Johannesburg, 23 November 2021 – 2021 marks the third edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science South African National Young Talents Programme. The programme supports young female scientists and rewards scientific excellence.

Women scientists are leading ground-breaking research across the world. But despite their remarkable discoveries, women still represent just 33,3 %* of researchers globally, and their work rarely gains the recognition it deserves. Only 3 % of Nobel Prizes for science have ever been awarded to women.

As the world hurtles towards a future threatened by climate change, resource scarcity and illnesses, the global scientific community must lose no time in recognising and promoting women scientists’ achievements.

The Foundation L’Oréal and UNESCO have worked together for more than 20 years to help empower more women scientists to achieve scientific excellence and participate equally in solving the challenges facing humanity.

“One day, we will live in a world where girls are encouraged to study science, where women have adequate support to balance the responsibilities of research and motherhood, and where scientists are judged purely on the merit of their discoveries and the potential of their work to change the world. We are proud to be supporting young women pursuing scientific careers across Africa through our South African and sub-Saharan Africa programmes.” Explains Gilles Antoine, L’Oréal South Africa Country Manager.

“This year as we once again honour six women scientists from across South Africa, for 2021, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting young women scientists, who are at the helm of ground-breaking research projects,” he concludes.

The six winners were recognised at an awards ceremony recently hosted in Johannesburg, for the 2020 and 2021 winners.

*UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (2021)

Learn More About The 2021 Research Projects – Click Here.

Post-Doctoral Category: Each post-doctoral award winner will receive a research grant of R160 000.

  1. Ezette Du Rand: Social Insects Research Group, University of Pretoria 

The overall goal of Dr. Du Rand’s research is to use the genetic diversity in different global honeybee populations to develop a scientifically guided breeding programme that selects for honeybee lineages that are tolerant against diseases and more versatile in coping with environmental stressors.

  1. Rouxjeane Venter: Clinical Mycobacteriology and Epidemiology, University of Stellenbosch

The aim of Dr. Venters’ study is to get a fast and accurate diagnosis for patients with Drug Resistant-TB so that they can get placed on effective treatment sooner. Often patients with Drug resistant TB do not get started on the correct treatment or are placed on treatment much later due to delays in proper diagnosis.

  1. Veshara Ramdas; The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Chemicals Cluster – Bioprocessing unit & the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal 

Dr. Ramdas is developing a product similar to a soil binder such as, cement, lime or bitumen for the road construction industry. Her research is biologically based and environmentally friendly. The outcomes from her research would be stabilising weak soils such as the soil present on unpaved roads in rural areas.

PhD category: Each post-doctoral award winner will receive a research grant of R80 000. 

  1. Cosnet Lerato Rametse: Gray Lab- Division of Immunology, University of Cape Town 

HIV remains a global burden that still needs urgent attention, there is still a high rate of new HIV infections, both globally and in South Africa. HIV acquisition in men through penile exposure is one of the least studied aspects of HIV transmission. Dr. Rametse’s project seeks to understand HIV susceptibility and acquisition mechanisms within the male penis. Males are a key contributor population group which is not widely researched.

  1. Emogine Mamabolo: Conservation Ecology & Entomology, Stellenbosch University

Dr. Mamabolo is developing an integrated soil health assessment tool using biological, chemical, and physical properties of soil. The soil health tool will be designed and analysed using sequences of multivariate techniques. This project is motivated by the fact that South African farmers are searching for reliable and easily measured indicators of soil health to monitor the sustainability of their enterprises.

  1. Lusani Mamushiane: University of Cape Town 5G Laboratory and The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Lusani’s research focuses on building a smart telecommunication infrastructure that will guarantee access to internet by any South African in any geographic location. The goal is to build a prototype that will demonstrate the feasibility of telecommunication infrastructure sharing to accelerate broadband penetration in South Africa and to bridge the current digital divide that continues to expand with the advent of unprecedented using cases such as smart cities, smart farming, smart manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality.

Women in Science 2020 and 2021 Winners

About the Fondation L’Oréal
The Fondation L’Oréal acts in favour of women around the world and supports them to help them achieve their goals in two major areas that are at the heart of the Group’s DNA: scientific research and inclusive beauty.

Created in 1998 and led by the Fondation L’Oréal in partnership with UNESCO, the For Women in Science programme aims to improve the representation of women in scientific careers, strong in the conviction that the world needs science, and science needs women. For more than 20 years, more than 3,400 researchers from 116 countries have been supported and highlighted.

Convinced that beauty is at the heart of the process of self-reconstruction and a vector of social inclusion, the L’Oréal Foundation is also developing free training in beauty professions for vulnerable people. It also provides access to beauty and well-being care in medical and social settings to support people in physical, mental or social suffering, as well as to reconstructive surgery operations.

Submitted by L’Oréal South Africa