The 16th Annual L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards were held at the Sorbonne in Paris last week (March 19) before an audience of personalities from the worlds of science, economics, academia and culture.
Five outstanding researchers were awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO prize by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal and Chairman of the L'Oréal Foundation, and Professor Günter Blobel, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and President of the Jury.
The five laureates, awarded for their contributions to change the world, support future talent and encourage scientific vocations, were Professor Brigitte Kieffer from University of Strasbourg, Professor Laurie Glimcher from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, Professor Cecilia Bouzat from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Buenos Aires, Professor Kayo Inaba from Kyoto University, and Doctor Segenet Kelemu, Director General of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi.
Doctor Segenet was honored for her research on how microorganisms living in symbiosis with forage grasses can improve their capacity to resist disease and adapt to environmental and climate change. Her work is providing new solutions for ecologically responsible food crop production especially by local, small-scale farmers.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said "Science and gender equality are two accelerators of development. By combining them, we can release an enormous force for the good of us all. UNESCO said in a statement that "Brilliant, creative and passionate, these women all boast a career that demands admiration.
Their discoveries have already led to concrete applications in the areas of neurobiology, immunology and ecology". The L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science program, started 16 years ago, has identified and rewarded more than 2,000 women around the world, two of whom received the Nobel Prize in 2009. It is a benchmark for scientific excellence on an international scale and makes a major contribution to the creation of female role models.