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Mercy Bankole & Funmilola Fagbola awarded at the L’Oréal-UNESCO 2019 Award for Women in Science



As part of the 10th edition of its regional programme for Women in Science, the Foundation L’Oréal, alongside UNESCO, held a ceremony honouring 20 female researchers who received the 2019 Young Talents Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa on Friday, November 22, in Dakar.

“The number of women in science is not yet significant: only 2.4%1 of the world’s researchers are African scientists, of whom 30% are women. Through the Young Talents Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa, we promote and support the continent’s remarkable female researchers. They play a key role to develop inclusive research in Africa, for Africa and conducted by Africans,” explains Alexandra Palt, Executive Vice-President of the Foundation L’Oréal.

Created in 1998, the for Women in Science programme, led by the Foundation L’Oréal in partnership with UNESCO, aims to promote women in the field of scientific research, where the glass ceiling remains a reality. Over the past 21 years, more than 3,400 women researchers from 118 countries have been highlighted.

This year, this Sub-Saharan Africa programme is celebrating its tenth anniversary. On this occasion, the Foundation L’Oréal and UNESCO doubled the number of young women researchers awarded each year in Africa.

In 2019, in addition to the 7 women scientists awarded in South Africa, 15 doctoral candidates and 5 post-doctoral researchers from 15 sub-Saharan African countries, including 2 from Senegal, have been honoured. They were selected for their scientific excellence out of nearly 400 applications.

The Young Talents received financial support for their scientific work, with allocations of €10,000 for doctoral students and €15,000 for post-doctoral students. These 20 researchers and the 7 scientists of the South African national programme have also benefited from training designed to give them more resources to pursue their careers.

This four-day training course, given by international experts selected by the Foundation L’Oréal, covered different dimensions: leadership, management, negotiation, public speaking, media training and personal branding.

The 2019 Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talents Awards were received by:

  • Regina Esinam ABOTSI – Doctoral candidate – Ghana – University of Cape Town, South Africa.
    Discipline: Health Sciences.
    Research project: Determining antibiotic resistance in potentially pathogenic bacteria present in the respiratory tract of HIV-infected children.
  • Becky Nancy ALOO – Doctoral candidate – Kenya – Laboratory, Nelson Mandela African
    Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha City, Tanzania.
    Discipline: Biological Sciences.
    Research project: Identifying novel species of Irish potato rhizobacteria to enhance yields.
  • Fatoumata BA – Doctoral candidate – Senegal – Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis
    Discipline: Fundamental medicine.
    Research project: Studying sleep to better fight metabolic diseases.
  • Dr Mercy Temitope BANKOLE – Post-doctoral researcher – Nigeria – Federal University of
    Technology, Minna Niger State.
    Discipline: Chemistry.
    Research project: Healing open wounds faster and better thanks to a nanocomposite.
  • Najah Fatou COLY – Doctoral candidate – Senegal – Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar.
    Discipline: Biological sciences.
    Research project: Better understanding infections during delivery to fight neonatal mortality.
  • Funmilola FAGBOLA – Doctoral candidate – Nigeria – Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
    Discipline: Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering.
    Research project: Detecting misinformation with proof and deep learning models, and nature-inspired algorithms.
  • Dr Nowsheen GOONOO – Post-doctoral researcher – Mauritius – Mauritius University, Moka
    Discipline: Materials sciences.
    Research project: Avoiding amputations by enhancing healing in diabetic wounds.
  • Fatou JOOF – Doctoral candidate – The Gambia – Banjul Open University.
    Discipline: Biological Sciences.
    Research project: Developing new antimalarial strategies by tracking genetic mutations.
  • Ruth KIHIKA – Doctoral candidate – Kenya – Nairobi Kenyatta University.
    Discipline: Chemistry.
    Research project: Identifying gene targets that correlate with biochemical pathways responsible for plant resistance to parasites.
  • Stéphanie Maubath Carène KONAN – Doctoral candidate – Côte d’Ivoire – Félix Houphouët Boigny University, Abidjan.
    Discipline: Informatics and Information Science.
    Research project: Geomatics at the service of the fight against malnutrition.
  • Carine KUNSEVI-KILOLA – Doctoral candidate – Democratic Republic of Congo – Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Discipline: Health Sciences.
    Research project: Combating tuberculosis contamination in diabetics.
  • Dr Jacqueline KYOSIIMIRE-LUGEMWA – Post-doctoral researcher – MRC/UVRI & London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Unité de recherche ougandaise, Uganda.
    Discipline: Health Sciences.
    Research project: Generating comprehensive data on the pre-existing immune status and its effect on vaccine response.
  • Dr Henintsoa Onivola MINOARIVELO – Post-doctoral researcher – Madagascar – Université de Stellenbosch, Afrique du Sud.
    Discipline: Mathematics.
    Research project: Using mathematical modelling and computational simulations to predict the fate of insect pollinators.
  • Celia MOFFAT JOEL MATYANGA – Doctoral candidate – Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe University, Harare.
    Discipline: Fundamental Medicine.
    Research project: Using the interactions between herbal traditional medicine and first-line treatment of HIV/Aids.
  • Mweete NGLAZI – Doctoral candidate – Zambia – Cap University, South Africa.
    Discipline: Health Sciences.
    Research project: An analysis of overweight and obesity in South Africa: the case of women of childbearing age.
  • Ines NGOH – Doctoral candidate – Cameroon – Buea University et London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Gambian Research Unit, Gambia.
    Discipline: Biological sciences.
    Research project: Understanding genetic variations, used by natural populations of malaria parasites.
  • Georgina NYAWO – Doctoral candidate – Zimbabwe – Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Discipline: Health sciences.
    Research project: – Assessing the microbiome in patients with tuberculosis to develop novel diagnostic interventions and therapeutic.
  • Dr Cécile Harmonie OTOIDOBIGA – Post-doctoral researcher – Burkina Faso – Ouagadougou Joseph Ki-Zerbo University.
    Discipline: Biological Sciences.
    Research project: Improving productivity of lowland rice in West Africa.
  • Francine TANKEU – Doctoral candidate – Cameroon – Yaoundé 1 University.
    Discipline: Biological Sciences.
    Research project: Treating leukaemia by allying biochemistry to the power of plants.
  • Jesugnon Fifamè Murielle Féty TONOUEWA – Doctoral candidate – Benin – Parakou University.
    Discipline: Environmental Engineering.
    Research project: Improving the Acacia wood supply chain in Benin.

See photos below.

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