19 October 2016

The ceremony took place at Zayed University’s Convention Center in Dubai, four recipients of this year’s prominent L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Middle East Fellowship were each awarded a generous endowment, of EUR20,000, in support of their outstanding work as women scientists in the Middle East region. Based on the premise “The world needs science, and science needs women, because women in science have the power to change the world”, these awards recognize the contributions of Arab women scientists, acknowledging their vital role in furthering development in the region.

At the awards event last night, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance and President of Zayed University and patron of the event congratulated the winners. She said: “I commend the work being done by the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO through the “For Women in Science” Program which raises the level of scientific research in the region and encourages Arab women scientists to pursue their dreams, work for the progress of humanity and make a difference in the world. It is my honor to offer my patronage to a program that wholeheartedly motivates female scientists from the GCC and recognizes their excellent contribution to fields where women are underrepresented.”

Speaking at the awards event, Dr. Mouin Hamzé, Jury President, Secretary General of CNRS said: “It has been an honor for me to chair, for the 2nd year consecutively, the Jury Committee of the regional chapter of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Middle East Fellowship.  Once again we have witnessed a highly qualified and diverse pool of applicants from around the GCC, the number has been remarkably higher this year than in the past. The four winning candidates from: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; were unanimously selected by the Committee members for demonstrating significant and impactful contributions to the Research, Higher Education and Development in their respective fields of: Health Sciences, Chemical Engineering, Medical Engineering and Chemistry. ”

L’Oréal’s core values are founded on the idea of women empowerment, in nurturing their inner strength and encouraging their full potential. The L’Oréal Foundation’s For Women In Science Program is a game changer. It shatters the stereotypes that hinder the aspirations of the younger generation. It also champions the role of women by bridging the gender gap in science to create a more diverse playing field.

Studies have shown that the greater diversity there is in a research team, the more profound its impact on the quality of research that is generated. This is based on the understanding that a greater variety of viewpoints and approaches serves to enrich the conditions that lead to better quality research.

Mr. Thierry Houssin, Managing Director at L’Oréal Middle East said: “L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Middle East Fellowship continues to build on our firm commitment to women everywhere. As a group, we believe in gender diversity in order to make science of greater relevance to all. We work actively to make women be heard. As women make up one half of humanity, their voices must find expression if scientific research is to continue to solve our most pressing problems. Thus, our platform for this year’s awards is ‘Women in Science have the Power to Change the World’. We believe that this is a wonderful example of how L’Oréal strongly believes in championing women, and furthering their cause through the vital role of its L’Oréal Foundation.”

The 2016 Fellows Are:

  • Dr Hanifa Taher Al Blooshi, (UAE), assistant professor at the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at Masdar Institute: For her research in designing a new novel system for enzymatic biodiesel production.
  • Dr Maha Al Asmakh, (Qatar), assistant professor, Biomedical Science at the Health Sciences College in Qatar University: For her research on microbiota and its effects on brain development and reproductive health.
  • Dr Shimaa Hassan Eissa, (KSA), assistant professor of research at the Chemistry Department, College of Science and General Studies at Alfaisal University in Riyadh: For her research in the development of novel DNA Aptamer-based bio-sensing technology for the detection of Glycated Haemoglobin in human whole blood.
  • Dr Lila Habib, (Kuwait) assistant professor at the Biomedical Engineering Unit, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University: For her research in developing muscular dystrophy patient- specific induced pluripotent stem cell based assays for disease modeling.

The L’Oréal Foundation helps women fight against prejudice, break down barriers and conquer new areas in science. It celebrates outstanding women in science as they change the world through their discoveries in the physical and life sciences. Nearly 2250 women in over 110 countries have been the recipients of Fellowship. With UNESCO, the Foundation has honoured almost 100 award laureates for their research achievements two of whom have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.