Friday, 11 September 2009

AU honours first African women scientific researchers

9 September. The African Union Commission rewarded five African women researchers for their excellent research works.The award programme targets young researchers at African Union member state level, women at regional level and outstanding scientists at continental level.The awards acknowledged the contribution of the researchers to progress in science and are expected to raise the profile of women and young researchers.

The five women researchers, each of whom won a prize of US$ 20,000, are two from Mauritius, two from South Africa and one from Egypt.
  • Professor Romeela Mohee, the first female professor in engineering and first female dean of Faculty of Engineering at the University of Mauritius , who is now Chair in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, won her prize in the Basic Science, Technology and Innovation Sector for her research on waste management practices.
  • Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Chair in Organic Chemistry at the same university, won the prize in the Earth and Life Sciences Sector. Ameenah created the first ever database on medical and aromatic plants for Mauritius and for the South West Indian Ocean.
  • The only researcher from North Africa to win the prize, the Egyptian Sanaa S. Botros, Professor of Pharmacology at the Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, was selected for the Earth and Life Science Sector for her research on tropical diseases medication.
  • Dr. Lee-Anne McKinnell and Dr. Brenda Diana Wingfield, both South Africans, won the same prize in the two respective sectors for contributions in areas of space science and research on the molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of tree photogenic fungi, respectively.
'They [the five women] are the real hope (who) can stimulate not only their work in the future but also future generations to go in this direction,' said Janez Potocnik, European Union Commissioner for Science and Research, during a press conference. Potocnik and Professor Jean-Pielle Ezin, African Union Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology, presented the awards to the researchers.

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Organisation de la Presse Africaine - ‎Sep 9, Ethiopia / Commissioner Potocnick briefed on African Union activities