Spotlight on women in science with 2 global awards

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WITH women making up less than a third of the world’s researchers and facing barriers to pursuing long-term careers that lead to senior positions in science, Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies have launched two global awards Thursday (April 19) that seek to put a spotlight on both exceptional achievements of female scientists and those working to promote greater inclusiveness.

The inaugural Nature Research Awards for Inspiring Science and for Innovating Science, in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies, will recognize inspirational early-career female researchers and those who have worked to champion women and girls’ participation in science.

The Inspiring Science Award honors female scientists who have excelled in scientific discovery and have completed their PhD within the last ten years. The Innovating Science Award recognizes an individual or an organization that has led a grass roots initiative to support increased access to, or interest in, STEM subjects for girls and women around the globe.

Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief of Nature Communications and judging panel member, said: “Given the inspirational advocacy for gender equality across society we’ve recently seen, it’s more important than ever that we do more to recognize and support the achievements of women in science, and that we encourage girls and women to engage with STEM subjects and pursue scientific careers. These awards will give a global platform to some of these women who may otherwise go unheralded, as well as celebrate the efforts of the leaders — women and men — behind initiatives supporting greater equality in the sciences.”

“As Nature Research we are in a unique position to champion the achievements of researchers, and we have a responsibility to drive positive change in the research community. Our journals are committed to supporting gender equality, and we hope that through our connections with the research community we can identify some outstanding individuals deserving of these awards and use our international reach to share their stories,” Skipper added.

Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Ada Lovelace Day and judging panel member, said: “The importance of female role models in science cannot be overstated — girls and young women need to see that success is possible for people like them. The Inspiring Science Award will not just recognize excellence amongst women in research — it will also serve to create new role models to encourage girls and young women to consider a career in science.”

“Ada Lovelace Day highlights the achievements of women in STEM, so I am delighted to be supporting these awards which will improve the visibility of women in science from around the world. An award that takes a global view and looks for nominees of all backgrounds is long overdue. Equality is not a ‘nice to have’ anymore, it is a ‘must have’, because diverse teams produce better results.” Charman-Anderson added.

Lisa Napolione, senior vice president, Global R&D, The Estée Lauder Companies and judging panel member said: “As a Company founded by a pioneering woman, supporting other women pioneers is at the core of who we are. We are thrilled to partner on these inaugural awards with Nature Research, an organization that shares our values focusing on exceptional science and extraordinary scientists.

“We are so proud that more than half of our scientists and engineers in our global R&D teams are women. These scientists have revolutionized research in the beauty industry in a wide range of areas including cellular repair, circadian rhythm and epigenetics in skin. As we look to the future, ensuring a deep bench of research expertise among the next generation in emerging scientific areas is critical.

“We know first-hand that mentoring, and specifically mentoring of young women, is a strong contributor to long-term success, so we have built a scientific mentoring program into the Nature Research Awards. Our goal is to connect award recipients to scientific experts in their fields who have the unique skill set required to support and accelerate the awardee’s research progress.”

The winners of the awards will be announced in October. Both winners will receive up to $10,000 to spend on initiatives linked to the award and free training from Nature Masterclasses. The Inspiring Science Award winner will also receive grants of up to $5,200 to support open access publication of their research in a Springer Nature journal, and the Innovating Science Award winner will receive up to $5,200 to support events related to their initiative.

Nominations for the awards opened on April 9 and will close on June 11 2018. A longlist of ten nominees for each award will be announced on July 24, and a shortlist of five will be announced on September 4. Full details of the awards’ criteria and nomination processes are available at nature.com/researchawards. — SG


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