Three postgraduate researchers from Stellenbosch University were honoured with the L'Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowships For Women in Science (FWIS) in Sub-Saharan Africa, on Wednesday 29 September. The ceremony took place at The Venue Greenpark in Johannesburg on Wednesdag night. Raquel Garcia, Penelope Dobrowsky and Bibi Nafiisah Chotun from SU each received between 5 000 and 10 000 euros to continue their research projects.
Dr Raquel Garcia's, from the Centre for Invasion Biology, project is titled 'Effects of plant invasions on native ectotherms under a warming climate'.
"I feel honoured to join all the incredible women who have been awarded L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science," Garcia said. "The fellowship will allow me to pursue the field component of my research relating to the effects of climate change and plant invasions on native reptiles. Together with Prof. Susana Clusella-Trullas, I will be tracking tortoises in the field to compare their activity patterns and thermo-regulatory behaviour in areas of pristine vegetation and in areas invaded by alien plants."
Dobrowsky's project is entitled 'Legionella Species Persistence Mechanisms in Treated Harvested Rainwater' and Chotun's is 'Hepatitis B virus-related liver cancer in South Africa: Investigations into the risk profile of a previously unscreened population from the Western Cape, South Africa'.
"Our changing world has never been in greater need of women and their discoveries. With the For Women in Science programme, the L'Oréal Foundation is committed to promoting these women in science who will change the world. We are determined to fight for science and to build a more beautiful world together," said Sandeep Rai, Managing Director, L'Oreal South Africa.
"This year applications were received from 26 Countries which is testament to the increasing awareness of the program and our commitment to advancing women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Fourteen female scientists in total from across Sub-Saharan Africa were honoured for their work and impact in the scientific field."
The L'Oréal Corporate Foundation started the For Women in Science partnership with UNESCO in 1998.
The objective of the Regional Fellowships is to bring support to young women pursuing scientific careers in dozens of countries throughout the world where L'Oréal does not have a subsidiary. The Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowship programme covers 49 countries.