UNESCO showcased the exceptional contribution to science of the five laureates of the 18th edition of the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards and the 15 recipients of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Rising Talents Grants at UNESCO Headquarters on 23 March. One day before the ceremony, at the Mutualité Hall in Paris, in which the five laureates of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize received their awards, the session at UNESCO opened with a presentation of the For Women in Science Programme, which every year recognizes the work carried out by exceptional women researchers and supports the work of promising young talents.

The five laureates took part in a panel discussion entitled “Promoting Gender Equality in Science”.

Later, starting at 5pm, each of the 15 International Rising Talents’ grants receivers presented their work in a programme entitled “three minutes to change world”. The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents are promising young women, three from each world region, Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. They are selected among the best National and Regional fellows.

Rising Talent fellowships are awarded in four categories:

Technology and Engineering: Innovations that could change the face of medicine

Eszter Farkas, Hungary, targets for new therapies to lessen stroke-related brain injury,

Jasmeen Merzaban, Saudi Arabia, research on the migration of stem cells to understand better how they may be used to treat disease,

Yi-Lun Ying, China, using tiny holes to sequence DNA.

Physical sciences: A profound impact on our world

Elisa Orth, Brazil, development of nano-catalysts for multi-purpose sensors,

Dorthe Ravnsboek, Denmark, development of new battery technologies for more efficient, economical energy use and greater energy storage capacity,

Sabrina Stierwalt, United States, the study of galaxy mergers with implications for a new understanding of how galaxies evolve.

Life and environmental sciences: critical issues for the future of our planet

Maria del Rocio Vegas Frutis, Mexico, studying the role of soil fungi in the conservation and sustainable development of Mexico’s high altitude cloud forests,

Irina Didenkulova, Russian Federation, studying tsunamis, rogue waves and storm surges to improve the forecast of maritime hazards and mitigate their effects on land and sea,

Anaïs Orsi, France, the study of historical weather patterns in the interior of Antarctica to enable improved predictions for future climate change.

Solutions in health science through modern medicine

Habiba Alsafar, United Arab Emirates, Identifying genetic and environmental risk factors associated with diabetes-induced obesity and heart disease,

Maria J.Buzón, Spain, the study of new therapeutic strategies to cure HIV,

Hiba El Hajj, Lebanon, developing new strategies to treat acute myeloid leukaemia,

Risa Mukai, Japan, researching the underlying viral aetiology of adult T-cell leukaemia,

Bernadeta Szewczyk, Poland, boosting the effectiveness of antidepressants with zinc supplements,

Elena Tucker, Australia, understanding the genetic basis of early menopause.