Since 2012 the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World recognize the achievements of researchers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge. The program represents a longstanding partnership between the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and the Elsevier Foundation.

Applications for the 2024 awards are now closed.

About the awards

“These scientists are performing groundbreaking international-level science, often in circumstances where the deck has been stacked against them, 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.” OWSD President Prof. Jennifer Thomson

Women scientists in developing countries often experience isolation, lack of role models and visibility. For the past ten years, the Elsevier Foundation has collaborated with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)  to address these issues through an awards and recognition program for talented early career women scientists from Africa, the Arab region, Asia and the Pacific region, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Each winner receives a cash prize of USD 5,000 and is sponsored to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held each year in February. The winners are presented with their awards at a special AAAS networking ceremony, and have the opportunity to attend workshops and sessions, meet experts in their fields, visit local laboratories and institutions, and attend a celebratory networking dinner organized by the Elsevier Foundation.

In 2021, the awards were re-focused to align more closely with the United Nations SDGs. The awards’ annual focus was shifted from specific scientific disciplines to broader SDG topics and research areas. The 2022-2026 awards cycle is focused on: 2022: Climate action and the environment (SDG13, 14, 15) 2023: Food Security, agricultural productivity and sustainable food production (SDG2), 2024: Water, sanitation and hygiene (SDG6), 2025: Inclusive Health (SDG3), 2026: Sustainable, affordable and reliable energy (SDG7).

Download the partnership factsheet

Meet the 2023 winners - Food security

  • Renuka Attanayake, of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka: plant and molecular biology; crop disease identification and management
  • Carla Fabiana Crespo Melgar, of the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, Bolivia: biotechnology and microbiology; increasing agricultural productivity
  • Haneen Dwaib, of the Palestine Ahliya University, Palestine: nutrition and dietetics; obesity and dietary interventions
  • Eugenie Kayitesi, of the University of Pretoria, South Africa: food science and technology; improved use of indigenous plant-based foods
  • Gabriela Montenegro-Bethancourt, of the Maya Health Alliance, Guatemala: life sciences and nutrition; maternal mortality and child malnutrition
  • Munkhjargal Tserendorj, of the Mongolian University of Life Sciences, Mongolia: veterinary medicine, animal and food hygiene; diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases
  • Yeyinou Laura Estelle Loko,Université Nationale des Sciences, Technologies, Ingénierie et Mathématiques, Benin: entomology, plant genetic resources and crop protection; insect pests and resistant crops