On March 24th, at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris, France, 5 eminent women scientists and 15 promising young researchers were celebrated at the 18th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards and the women who have the power to change the world. DiscovHER invites you to relive the highlights of the Ceremony minute by minute and with the help of social media posts.


The Auditorium is full as the lights dim and the audience is immersed in the For Women in Science universe, with an introductory film of the program:


French journalist and host for the evening Elizabeth Tchoungui, takes the stage to begin the 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards.


Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and Chairman of the L’Oréal Foundation are welcomed to the stage and speak about the important impact that women in science have on current global issues and how they contribute, each in their own way, to making the world a better place.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program aims to ensure that research in every field takes full advantage of the intelligence, creativity and passion of one-half of the population of the planet. Women scientists are impacting the lives of people around the planet, and their discoveries are offering new solutions and answering vital questions. They are contributing to curing diseases, increasing food supplies, enabling sustainable development, helping ensure the survival of our planet to better understand our universe and adding to our knowledge of the very foundations of life.


It is time to introduce the 2016 International Rising Talents: 15 promising young researchers who are at the beginning of their career, but already working to change the world in 4 categories:

Technology and Engineering: Innovations that could change the face of medicine

- Doctor Eszter Farkas, HUNGARY.

Targets for new therapies to lessen stroke-related brain injury.

- Professor Jasmeen Merzaban, SAUDI ARABIA.

Research on the migration of stem cells to better understand how they might be used to treat disease.

- Doctor Yilun Ying, CHINA.

Using tiny holes to sequence DNA.

Physical Sciences: A profound impact on our World

- Doctor Elisa Orth, BRAZIL.

Development of nano-catalysts for multi-purpose sensors.

- Doctor Dorthe Ravnsbæk, DENMARK.

Development of new battery technologies for more efficient, economical energy use and greater energy storage capacity.

- Doctor Sabrina Stierwalt, UNITED STATES.

The study of galaxy mergers with implications for a new understanding of how galaxies evolve.

Life and Environmental Sciences: Critical issues for the future of our planet

- Doctor Maria del Rocio Vegas Frutis, MEXICO.

The study of the role played by soil fungi in the conservation and sustainable development of Mexico’s high-altitude cloud forests.

- Doctor Irina Didenkulova, RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

Studying tsunamis, rogue waves and storm surges to better predict maritime hazards and mitigate their effects on land and sea.

- Doctor Anaïs Orsi, FRANCE.

The study of historical weather patterns in the interior of Antarctica to enable improved predictions for future climate change.

Solutions in Health Sciences through modern medicine

- Doctor Habiba Alsafar, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

Identifying genetic and environmental risk factors associated with diabetes-induced obesity and diabetes-induced heart disease.

- Doctor Maria J. Buzón, SPAIN.

The study of new therapeutic strategies to cure HIV.

- Doctor Hiba El Hajj, LEBANON.

Developing new strategies for treating acute myeloid leukemia.

- Doctor Risa Mukai, JAPAN.

Researching the underlying viral that cause adult t-cell leukemia.

- Doctor Bernadeta Szewczyk, POLAND.

Boosting the effectiveness of antidepressants with zinc supplements.

- Doctor Elena Tucker, AUSTRALIA.

Understanding the genetic basis of early menopause.


2008 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate, 2009 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or medicine, and this year’s President of the jury, Professor Elizabeth H. Blackburn is invited on-stage to discuss this year’s jury, selection process and Award.

The 5 Laureates (one from each of the following regions: Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America) were nominated by more than 2,600 leading scientists and then selected by an independent and international jury of 13 prominent scientists in the global scientific community.


Elizabeth Tchoungui returns to the stage to introduce the exceptional work of the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureates.

First up, Professor Jennifer Doudna, Laureate for North America

“Back when I was a high school student, I wanted to understand life. Where did this all come from? Why are we here?” – Pr. Jennifer Doudna

8.08 Professor Hualan Chen, Laureate for Asia – Pacific

“We provide a lot of support for other countries. I send my colleagues for 6 months; they worked to help to build other countries’ capacity to fight the influenza viruses. I think it is a huge contribution of my research to the world.” – Pr. Hualan Chen

8.15 Professor Andrea Gamarnik, Laureate for South America

“I think that to do science, you need to have knowledge, you need to study, but together with that, you need creativity and imagination.” – Pr. Andrea Gamarnik

8.22 Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Laureate for Africa and the Arab States

“Until we have ended aids by finding a vaccine or a cure, then I think my job is not done.” – Pr. Abdool Karim

8.30 Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, Laureate for Europe

“My research has always been driven by curiosity” – Pr. Emmanuelle Charpentier

Jean-Paul Agon, Irina Bokova and Professor Elizabeth H. Blackburn join these 5 exceptional women who are changing the world through their discoveries and innovative research and solutions.


To conclude the 2016 Awards Ceremony, the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO proudly unveil the For Women in Science Manifesto: an opinion campaign aimed at engaging the scientific community, the institutional and general public to step up the pace of change for women in the sciences.

Jean-Paul Agon, Irina Bokova, and Elizabeth Blackburn, all took the stage to sign the Manifesto. Each of the Laureates and International Rising Talents, as well numerous guests in attendance also signed their names to ensure the visibility and public support necessary, so everyone can work together to achieve gender equality in the sciences.


1/ Encourage girls to explore scientific career paths.

2/ Break down the barriers that prevent women scientists from pursuing long term careers in research.

3/ Prioritise women's access to senior positions and leadership positions in the sciences.

4/ Celebrate with the general public the contribution that women scientists make to scientific progress and to society.

5/ Ensure gender equality through participation and leadership in symposiums and scientific commissions, such as conferences, committees and board meetings.

6/ Promote mentoring and networking for young scientists to enable them to plan and develop careers that meet their expectations.

To join the movement and sign the Manifesto, visit

For Women in Science

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