professor Dame Uta Frith FRS, chair of the Royal Society’s diversity committee. Amandine Ohayon then spoke about the importance of female role models in building women’s confidence, and the value of the networking and training opportunities these fellowships bring.

The 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.

Guests watched eight fascinating short videos, each showcasing the work of the finalists which included topics from looking at cancer cells to investigating dark energy. 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 who was L’Oréal’s International Laureate in 2013. The jury was made up of Professor Dame Anne Glover, Vice Principal External Affairs & Dean for Europe, University of Aberdeen, Dr Beth Taylor, Vice- Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO, Professor Gwyneth Stallard, Professor of Mathematics, Open University, Professor Helen Atkinson, Head of Mechanics of Materials Research Group, University of Leicester & VP RAE, Professor John O’Halloran, Chair of Zoology & Vice President, University of Cork, Professor Sir John Pethica FRS, Professor of Physics, Trinity College Dublin & Chief Scientific Advisor, National Physical Laboratory, Katriona Methven, Director of Scientific and Technical-Regulatory Affairs, L’Oréal UK & Ireland, and Professor Sue Black, Honorary Senior Research Associate, University College London.

The 2015 winners are:

Dr Paola Crippa, ‘Modelling particulate matter pollution from vegetation fires in South-East Asia’, University of Newcastle

Dr Joanne Durgan, ‘Cell Cannibalism in Cancer: exploring the control and impact of entosis in tumours’, Babraham Institute, Cambridge

Dr Aarti Jagannath, ‘Setting the body clock’, University of Oxford

Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile, ‘The development of a novel HDAC6 inhibitor that can kill chemoresistant breast cancers’, University College Dublin

Dr Rita Tojeiro, ‘From Bright Stars to Dark Energy’, University of St Andrew

See more on the 2015 winners

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