5 women scientists from Global South win award for water quality research

Published: Tuesday 9th April 2024
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The 2024 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Women Scientists recognizes researchers from Bangladesh, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.

Five researchers have been awarded the 2024 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing Worldopens in new tab/window for innovative research that helps meet the challenge of improved water quality, advancing UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitationopens in new tab/window — an issue that disproportionately affects women and girls around the world.

Their research explores a wide range of pioneering ways the challenge of water quality can be tackled, from using hydrological modelling to bioremediation with bacteria, and from creating nanocomposites for heavy metal removal to working with communities to develop sustainable practices. The prize also acknowledges the scientists’ commitment to leadership, mentoring and engagement within their communities, including the translation of research into actionable insights for stakeholders.

“Clean water is as essential a need as it gets — not only for humans but for the ecosystems that sustain us. Our five amazing winners this year are all working in their own different ways to make sure that the most vulnerable communities have access to clean water, and that critical ecosystems such as our coral reefs and wetlands are protected“, said Jennifer Thomson, PhD, President of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).

The awards have recognized women-led science from more than 20 low- and middle-income countries since 2013. They are given in partnership by the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSDopens in new tab/window) and theElsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window. OWSD fields applications and chairs a panel of distinguished scientists to select the winners, and the Foundation awards a cash prize for each winner of USD $5,000, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to attend a relevant conference in the awardees’ field to provide them with vital networking opportunities. In 2024, awardees will attend Singapore International Water Weekopens in new tab/window. The winners will also have the opportunity to publish their work in STAR Protocolsopens in new tab/window, an open access, peer-reviewed journal by Cell Press which offers structured, transparent, accessible and repeatable step-by-step experimental and computational protocols from all areas of life, health, earth and physical sciences.

Past award winners have been invited to meet their country’s presidents and have been celebrated by local, national and international media, while other winners have gone on to receive other prestigious awards and fellowships, including L’Oreal–UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships, and to hold influential scientific leadership positions, including National Secretary of Science and Technology.

“With these awards, our vision is to celebrate impressive women scientists who are helping to make real progress towards advancing the UN SDGs. We know that women and girls bear the brunt of the water and sanitation crisis, yet we do not have gender parity in research around issues disproportionately affecting women around the world. By offering this prize, we want to spotlight the important research undertaken by the women who’ve become inspiring role models for communities most affected by this issue“, said Ylann Schemm, Executive Director of the Elsevier Foundation.

Read the full article on Elsevier Connect: “5 women scientists from Global South win award for water quality research“, Rebecca Clear, 9 April 2024.