Science by Women Scientific Committee advocates support for scientific careers


Madrid, the 30th of June 201. This afternoon, Science by Women International Scientific Committee’s third meeting consisting of a dozen renowned African and European women and men in science was held online.

The body, created in 2014 together with the Science by Women project itself, aims to guide, supervise and offer ideas to the management team in a programme that has grown exponentially since it took its first steps with five partner centres.

Today, with more than 28 centres throughout Spain and a hundred African female researchers as beneficiaries, the Scientific Committee has been pleased with the programme’s progress and has also reflected on its own role within it.

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega began the meeting with a report on this great development, together with the establishment of Nowisafrica, the network created by the beneficiary female scientists themselves.

She also paid tribute to the late Margarita Salas, who was a member of this Committee, and welcomed the well-known virologist Margarita del Val, who has just joined the Committee.

Several Committee members stressed the importance of monitoring the research beneficiaries and supporting them in the needs they may have once they return to their countries. They also advocated the organisation of scientific meetings where knowledge and challenges can be exchanged, interdisciplinarity and research careers’ support through mentoring.

Phare Nador, our centre in this northern Moroccan city, also received the Committee’s attention, as the Foundation wants one of its main activities to be environment, natural diversity and water research promotion and more widely subjects of particular importance in the area, as well as becoming a center of awareness and contact between female scientists.

The issue of research for peace and security also came up, which is especially necessary at a time of increasing conflicts in Africa and with them violence against women. All participants agreed to carry out a specific reflection on this topic, which could lead to a specific line of work in the future.

Finally, the president announced the organisation of a female scientists linked to Women for Africa large scale meeting at the new Mohamed VI University of the OCP Foundation in Marrakech in the near future.

In the coming days, Science by Women’s  7th edition call for applications will be published, in which 25 of the 28 associated scientific centres will participate.

The Scientific Committee, chaired by our President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, includes María Blasco, Director of the CNIO; Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, Director of the UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality Policies at STI; Cristina Garmendia, President of Genetrix; Sonia Abdelak, Director of the Biomedical Genetics and Ontogenetics Laboratory at the Pasteur Institute; Salimata Wade, former Director of the Human Nutrition Research Laboratory in Dakar; Francisca Nneka Okeke, Director of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nigeria; Glenda Grey, President of the Medical Research Council of South Africa; Rajaa Cherkaoui, Professor and Researcher in Nuclear Physics at Mohamed V University in Rabat; Londa Schiebinger, Director of the EU-US Project on Gender in Science, Medicine, Engineering and Innovation; Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme; Fatimata Dia Sow, former ECOWAS Commissioner for Social and Gender Affairs and currently Senegal’s Ambassador to the UK; and newcomer Margarita del Val, virologist at the Severo Ochoa Centre for Molecular Biology.

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