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14 February 2019

2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award winners announced

Five women scientists from Bangladesh, Bolivia, The Gambia, Nepal and Palestine are recognized for their accomplishments in biological sciences.

The winners of the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards were announced Wednesday, 13 February, in Washington, D.C. The five early career researchers – living and working in Bangladesh, Bolivia, The Gambia, Nepal and Palestine – have been recognized for their work in environmental microbiology, ethnobotany, clinical pediatrics and epidemiology. The prize also acknowledges the scientists' commitment to leading and mentoring young scientists, and to improving lives and livelihoods in their communities and regions.

"These scientists are performing ground-breaking international-level science, often in circumstances where the deck has been stacked against them," said Jennifer Thomson, President of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD). "They deserve to be honored and celebrated for their dedication not only to their research, but to creating a better world for people to live in."

The five researchers (from left to right) are:

  • Tabassum Mumtaz of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (Asia Pacific region); in environmental microbiology;
  • Uduak Okomo of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the Gambia (Africa region); in pediatrics and epidemiology;
  • Narel Paniagua-Zambrana of the National Herbarium of Bolivia and Universidad Mayor de San Andres (Latin America and the Caribbean region); in ethnobotany;
  • Tista Prasai Joshi of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (Asia Pacific region); in environmental microbiology
  • Amira Shaheen of An-Najah National University in Palestine (Arab region); in epidemiology.

"Each year, it is inspiring to find out just how much of the research undertaken by our winning scientists focuses on crucial challenges addressed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals: creating sustainable bioplastics in Bangladesh; preserving traditional plant knowledge in Bolivia; reducing disease transmission to newborns in Africa; removing arsenic from water in Nepal; and investigating the health care system response to gender violence in Palestine," said Ylann Schemm, Director of the Elsevier Foundation. "In addition, working with OWSD and the AAAS to celebrate the success of these talented women scientists is both an honor and a joy."

Each award winner will receive USD $5,000 and will receive her prize at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., during a special breakfast ceremony on 16 February. 

Past OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award winners have been recognized by their country's presidents and celebrated by local, national and international media. They have received other prestigious awards and fellowships including L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships and the British Council Award.

The full press release, and information on previous award winners are also available. 

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