The OWSD newsletter brings you the latest news and announcements from the Secretariat and from our international network. In this edition, we share the results of the OWSD Presidential and Vice Presidential elections, introduce you to a creative new venture in filmmaking, meet two OWSD fellows as well as many recent PhD graduates, and more.
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The OWSD newsletter brings you the latest news and announcements from the Secretariat and from our international network. In this edition, we meet the newly awarded 2023 OWSD Early Career fellows, introduce the two newest National Chapters of OWSD, and more.

Introducing the 2023 OWSD Early Career Fellows

2023 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award winners

OWSD is pleased to announce the 28 women who have been granted the 2023 Early Career Fellowship. These scientists will receive up to USD 50,000 to lead research projects and establish research groups at their home institutes in 16 countries in the developing world. They are working on subjects ranging from the recycling of household biowaste into biogas, to development of fortified snacks to address iron and folic acid deficiency in pregnant women, to patenting new strains of bacteria to block arbovirus transmission in Africa. They include the first fellows awarded in Eswatini, El Salvador, and Côte d'Ivoire.

Celebrating 2023 PhD Fellowship Graduates  

Fourteen women scientists from 11 countries in the developing world who received the OWSD PhD fellowship have graduated with their doctorates. From an agronomist studying ancestral forest species in Benin, to a physicist from Syria developing ultrasensitive sensors to diagnose dopamine deficiencies, they are already making big changes to a world that needs their vision, their ideas and their talent.          

OWSD National Chapters at ISC Global Knowledge Dialogue

PhD Fellowship

In October, representatives from 6 OWSD National Chapters came together in Kuala Lumpur to exchange best practices and discuss funding opportunities, as well as to take part in the regional Global Knowledge Dialogue - Asia organized by the International Science Council, where they engaged in pivotal discussions on diversity in science systems and the future of funding science for sustainability in the region.

Even though we met for a short time, I had a lot of fun that I didn't expect. I am very happy to meet such talented and outstanding young scientists. I really hope that there will be more collaborative opportunities in the future.

Amy Thein, Chair of the OWSD Nepal National Chapter, on the National Chapters' regional meeting in Malaysia

In Nature: Study shows OWSD PhD fellows contribute to capacity building in home countries

A new article published in Nature Index calls attention to the study recently published in Organization Science by researchers Caroline Fry and Jeffrey Furman, which found that colleagues at OWSD PhD fellows' home institutes had 10% more publications on average when compared to colleagues of women who applied for but did not receive the fellowship - but only when they moved between countries with relatively high gender equality. The study underlines the importance of international mobility and networks to scientists in developing countries.

Meet the OWSD Fellows:

Mary Adjepong

Nutrition scientist Mary Adjepong, a 2022 OWSD Early Career Fellow, is helping to improve the growth and development of Ghanaian children through innovative food-based approaches, as well as to make nutritional information more simplified and accessible to the public by way of her popular YouTube channel.

OWSD Applauds

Mercy Akinyi

@mercie_aki · Sep 13

Thanks to @OwsdSecretariat and @primateresearch my OWSD fellowship has successfully ended with a wonderful community outreach session on Zoonoses in wild primates and a tree planting exercise!!

In this corner we highlight some of the most exciting recent achievements of our fellows, alumnae, and awardees. Way to go, ladies!

  • Susana Arrechea, a 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation awardee, won the National Innovation Award for development in Guatemala from the National Secretary of Science and Technology, for her organization New Sun Road's, project, 'Digital Community Centers'.

  • Olubukola Oluranti Babalola, OWSD Vice President for the Africa region and a 1999 PhD fellow from Nigeria, received the 2023 Research Excellence Award from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciencs at North-West University, and was named a 2023 Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher in the cross-field category.

  • Chioma Blaise Chikere, a 2005 PhD fellow from Nigeria, was interviewed by the Association of African Universities (AAU) Television team in October 2023 at the AAU headquarters in Accra, Ghana during the AAU Talks programme, speaking on ‘Breaking Barriers: Advancing Women Education and Mentorship in Science Across Africa’.

  • promotion ceremony
  • Ossénatou Mamadou, a 2019 Early Career fellow from Benin, published a new paper on her research at the regional level in Meteorological Applications, ‘Testing the Suitability of Marginal Distribution Sampling as a Gap-Filling Method Using Some Meteorological Data from Seven Sites in West Africa,’ with coauthors Djidjoho Renaud Roméo Koukoui, Miriam Hounsinou, and Basile Kounouhéwa.

  • Raquel Matavele Chissumba, a 2020 Early Career fellow, was as appointed Director General of the Centro de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Etnobotânica (CIDE) (Center for Research and Development in Ethnobotany) of Mozambique, a public institution for plant research and development.

  • induction ceremony
  • Etheldreda Nakimuli-Mpungu, a 2016 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation awardee, had her work on culturally appropriate evidence-based group support psychotherapy recognized and featured in the December 2023 newsletter of the World Federation of Psychotherapy. Her work uses group psychotherapy to address depression among people living with HIV in Uganda.

  • Priscilla Nyadoi, a 2001 PhD fellow from Uganda, was appointed Deputy Director of the Directorate of Graduate Studies, Research and Enterprise at Uganda Martyrs University, effective 1 January 2024.

  • Paola Rocabado, a 2019 PhD fellow from Bolivia, published the first chapter of her thesis, ‘Restoration of montane forest on degraded soils: Early fertilization fivefolds post-plantation growth of Polylepis australis’ [Spanish] in Ecología Austral. She also presented her research on ‘Exploring the potential of early fertilization in degraded soils for the restoration of native mountain forests’ at the International Symposium of Ecological Restoration Practices and National Meeting in Ecological Restoration in Argentina.

OWSD Around the World

Here are a few recent highlights from our network of 54 active National Chapters.

New National Chapters
launched in Burundi and Lesotho

OWSD Cameroon logo

The OWSD Cameroon National Chapter organized a two-day 'OWSD Nanodays' training workshop in November on the theme 'Nanomaterials, new multidisciplinary approaches in applied sciences in Africa'. The workshop was led by PhD alumna and Early Career fellow Linda Nyamen and was held at the Faculty of Science of the University of Yaoundé I. It was attended by the university's Dean of the Faculty of Science, Vice Dean of Student Affairs, and Head of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry, among other invited speakers and participants. The event was covered by the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) media.


OWSD Pakistan logo

The OWSD Pakistan National Chapter in collaboration with the Karachi Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (KIBGE) at the University of Karachi and the Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA) hosted an informative event on 'The Culture of Biorisk Management in the Laboratories of Pakistan: A Journey from SARS-CoV to NIPAH.' Saeed Khan, President of PBSA, gave a talk recounting his team's response during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic; National Chapter leaders presented him with a shield of appreciation.

OWSD Sri Lanka logo

The OWSD Sri Lanka National Chapter hosted an 'Executive Edge' event on 19 October with Kshanika Hiruburegama, Senior Professor of Botany and Former Vice Chancellor at the University of Colombo and former Sri Lankan ambassador to France. The evening was designed to give an insight into the country's specific development in STEM fields and scientists' role in the economic development of the country. The Sri Lanka chapter also hosted its first Women Beyond Boundaries (WBB) event on October 23 with Indian neuroscientist Asha Gopinathan, who works on issues of gender and STEM in India and the U.S. The event was held at the Open University of Sri Lanka.


Members of the OWSD Sri Lanka National Chapter at the 'Executive Edge' event in October.

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