2023 - All Press Releases

Breaking Down Barriers at the 2023 Inspiring Women in Science Awards

Hortense Le Ferrand and SwaTaleem Foundation’s Main Bhi Curie initiative named winners of the 2023 Inspiring Women in Science Awards, hosted by Nature and the Estée Lauder Companies

London | New York, 20 October 2023

Nature Awards and the Estée Lauder Companies announced Hortense Le Ferrand and the SwaTaleem Foundation’s Main Bhi Curie initiative as winners of the 2023 Inspiring Women in Science Awards. The winners were honoured at a ceremony in New York last night with a keynote from Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary General, Global Communications, United Nations.

“We need to communicate more and better – both about science itself and about the remarkable contributions that women bring in the field." Flemming remarked. " The challenge is as big as the stakes are high. Science is nuanced and complicated. Science changes. And, the efforts to explain why and how, and make science relatable, face an enormous pushback from individuals and teams spewing disinformation to undermine science – for financial, political or other gains.” Through the Inspiring Women in Science Awards programme, Nature Awards and the Estée Lauder companies, seek to address this.

Speaking of the awards, Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief of Nature, added, “Unfortunately, still only around 30% of women pursue research as a profession. Outstanding women at early stages of their career deserve recognition and reward for their contributions. If we are to see research done more equitably, addressing disparities in health outcomes, as well as technology and design, across sex and gender then we need more women in active research. We know that we can play a supporting role in this, by providing a platform for all researchers to discuss, address and build stronger foundations in scientific research. In their sixth year, Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science are one example of that commitment. I am delighted that once again we can recognise the work of some of today's most inspiring women in science.” 

This year’s winners are:

  • Hortense Le Ferrand, Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore - The Scientific Achievement Award - for her research into innovative materials that can be used for cooling electronics or housing, amongst other applications, and their direct application on ensuring a more sustainable environment. She is also highly active in promoting women in STEM, for example by mentoring young scholars. 
  • Main Bhi Curie initiative by SwaTaleem Foundation based in India - The Science Outreach Award - Main Bhi Curies, which translates to “I can also be Curie,” works with historically underrepresented girls in India to engage with and study natural sciences and increase their retention in STEM areas throughout their schooling.  The judging panel was particularly impressed with plans to involve education experts and local governments to both deepen the initiative’s impact and expand its reach. 

Lisa Napolione, Senior Vice President, Global R&D, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) added, “We are delighted to celebrate the sixth year of the Nature Awards for Inspiring Women in Science. Each year, the calibre of applications leaves me in awe, showcasing the exceptional accomplishments of women scientists and engineers from around the globe. At ELC, we believe that recognizing the breakthrough research being led by women and honouring their contributions toward developing the next generation of women scientists accelerates gender equality in their fields. We are closely aligned with Nature on this goal. Congratulations to this year’s award winners – we look forward to seeing the results of the great work you will continue to lead and to celebrating your every success!”

Around the world, ELC is dedicated to cutting-edge science with multidisciplinary expertise ranging from basic science and advanced technologies to the intersections of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. The company has 75 years of formulation authority and is deeply integrated into the scientific community, regularly presenting at leading events and publishing in peer-reviewed journals. ELC has a commitment to advancing women in STEM; within its own operations, all of the company’s R&D and innovation laboratories worldwide are led by women, and more than half of its scientists, engineers, and technical professionals are women. 

Springer Nature is committed to supporting progress and development in research, for all researchers across all disciplines and all global locations. These awards form part of a suite of programmes, which seek to provide a platform for all researchers to be able to share their work and communicate their impact, recognising the vital role that research plays in driving society forwards. More information on Springer Nature’s diversity, equity and inclusion commitments can be found here. More on the awards programme can be found here


(1) The awards aim to champion those who are working to encourage girls and women* to engage with STEM** subjects and who work to support women to stay in STEM careers around the world. 

Note to Editors

*We use an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and ‘women’. We welcome those that self-identify as women, trans women, genderqueer and non-binary people.

**STEM includes natural sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Judging process:

  • Winners are selected by a judging panel consisting of editors from Nature Portfolio, academic scientists, external experts working in organisations supporting access to science for women, and our corporate partner, Estée Lauder Companies. 
  • The award winners each receive prize money of US$50,000 to spend on initiatives relating to their work, mentoring through Estée Lauder Companies and other publicity opportunities. Profiles of the winners have been published on the Nature Awards website.

Award categories:

  • The Scientific Achievement Award, recognising early-career women researchers that have made an exceptional contribution to scientific discovery, and may have faced significant challenges. 
  • The Science Outreach award  is presented for initiatives that support girls or young women to engage with STEM subjects or to increase the retention of women in STEM careers.

About Nature Portfolio 

Nature Portfolio’s high-quality products and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences is dedicated to serving the scientific community.

Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading, international weekly journal of science. Nature Portfolio is also home to the Nature research and Nature Reviews journals, the leading open access multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications, and open access journals including Scientific Reports. Together, these journals publish some of the world's most significant scientific discoveries.

Online, nature.com provides over nine million unique visitors per month with Nature Portfolio content, including news and comment from Nature, and the leading scientific jobs board, Nature Careers. Nature Portfolio also offers a range of researcher services, including online and in-person training and expert language and editing services. For more information, please visit nature.com and follow @nresearchnews. Nature Portfolio is part of Springer Nature.

About Springer Nature

For over 180 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared. We support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and provide quality publishing support to societies. 

As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Portfolio, BMC, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American. For more information, please visit springernature.com and @SpringerNature.

About the Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers, marketers, and sellers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products, and is a steward of outstanding luxury and prestige brands globally. The company’s products are sold in approximately 150 countries and territories under brand names including: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Lab Series, Origins, M·A·C, La Mer, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Bumble and bumble, Darphin Paris, TOM FORD, Smashbox, AERIN Beauty, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, GLAMGLOW, KILIAN PARIS, Too Faced, Dr.Jart+, and the DECIEM family of brands, including The Ordinary and NIOD. 


Eseohe Yamasaki | Head of Communications, US | Springer Nature Group


Juliette Kretels | External Communications | Springer Nature Group


Sarah Vickery | Vice President, Global Scientific Communications | The Estée Lauder Companies