L’Oréal-UNESCO International Award

For Women in Science empowers brilliant women scientists by rewarding and promoting their outstanding research and raising their profile at a global level.

L'Oréal-UNESCO International Award

Rewarding outstanding women scientists

The For Women in Science International program functions at multiple levels in order to reach women at all stages of their scientific careers and support them in overcoming the obstacles that too often prevent women from becoming senior researchers. This starts with our International For Women in Science program, which honours five brilliant female scientists each year for their remarkable contribution to advancing research, promoting their work globally and empowering them to act as role models for aspiring women scientists and future generations. 

122 international Laureates since 1998.
Laureate L'Oréal-UNESCO International Award

An international, highly respected scientific jury selects our five laureates from hundreds of nominees, recognising their distinguished achievements on a global scale. We reward researchers in Life and Environmental Sciences, and Physical Science, Mathematics and Computer Science in alternate years. To support women-led scientific excellence in addressing societal needs worldwide, we select one Laureate from each of the five major continents: Africa and the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America. Each Laureate receives €100,000 to further her research, together with media training and extensive media opportunities to raise her profile within the international scientific community and the general public.

Five of our 122 international Laureates have received Nobel Prizes for Science: Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), Ada Yonath (2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Elizabeth H. Blackburn (1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) and Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna (2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry).

Laureates 2021

  • Laureate for Africa and the Arab States

    Professor Catherine Ngila

    Acting Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences, Former Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic and Student Affairs (DVC-AA) at Riara University, Kenya, and Visiting Professor of Applied Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. 

    Awarded for introducing and developing nanotechnology based analytical methods for the monitoring of water pollutants and applying them in countries heavily impacted by pollution. Her innovative work is of vital importance for the development of sustainable water resource management, respecting the environment. 

    Catherine NGILA L'Oréal-Unesco Laureate 2021

    Laureate for Asia and the Pacific

    Professor Kyoko Nozaki

    Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo, Japan. 

    Awarded for her pioneering, creative contributions within the field of synthetic chemistry, and their importance to industrial innovation. 

    Her research has led to new, highly effective and environmentally friendly production processes to manufacture molecules useful for medicine and sustainable agriculture. 

  • Laureate for North America

    Professor Shafi Goldwasser

    Director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California Berkeley, RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, United States of America and Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Weizmann Institute, Israel. 

    Awarded for her pioneering and fundamental work in computer science and cryptography, essential for secure communication over the internet as well as for shared computation on private data. Her research has a significant impact on our understanding of large classes of problems for which computers cannot efficiently find approximate solutions. 

    Shafi GOLDWASSER L'Oréal-Unesco Laureate 2021
  • Françoise COMBES L'Oréal-Unesco Laureate 2021

    Laureate for Europe

    Professor Françoise Combes

    Professor and Galaxies and Cosmology Chair at the Collège de France in Paris, and Astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory - PSL, France. 

    Awarded for her outstanding legacy in astrophysics which ranges from the discovery of molecules in the interstellar space to supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation. Her work has been crucial in our understanding of the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies, including the role played by supermassive black holes at galactic centers. 

  • Laureate for Latin America and the Caribbean

    Professor Alicia Dickenstein

    Professor of Mathematics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

    Awarded for her outstanding contributions at the forefront of mathematical innovation by leveraging algebraic geometry in the field of molecular biology. Her research enables scientists to understand the precise structures and behavior of cells and molecules, even at a microscopic scale. Operating at the frontier between pure and applied mathematics, she has forged important links to physics and chemistry, and enabled biologists to gain an in-depth structural understanding of biochemical reactions and enzymatic networks.

    Alicia Dickenstein L'Oréal-Unesco Laureate 2021

The jury

Each year, an international highly respected scientific jury selects the five Laureates of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award from hundreds of nominees, recognizing their distinguished achievements on a global scale.