Four postdocs receive L’Oréal fellowships for women in science

23 June 2014

IOP member Eva-Maria Graefe was one of four postdocs to be awarded a L’Oréal UK and Ireland Fellowship For Women In Science in a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on 19 June.

Eva-Maria Graefe

Graefe, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of quantum mechanics at Imperial College London, plans to research leaky quantum systems using a formalism known as non-Hermitian quantum mechanics. She hopes to provide new theoretical tools for the description and prediction of novel experimental applications, building on her own recent conceptual breakthroughs.

Another physicist, Sneha Malde, was awarded a fellowship for her proposed research project on searching for “New Physics” through measuring the differences between matter and antimatter. A postdoc particle physicist at the University of Oxford, she conducts research at the LHCb experiment at CERN.

The two other winners were neuroscientist Clemence Blouet and medical researcher Tracy Briggs. The fellowships, worth £15,000 each, are intended to provide flexible financial help to enable the winners to continue research in their chosen field. The four awardees said that they would use the prize money on expenditure such as equipment, field trips, attendance at conferences, childcare and collaborations.

A quarter of the 289 women who applied for fellowships and half of the eight shortlisted candidates said that they would use the prize money to fund childcare. This highlights “the unique value of the fellowship in providing flexible funding to support women in science”, the organisers said. The awards are run by L’Oréal in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society.

Final selection of the winners was made on the day of the awards ceremony by a panel of expert judges chaired by the winner of L’Oréal’s International Laureate in 2013, Prof. Pratibha Gai. She said of the four awardees: “They are deeply talented, committed and hard-working scientists, who have huge passion for their research areas. I am excited to see what they all achieve in the coming year, and am confident that the influence and dedication of the female scientific community in the UK is well represented by these remarkable women.”