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L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science 2017 winner - Dr Manju Kurian

9 May 2017

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Dr Manju Kurian, of the Developmental Neurosciences programme at Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, is among five promising UK scientists who won prestigious fellowships at the 10th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women In Science. 

Importantly, winners will be able to spend their prize money on whatever they need in order to continue their research and take the next step in their careers, be that expensive lab equipment, field research or childcare costs.

The annual Fellowships programme provides £15,000 of flexible financial support for outstanding female postdoctoral researchers to continue research in their fields, as part of a wider L’Oréal-UNESCO programme aimed at supporting and increasing the number of women working in STEM professions in the UK, where 85% of jobs are held by men.

The winning scientists, selected from nearly 300 applicants, were revealed at a special ceremony at the Royal Society in London last night. They are:

· Dr Radha Boya, University of Manchester, Nanoscience

· Dr Annie Curtis, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Immunology

· Dr Manju Kurian, UCL Great Ormond Street, Neurology

· Dr Bethan Psaila, University of Oxford, Haematology

· Dr Priya Subramanian, University of Leeds, Mathematics

Professor Dame Carol Robinson, Chair of the Jury and a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Laureate, said: “These awards are well known in the science community and are always fiercely contested because of the vital support they provide. Each of our finalists is working on innovative and ground-breaking research, so selecting the winners was a tough task for the judges, but we are delighted they can now benefit from this support at a crucial stage in their careers, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their research in the future.”

Dr Steve Shiel, Scientific Director at L’Oréal UK & Ireland, said: “Now in its tenth year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme remains as important as ever. Women still face significant barriers to STEM careers, from a shortage of female role models for young children to a lack of support once on their chosen career path. Science needs women, and as a company founded on science, we are committed to ensuring more women are able to enjoy long and successful careers in science.”

About Dr Kurian:

Dr Manju Kurian, is a geneticist researching the genetic causes of cerebral palsy, a common childhood condition associated with significant disability. Although traditionally associated with birth injury, many children with cerebral palsy actually have a faulty gene causing their problems. In a preliminary study of 95 patients, Dr Kurian found a genetic cause in half of the children, and in some cases was able to identify more targeted treatments leading to striking improvements. Some disabled children have even regained the ability to walk independently.

About the For Women in Science programme

The L’Oréal UNESCO For Women In Science international programme was founded eighteen years ago by L’Oréal and UNESCO on the premise that ‘the world needs science and science needs women’ Over 2000 women from over 100 countries have been recognised for their research and received funding to further their studies since the programme was founded.

The UK and Ireland Fellowships were launched in January 2007.  The Fellowships are run in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the Irish National Committee for UNESCO with the support of the Royal Society. You can read more at www.womeninscience.co.uk