Winners announced – Nature Research Award for Inspiring & Innovating Science 2020
Samira Asgari, an Iranian computational biologist, and Chicas en Tecnología, an Argentinian non-profit organisation, have been selected as the winners of this year’s award, organised by Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies
London | New York | Berlin, 14 October 2020
The winners of this year’s Nature Research Award for Inspiring & Innovating Science, which is organised in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies, have been announced today at a dedicated digital award ceremony. Now in its third year, the award celebrates and supports both the achievements of women in science and initiatives promoting STEM* subjects to girls and young women. The winner in each category receives a monetary grant of US$30,000 to spend on initiatives relating to their work, as well as additional funding for publication, event funding or mentoring through The Estée Lauder Companies, and other publicity opportunities.
This year the scope was refined to two categories: Scientific Achievement and Science Outreach.
Samira Asgari, postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, is this year’s winner of the Scientific Achievement category. Asgari’s research is revealing how human history shapes global genetic diversity and how this genetic diversity translates to phenotypic diversity. Her work highlights the need for expanding genetic studies to non-European populations and shows that diversity in genomics research is key to reducing health disparities and improving clinical care for all humans. Alongside her strong research record, Asgari is passionate about educating herself and others on the socially responsible communication of research results to avoid reinforcing false notions of race and hierarchy or strengthening biases that fuel disparity in public health.
Chicas en Tecnología (CET), a non-profit organisation based in Argentina, has been selected as this year’s winner of the Science Outreach category. The goal of CET is to increase the number of women entering careers in technology entrepreneurship by motivating, training and mentoring young women through targeted programmes and clubs. Melina Masnatta set up CET after working for over a decade in STEAM** inclusion projects. She began to investigate and uncover the social and cultural barriers, gender stereotypes and biases that prevent women from creating and implementing new technologies. She set up CET to change the education system by transforming the women within it.
Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President Global Research & Development at The Estée Lauder Companies and judging panel member, said: “It is more important than ever to commit to creating inclusive and supportive environments in STEM and to publicly advocate for science and scientists, because that is what truly enables discovery and innovation. Samira Asgari and Chicas en Tecnología, exemplify that importance of inclusivity, mentorship and outreach in STEM. They were chosen from a truly outstanding pool of applicants this year indicating the potential and strength of the future in STEM. We are very proud to have partnered with Nature Research for a third year, and we look forward to seeing how the research and mentoring efforts of our winners will continue to open doors for other women and girls in STEM.”
Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief of Nature and judging panel member, said: “Diversity in STEM subjects is key for the future advancement of science and our planet. It was so exciting and inspirational to review such a diverse range of applications this year, spanning almost all continents. Deciding on only two winners was even more difficult this year than before. I would like to congratulate Samira Asgari and Chicas en Tecnología not only for their achievements, but for their shared sense of social responsibility, commitment to diversity and their common attitude to the importance of science and technology literacy, outreach and communications everywhere. I hope that these awards will help raise the profile of women and girls in STEM all over the world and also remind the research community of the important role that each of us can play in standing up for science – it is a real pleasure to work with The Estée Lauder Companies to achieve these goals.”
Winners are selected by an expert panel of judges consisting of academic scientists, external experts, and representatives from Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies.
*STEM includes natural sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
**STEAM includes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
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