Since 1998, the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO have been committed to increase the number of women working in scientific research. 150 years after Marie Curie’s birth, only 28%* of researchers are women and only 3% of Scientific Nobel Prizes are awarded to them. That is why, for the past 19 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has worked to honour and accompany women researchers at key moments in their careers. Since the programme began, it has supported more than 2,700 young women from 115 countries and celebrated 97 Laureates, at the peak of their careers, including professors Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who went on to win a Nobel Prize.
THE YOUNG WOMEN IN SCIENCE
who will have the power to change the world
Each year, the International Rising Talents program selects the 15 most promising women scientists among the 250 national and regional fellows of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science program. These young women have the power to change the world and recognizing them will help ensure that they reach their full potential.
Last March 23rd, for the 19th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Ceremony at the Maison de la Mutualité, the international scientific community gathered to honour and celebrate exceptional women scientists and their accomplishments in the physical sciences. The event was opened by Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and Chairman of the L’Oréal Foundation.
A Canadian selected as an International Rising Talent 2017
DR LORINA NACI
L’Oréal-UNESCO National Fellowship - Canada
Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario
IN A COMA: IS THE PATIENT CONSCIOUS OR UNCONSCIOUS?
In Canada alone, 1.4 million people are currently living with the consequences of an acquired brain injury, with 50,000 new cases each year. Coma is defined as an acute state of behavioral non-responsiveness in which the patient is thought to lack consciousness or have minimal consciousness. Although patient outcomes vary greatly, there is currently no clinical tool to evaluate whether they will recover or not. This situation poses serious problems – for example, how does a physician know whether to continue with life-sustaining therapies or not, especially in the first 72 hours? Dr Lorina Naci, cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) is hoping to change the way things are done. She has developed an innovative and powerful technique that can assess preserved brain function in comatose patients. The technique involves the patients listening to a short audio-story while inside an MRI scanner (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This approach, which allows researchers to visualize cerebral activity, has already succeeded in detecting the signs of consciousness in a patient who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years. Dr Naci’s numerous publications on the subject have attracted the attention of other scientists in the field. “I will now be able to test my method on comatose patients in the intensive care unit - as soon as they arrive, and then one month and six months later,” explains the young scientist. “My goal is to determine the clinical prevalence of covert consciousness and identify novel and objective prognostic markers of recovery in these patients. These studies will not only have profound implications for diagnostics and care, but will also help medical and legal decision-making relating to life after severe brain injury.”
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5 outstanding young researchers recognized by L’Oréal Canada
through the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program
During a ceremony held on November 15 at the French embassy in Ottawa, five Canadian researchers were honoured and rewarded through the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program, with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program was created in 1998 with a simple goal: to ensure that women are equally represented in all scientific disciplines. Since its creation 18 years ago, the program honoured 92 fellows for the excellence of their scientific work and supported 2,438 young women scientists and talented young researchers. These exceptional researchers have helped the world advance, each in her own way.
In Canada, the program recognized over 60 promising young researchers, whose work contributes to the advancement of therapeutic treatments, to the improvement of food supply, to sustainable development, to the survival of our planet, to a better understanding of our universe and to an enhanced comprehension of the very foundation of life.
“The five 2016 fellows are living proof that, despite the obstacles, talent, passion, determination and boldness can change the world”, stated Mr. Frank Kollmar, President and CEO, L’Oréal Canada. “These young Canadian researchers contribute to the advancement of science and knowledge by their exceptional work.”
List of 2016 Fellows
The L’Oréal-UNESCO 2016 Excellence in Research Fellowships, each worth $20,000, are awarded to support major postdoctoral research projects undertaken by young Canadians. They reward excellence and allow top scientists, selected by a panel of experts, to further their research. Ms. Christina Cameron, President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, had the pleasure to present them to:
- Dr. Lorina Naci, PhD, Brain Injury, Cognition, Consciousness, Western University
- Dr. Stephanie Vogt, PhD, Microbiology, University of British Columbia
To support the mission of the France Canada Research Fund (FCRF), fellowships of $5,000 each were awarded to encourage and develop scientific and university exchanges between France and Canada in all areas of knowledge, from fundamental science to human and social sciences. The L’Oréal Canada France Canada Research Fund 2016 fellows are:
- Ms. Joanna Bundus, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
- Ms. Stephanie Kedzior, Chemical Engineering, McMaster University
A $5,000 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science – NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Supplement was awarded to a Canadian scientist involved in a promising research project, namely:
- Dr. Victoria Arbour, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Evolutionary biologist and vertebrate palaeontologist, University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum
L’Oréal Canada reiterates its commitment to women in science
At a ceremony held on January 21 at the French embassy in Ottawa, seven Canadian women researchers were awarded top honors under the L'Oréal Canada For Women in Science Program with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. The partners also took the opportunity to launch L’Oréal Canada For Girls in Science, an initiative to encourage high school girls to pursue careers in science.
Created in 1998 by L'Oréal and UNESCO, For Women in Science is now among the most prestigious programs of its kind. Since its inception, more than 2,250 scientists from over 110 countries have benefited from the program. In addition, national programs have been created in some sixty countries, including L'Oréal Canada For Women in Science in 2003 with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Thanks to the program, fellowships have been awarded to nearly 50 exceptional women scientists.
“The 2015 winners of the L’Oréal Canada For Women in Science Program fellowship embody the values of excellence, hard work, and innovation we want to encourage and support, in cooperation with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO,” said Frank Kollmar, President & CEO, L'Oréal Canada. “They are clear proof of the important role of Canadian women scientists, whose exceptional work contributes to the advancement of science and knowledge.”
L’Oréal Canada For Girls in Science Program launch
L’Oréal Canada took advantage of the ceremony to reiterate its commitment to promoting careers in science for women by putting in place a one-of-a-kind program for high school students. Called L’Oréal Canada For Girls in Science, this joint initiative with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Youth Science Canada marks a new level of involvement for the company.
In spring 2016, girls and boys at UNESCO network schools will take part in interactive workshops designed to make careers in science more attractive while breaking down the persistent stereotypes regarding women in the sciences.
To this end, L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowship winners and women scientists at L’Oréal Canada will participate as mentors.
“It is both a great honor and a great responsibility to be a role model for these teens,” said Katherine Farrajota, Manager, Drug Regulatory Affairs, L’Oréal Canada. “Working in the sciences ourselves, we’re well aware of the need to attract more women to these professions. The L’Oréal Canada For Girls in Science Program is therefore a great opportunity to reach girls right when they’re thinking about their professional future.”
The fellowship winners will take part in creating Web capsules for girls age 15 to 18 to provide information and support them in their decision-making process.
Professor Molly S. Shoichetof the University of Toronto was selected by an independent international jury as one of five global laureates (representing North America) for her work in polymer chemistry.
Link for application
Link to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO