The best moments of the For Women in Science week

The 5 Laureates of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards and the 15 fellows who won the 2015 International Rising Talent Grant were invited to Paris on March 15th for a week of events that culminated in the Awards Ceremony of March 18th. Relive here the best moments of the week.

Sunday March 15th:

The twenty women arrive to Paris. As soon as they step off the plane, they are greeted by the portrait exhibit of the five Laureates in the Paris Airports. The For Women in Science week can officially start.



Monday March 16th

9am: The Laureates and the 15 International Rising Talents visit the L’Oréal Advanced Research Laboratory of Aulnay. They learn about the Research and Innovation department of L’Oréal and about the L’Oréal Foundation’s engagements.



12:30pm – 2pm: One of the key moments of the week has arrived: the mentoring lunch between the 15 Fellows and the Laureates.

The For Women in Science Program is not only about a financial support, it is also about sharing experience and the passing on of knowledge. In a sector where so few women reach leading positions, the experience and advice of role models such as the Laureates can be truly inspiring and boost the confidence of young researchers.



Afternoon: On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the Program has organized interviews and trainings for the Laureates and International Rising Talents in order to offer them international visibility and boost their careers.


The training sessions give them tools to feel empowered and reach top decision-making positions. They practice for interview sessions, learn how to speak in public, how to explain their research in a simple way and to use social media.


Tuesday March 17th

9:00am– 12:30pm: The five Laureates present their research and their ground-breaking discoveries in the prestigious French Académie des sciences before an audience composed of Prof. Bernard Meunier, President of the Academy, Prof. Christian Amatore, Acting President of the Jury 2015, the 15 Fellows, journalists and members of the Academy.




Prof. Thaisa Storchi Bergmann takes the audience on a trip through the universe by explaining the impact of black holes on the evolution of galaxies.



Prof. Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli follows with her presentation on the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the particle responsible for the creation of mass in the universe.



Prof. Yi Xie takes the floor to present the different ways to produce graphene, a very thin material that could significantly contribute to improving energy efficiency.



Prof. Dame Carol Robinson goes onstage to explain how she adapted a mass spectrometer to study complex proteins.



Prof. Molly S. Shoichet closes the session with her presentation of the new medical solutions offered by polymer chemistry.



The event was also the opportunity for the participants to express the importance of the cause of women in science. “Women can greatly contribute to advancing science” declared Prof. Amatore in his opening speech, followed by Prof. Thaisa Storchi Bergmann who added “I am happy to be a woman and a scientist”. Prof. Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli made an important wish: "I hope this prize will encourage more young Moroccan and Arab girls to become scientists."


Wednesday March 18th

09:30am - 12:15pm: A media event, held in front of over 60 international media presents the Laureates and the International Rising Talents, in presence of Sara Ravella, CEO of the L’Oréal Foundation and Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO.



After an intense week of training sessions, on oral skills and empowerment, the International Rising Talents are challenged to present their work and show the world the ground-breaking nature of their projects in 3 minutes: the ultimate proof that women can contribute to advancing science in spectacular ways. Each Fellow goes up onstage to present her research project, in a stand-up way, in front of a captive and amazed audience.


I believe that communications & information technologies can help solve electricity shortages. Dr. Sanaa Sharafeddine
I'm fascinated by the complexity of obesity and I hope I will be able to solve this problem. Dr. Bhama Ramkhelawon
One drug does not fit us all. We need personalized medicine. Dr. Nourtan Abdeltawab


7:30pm – 9pm: The moment everyone has been waiting for has arrived: the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ceremony is officially launched in the historic amphitheater of the Sorbonne in Paris before an audience of 700 experts and opinion leaders (scientists, institutional representatives, media…).





The 5 Laureates are given their Award by Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and Chairman of the L’Oréal Foundation and Irina Bokova Director General of UNESCO.



The 15 International Rising Talents were handed over their official grant by Sara Ravella, CEO of the L’Oréal Foundation and Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences.



Thursday 19th:

9:30 am: The Laureates and the International Rising Talents visit the UNESCO Department of Science and meet with country representatives and ambassadors from all over the world to exchange on the cause of women in science.




After a last afternoon of interviews and workshops, the FWIS week comes to its end. Laureates and Rising Talents go home with the memories of this event and new tools and experiences that will guide them in all their future projects.

L’Oréal–UNESCO
For Women in Science

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