Computer scientist Jean Fan and educational charity The STEM Belle are recipients of this year’s Awards for Inspiring and Innovating Science organized by Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies.
A post-doctoral fellow in bioinformatics at Harvard University and a charity organization that furthers STEM* subjects for girls in schools in Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan are the recipients of this year’s Awards for Inspiring Science and Innovating Science. The awards, organized by Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies, support the achievements of women in science and initiatives promoting STEM subjects to girls and young women. The winners are announced at a ceremony held at The Estée Lauder Companies UK headquarters.
The winner of the Award for Inspiring Science is Dr. Jean Fan, who was selected for her research into computational and statistical approaches for analyzing single-cell data, her commitment to providing open-source software, and her role leading numerous outreach projects to foster positive STEM identity in girls and enhance the visibility of women scientists.
This year’s Award for Innovating Science goes to The STEM Belle, a charity managed by Doreen Anene, who is currently completing a PhD in veterinary science in the UK and Australia. The STEM Belle runs awareness, mentorship, scholarship and educational programmes in schools in Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan with the aim of breaking cultural gender stereotypes towards careers in STEM fields and informing girls about the opportunities a STEM career can offer.
Winner, Dr. Jean Fan, said: “Unfortunately, women remain vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, in particular the computational sciences. Beyond the financial support this award provides, I hope that its visibility reminds us that by broadening and opening access to scientific educational opportunities and resources, we can empower each other with the knowledge to bring about change in our respective communities.”
Doreen Anene, winner of the Award for Innovating Science and Executive Director of the STEM Belle, said: “I applied for this award to create more awareness and gain high-level publicity about the work The STEM Belle is doing to get more girls into STEM, to connect, network and collaborate with other women in STEM, and to access more funding to attract more girls to STEM. Winning this award gives a huge morale boost to all of us at The STEM Belle and motivates us to keep working hard at closing the gender gap in STEM fields. I am excited about what the future holds for us through this award.”
Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President Global Research & Development at The Estée Lauder Companies and judging panel member, said: “We are so delighted to have partnered with Nature Research for a second year to showcase exceptional women scientists and engineers impacting the world with ground-breaking research, as well as to recognize mentors across the world who are making truly meaningful change to involve more young women and girls in STEM. We at The Estée Lauder Companies understand that it is only through recognizing the breakthrough research being led by women and supporting them through active mentoring that gender equality in these fields will be achieved. Congratulations to this year’s award winners – we are looking forward to seeing all of the results of the great work you will continue to do!”
Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief of Nature and judging panel member, said: “Many congratulations to the winners of this year’s Nature Research Awards for Inspiring and Innovating Science. Although the representation of women in science and the number of scientific papers authored by women is increasing, prizes for excellence in science are still overwhelmingly won by men. High profile accolades often attract media attention and the interest of the general public, so it is vital that we make sure the outstanding contributions of women in STEM are appropriately acknowledged. We hope that the recognition these awards provide will allow our winners to serve as role models and encourage many girls and women to pursue STEM at school, university and in their career. It is a great privilege to partner with The Estée Lauder Companies to achieve this goal.”
Award winners each receive a monetary grant of US$20,000 to spend on initiatives relating to their work, as well as additional funding for publication, or event funding, access to online Nature Masterclasses, mentoring through The Estée Lauder Companies and other publicity opportunities.
Winners are selected by judging panels consisting of academic scientists, external experts, as well as staff from Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies.
* STEM includes natural sciences, social sciences, mathematics, engineering and medicine.