28 November 2013 – SINGAPORE – L’Oréal Singapore has awarded fellowships to two Singaporean women scientists under the prestigious 2013 L’Oréal Singapore For Women In Science National Fellowship program, at an event held in honor of the finalists and awardees. The annual awards are organized with the support of the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The awards aim to recognize the contributions of talented women to science; to encourage women to pursue careers in science; as well as to promote women’s participation in Singapore’s research and development sector.
The 2013 fellows are:
- Assistant Professor Sierin
Lim of the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering,
Nanyang Technological University, who was awarded the Life Science Fellowship
- Dr Chin Jia Min, Scientist II and Head of the
Laboratory of Advanced Porous Materials at the Institute of Materials Research
and Engineering, A*STAR, who was awarded the Material Science fellowship
FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE
The L’Oréal fellowships give visibility to women building careers in science, which is significant because women are readily gaining an education in science, yet a considerable portion of graduates do not pursue a career in the discipline that they study.
Christopher Neo, Managing Director of L’Oréal Singapore reiterated this, stating “The truth is that women are heavily under-represented in the field of science. Under 30% of the physicists, engineers and computer scientists in the world's knowledge based economies are women. Only about 12% of science-decision-making positions in universities and the private sector are held by women. These are the statistics that the L’Oréal Foundation hopes to help balance out through the For Women in Science programme.”
Christophe Hadjur, Director for Open Research in Asia and the Singapore Research & Innovation Centre for L’Oréal explained what the awards mean for L’Oréal. “Science has always been part of L’Oréal’s DNA. The company was founded by a Scientist, a Chemist, and till today, Research, and Innovation – not just development – are our guiding principles: we believe that only strong research can create products that are capable of generating real results.”
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards were established by the L’Oréal Foundation in 1998 as the first international awards dedicated to women scientists around the world. 15 years later, the programme is a benchmark of international scientific excellence; an invaluable source of motivation, support, and inspiration for women in the scientific field. L’Oréal Singapore embraced the programme in 2009 and has since recognized 12 Singaporeans as National Fellows.
Assistant Professor Sierin Lim received the Life Sciences Fellowship in recognition of her work in the design, engineering and development of hybrid nano/micro-scale devices from biological parts by utilizing protein engineering as a tool. Lim’s focus is to gain understanding of the self-assembly mechanism of the protein nanocages. She is exploring ways to apply protein nanocages as nano-scale carriers for therapeutic and diagnostic molecules, or as junctions to be used in microelectronics.
In acknowledging the fellowship, Lim said, “Using my career as an example, I hope to inspire curiosity and foster grit in young women to be future scientists; I’d like to engage more women to advance science and engineering.”
Dr Chin Jia Min also shares her love for science. "Science is wondrous - a fertile playground for the imagination. My greatest wish is to inspire my students to love their Science, and together, create something beautiful for everyone.”
Dr Chin received the Material Sciences Fellowship in recognition of her effort to create sustainable materials and processes that can contribute to improved environmental sustainability. She focuses her research on the creation of porous materials for applications in areas such as gas purification and storage, catalysis, controlled release, green building technology and environmental remediation. Dr Chin’s aim is to utilize bottom-up assembly to create materials that have traditionally been accessible only via top-down fabrication.
LEVERAGING THE FELLOWSHIP
Both fellows this year received grants of SG$30,000. This year marks the 5th year that L’Oréal Singapore has awarded the fellowships; and since 2009, 12 women scientists have received SG$300,000 in grants. The funds can be applied in whatever way the awardees choose. One recipient used it to fund a website; another for childcare, so that she could continue her research.
Dr Carolyn Lam, L’Oréal’s 2012 Life Sciences Fellow, used the funds and recognition that came from the award to start a tailor-made cardio-vascular research project for women at the National University Heart Centre Singapore. Dr Lam’s team was able to use the money to fund patient fees and investigations that were needed to found this research project. From there, they successfully applied for, and won a grant from the Singapore Heart Foundation to further their research. She said, “Being recognized as a L’Oréal For Women In Science Fellow has ignited even more awards for our research, and I’m really very grateful”.
Dr Jaslyn Law, L’Oréal 2012 Material Sciences Fellow says “This [award] has actually given me a golden key to unlock a brand new door of opportunity – with a network. This door that I am referring to is the door that has given me the publicity for my work that I’ve been doing. It acts as a common platform for me to engage in more scientific discussions to increase my knowledge and experiences [by] talking to different networks of people, as well as increasing my portfolio of networks and connections both locally, as well as overseas.”
Dr Lam says “I think women are gifted with sometimes looking at more creative ways of looking at things. We can certainly lead groups and lead our research team too. We may not do it the way the men do it, but I think we can be extremely effective in our own way.
Dr Law said “In the event of trying, you’ll be able to experience more and to learn more. And all these experiences build up and one day you’ll be able to realize your dream. So, to all these aspiring young women scientists out there – just do it. Make it happen.”- ENDS -
L'ORÉAL, the world's leading beauty company, has catered to all forms of beauty worldwide for over 100 years and has built an unrivalled portfolio of 28 international, diverse and complementary brands. With sales of 22.5 billion euros in 2012, L'Oréal employs 72,600 people worldwide. In 2013, the Ethisphere Institute, a leading international think-tank for business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, recognized L'Oréal as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. This is the fourth time that L'Oréal has received this distinction. www.loreal.com
Singapore National Commission for UNESCO
The Singapore National Commission for UNESCO is responsible for planning and coordinating Singapore’s programmes and activities in UNESCO. Chaired by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore, the Singapore National Commission is supported by three Sub-Commissions focusing on Education, Science and Culture & Information. More information can be found at www.unesco.sg.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.