The image on the left shows our colleague in the School of Physics, Rukmani Mohanta at the WISE 2011 (Women in Science and Engineering) conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 29 September. That was the day that TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, OWSD the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World and The Elsevier Foundation announced that they are recognizing eleven talented women scientists from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their research excellence.
Dr Mohanta is being recognised for her contributions in high energy physics, and is the only awardee from India. Each winner will receive a cash prize of US$5,000.
The press release says: “Once again, the standard of the winners selected for the OWSD Awards for Young Women Scientists from the Developing World has been outstanding. For us, this is not a surprise, as we are well aware of the excellent contributions that women are making to science,” noted Professor Fang Xin, President of OWSD. “The aim of the OWSD Awards, therefore, is to honor the work of these young researchers, bringing it to the attention of the scientific and policy-making communities in their countries, and to highlight their successes so that they may act as role models to other girls and young women who might be considering a career in science.”
Lubna Tahtamoouni, winner from The Hashemite University in Jordan said, “Over the years I came to recognize that it is difficult for women to do science since they have to juggle their career, marriage, motherhood and other social obligations. Winning such an award made me more confident about my decision of pursuing a career in science. Women need recognition, especially young women to give them that ‘head start’ and confidence. This award is celebrating women!”
Denise Evans, biological sciences winner from South Africa added, “It is important to highlight that women, even from developing countries, are doing great things – making breakthroughs, contributing to advances in medicine, science, chemistry and engineering – becoming leaders and experts in their field. It is important to acknowledge young scientists so that they may be motivated from an early age to stay in science and develop a career in science and research.”
Through a grant from the Elsevier Foundation, the OWSD Awards for Young Women Scientists from the Developing World were expanded to cover three disciplines in each region – Biology, Chemistry, and Physics/Maths. The grant was made as part of the Elsevier Foundation New Scholars program, which supports programs for women scholars during the early stages of demanding careers in science and technology. After a rigorous review by the four regional OWSD committees, shortlisted candidates in each discipline were nominated and subsequently ranked by the regional vice presidents and Professor Fang Xin, the current OWSD president.”
Heartiest Congratulations, Dr Mohanta!