The For Women In Science initiative was founded 21 years ago by L’Oréal and UNESCO on the premise that ‘the world needs science, and science needs women’. Over 3,000 women from 117 countries have been recognised for their research and received funding to further their studies since its inauguration.

Locally, the For Women in Science UK and Ireland programme is brought to life by awarding Fellowships to outstanding female scientists across the fields of physical science; engineering, mathematics and computing; and life science. Since 2007, 57 female post-doctoral researchers have been awarded a Fellowship worth £15,000 (equivalent € in Ireland). These grants have been designed to provide flexible and practical financial support for winners to spend on scientific equipment, paying for childcare, travel costs or indeed whatever they need to continue their research. In addition to financial support each year past and present fellows receive training and networking opportunities supported by L’Oréal.


L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Alumnae UK and Ireland are also encouraged to apply for The Ambassador Fund; a dedicated fund for fellows to participate in public engagement, promotion of science and outreach activities to support their research. Applications can be made for any amount up to a maximum of £5,000.


The winners of the highly contested 2019 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK and Ireland Fellowships were announced on 15th May at the Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons surrounded by guests in the scientific community and MPs.

Congratulations to 2019 Fellows:

Dr Claire Donnelly

Dr Claire Donnelly of The University of Cambridge is researching ways to improve the efficiency of current data storage facilities, which currently have high carbon costs. As the call for more energy-efficient data processing and computing is growing, there is a need not only to improve and optimise current devices, but also to move beyond the state-of-the-art. The implications of this research have the potential to overcome the limitations of current systems and lead to the fast transfer of magnetic information in devices. The £15,000 Fellowship will allow her to take advantage of the excellent facilities available to her both in Cambridge and through international collaborations, by giving her access to electron microscopes and electronic equipment that will aid her in achieving the best possible results in her project.

Dr Jennifer Garden

Dr Jennifer Garden of The University of Edinburgh is finding sustainable alternatives for conventional polymers, to tackle the growing environmental implications of single-use plastics. Her research understands the essentiality of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations, as she works towards developing new catalytic routes towards unique degradable polymers from CO2. The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship will help her fund chemical analysis and overcome the obstacles she is facing, putting her closer to achieving her goal of becoming a global leader in sustainable polymerisation catalysis.

Dr Sepideh Khodaparast

Dr Sepideh Khodaparast of Imperial College London is researching chemical-free solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance, the most life-threatening consequence of the misuse and over-use of antibiotics. Sepideh’s research lies at the centre of engineering and microbiology, so the Fellowship will enable Sepideh to attend training visits to international laboratories to expand her expertise across the multidisciplinary nature of her research. She hopes to raise awareness in a larger community of scientists, engineers and industries to seek alternative physical therapies and in the longer-term, to encourage the technical progress and scientific collaborations necessary for establishing her early career in this field.

Dr Katarzyna Kowal

Dr Katarzyna Kowal of The University of Cambridge is exploring mathematical applications to the fluid mechanics of glacial ice sheets, to understand the dynamical controls of their stability. The growing threat of rising sea levels can result from the unstable dynamic of ice sheets alone, with the potential to alter coastlines and metropolitan areas, as we know them. The Fellowship will give Katarzyna the budget for equipment and consumables necessary to the design and conduct of laboratory experiments and testable theories to support her research. In the future, Katarzyna hopes to initiate her own research group by involving students in her research in a pathway towards securing a permanent research position.

Dr Margherita Yayoi Turco

Dr Margherita Yayoi Turco of The University of Cambridge is investigating how the endometrium supports the development of the early placenta, to help understand the cause of pre-eclampsia and other Great Obstetric Syndromes. Her research has the potential to contribute towards devising treatments for these disorders that affect many women across the world every year. The Fellowship would allow Margherita to fund specific biological experiments crucial to the advancement of her research, and establish her as an internationally renowned independent researcher in a highly competitive field.


For more information on both our global and UK and Ireland programme, and information on how to apply for the 2020 Fellowships, visit: