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 2021 awards are now OPEN!
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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

Succeeding in the competitive world of science is challenging under the best of circumstances. But women scientists in countries with scarce resources and competing cultural expectations face significant additional obstacles as they strive to excel at careers in science. This awards program takes those factors into account by recognizing the research excellence of early-career women scientists from 81 developing countries. The program builds on the Elsevier Foundation-OWSD Awards for Young Women Scientists from the Developing World, which granted awards in 2010 and 2011.

Prizes are awarded annually on a rotating basis among the disciplines of Biological Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Physical Sciences. Each of the five winners will present their papers at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is attended by leading scientists, engineers, educators and policymakers from around the world.

Each year a total of five winners are selected, from the following regions: Latin America and the Caribbean; East and South-East Asia and the Pacific; Central and South Asia; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Download the partnership factsheet

Meet the 2020 winners

MarÍa Eugenia Cabrera Catalán (Guatemala) in particle physics. For her work focusing on the study of physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. Read more.

Khongorzul Dorjgotov (Mongolia) in financial mathematics and mathematical modeling. For her research in fractional calculus, differential equations, special functions, invariant solutions, mathematical modeling and financial mathematics. Read more.

Ghada Dushaq (Palestine) in applied physics and nanotechnology. For her work in solid state physics, applied physics, photonics and optoelectronics, nanotechnology and on optical materials and devices. Read more.

Imalka Munaweera (Sri Lanka) in inorganic and materials-chemistry. For her work in the area of synthetic chemistry and materials specially in fabricating different functionalized materials, nanoparticles, nanocomposite for various industrial applications. Read more.

Marian Asantewah Nkansah (Ghana) in environmental remediation strategies. For her work on contaminants in water, food, soil, and the atmosphere.


Recognition and visibility can make a world of difference to scientists just starting out.

Through her research and science diplomacy, an environmental chemist is changing the narrative in her native Ghana.

In Mongolia, the COVID-19 lockdown has created an usual problem for professors and their students.

Responsibility landed early on the shoulders of Dr Imalka Munaweera. As the eldest of four children, she would care for her three younger brothers and encourage them with their schoolwork.

When Dr Ghada Dushaq was a child, nothing was safe from her prying mind and fingers. If there was a remote control on the coffee table, she would take it apart to figure out how it worked.

Since 2013, the program has awarded and helped elevate the careers of 45 women researchers from 20 countries in the fields of biology, engineering and the physical sciences.

They come from developing countries around the world, and their research is transforming the world we live in. This year’s researchers are in the physical, chemical and mathematical sciences.

Every year, we celebrate the five winners of the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World during a special ceremony at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. This year, five women scientists […]

Early-career researchers living and working in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Yemen have been recognized for their work in engineering, innovation and technology Seattle, February 12, 202o. Five researchers have been named winners of the 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards […]

SEATTLE — Their stories are as fascinating as their science. Five women scientists have traveled here from Bangladesh, Guatamala, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Yemen to be honored for their outstanding contributions in engineering, innovation and technology. On Saturday, they received the […]

Applications for the 2022 awards will be accepted until 28 October 2021 for early-career women who have made significant contributions in the fields of climate action and the environment.

For FAQs about eligibility, prizes and the selection process, please refer to the OWSD website.