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 OWSD PhD fellows as well as the new OWSD Executive Board, share several open opportunities including our annual award for early career scientists, honor one of OWSD's pioneering leaders, and more.

2021 OWSD PhD Fellows announced

2021 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award winners

OWSD is happy to introduce the 26 women who have been awarded the 2021 PhD Fellowship. Hailing from 17 countries in all four OWSD regions of the developing world, the new fellows will be supported to pursue their PhDs in STEM subjects at institutions in another country in the Global South. They intend to focus their PhD research on subjects ranging from deepfake detection in video, to early detection of plant diseases using image-based deep learning, to development of a framework to foster collaborative learning through the open-source Moodle learning management system.

Call for Applications:
2022 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards

in Climate Action & the Environment 

2021 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award winners

The Call for Applications for the 2022 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards are currently open to candidates working in the areas of climate action and the environment. Applications close October 28. These awards reward and encourage women working and living in eligible developing countries who are in the early stages of their scientific careers. Winners receive USD $5000 as well as a trip tp the prize ceremony at the AAAS conference in the US and other opportunities.

Meet the OWSD Executive Board 


More than 1000 OWSD members voted in the elections for the next Executive Board, who will be in place from 2021-2025. Meet all the Executive Board members, including many familiar faces and some new ones, here.

Call for Posters:
OWSD 6th General Assembly & International Conference

PhD Fellowship

OWSD invites members to submit posters for the OWSD 6th General Assembly and International Conference in November 2021, in one of four themes: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; the importance of basic sciences for development; the impact of applied sciences on development; and including sex and gender as variables in scientific research. Deadline 10 October.

OWSD pays tribute to
Lydia Makhubu, 1st OWSD President

Lydia Makhubu

OWSD deeply regrets the passing of our first President, chemist Lydia Makhubu from eSwatini. Prof. Makhubu was instrumental in organizing OWSD and served as President from 1993 to 2004. She will be remembered and admired for her profound dedication and achievements in advancing science—and particularly women in science—in the developing world.

Like many who knew Lydia Makhubu, her passing saddened me but her inspiration, dynamism and ability to stand up to her male counterparts with aplomb and grace, on a one-to-one footing, makes me more than happy that I had the privilege and honour of knowing, meeting and interacting with her. The footprints Lydia has left behind are big. Adios Lydia, your footprints will remain ingrained in the hearts and minds of all of us who have made it in the world of science thanks to the efforts of women like you.

Sandra Misquith-Colaco, India - OWSD member since 2000

More memories of Lydia Makhubu will be shared by OWSD in the coming weeks.

Meet the OWSD Fellows

Sayma Serine Chompa

Sayma Serine Chompa is a 2019 PhD fellow from Bangladesh currently completing a full-time fellowship at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her PhD research is focused on a group of bacteria called rhizobacteria that live in and around plant roots; find out why she is hopeful that these bacteria might be the solution to helping rice plants cope with increasing soil salinity.

Claire D'Andre Hirwa

Claire D'Andre Hirwa, a 2018 OWSD Early Career fellow, is on a mission to save the native local chickens of Rwanda. She hopes that by using genetic marker-assisted selection, she can help breeders quickly select indigenous chickens for egg production and other advantageous traits, improving nutrition security in the country while preventing farmers from having to rely on less sustainable exotic breeds.

OWSD Applauds

International Science Council

@ISC · Sep 20

Earlier this year, we asked you who was doing 👏 sign great work 👏 sign on improving #DiversityInScience. You recommended us these 7 orgs:



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

OWSD Around the World

Here are a few recent highlights from our network of 42 active National Chapters.

New National Chapters
launched in Benin and El Salvador

  • The OWSD Benin National Chapter was established in July 2021 with 67 members; it is the 16th in the Africa region and the 4th in West Africa.

  • The OWSD El Salvador National Chapter was established in September 2021 with 63 members; it is the 42nd OWSD National Chapter, and the 9th in Latin America and the Caribbean.

OWSD Colombia logo

The OWSD Colombia National Chapter, established in May, held its official launch event on August 18. The launch was broadcast from the social media platforms of the Fundación Universitaria Los Libertadores, the chapter's host institute. In addition to a panel on 'Globalization and science: Voices of Colombian women scientists', the launch event included a presentation by Chair Laura Galvis on how the national chapter will serve as a support system for Colombian women scientists to strengthen their relationships and development their capacities. In July, the Colombia National Chapter also launched a new mentoring programme, aimed at matching its members with experts in areas of personal and professional interest.[Es]

OWSD Nigeria logo

The OWSD Nigeria National Chapter held its 5th Biennial Conference from June 14-17 at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umudike, hosted by the Umudike branch. The conference, with the theme of ‘Making research count in national development: the role of women scientists’, welcomed 244 members from 14 states in Nigeria. Conference participants agreed on several resolutions, including promoting enabling policy frameworks for women scientists, encouraging inclusive action by all branches within the national chapter, and establishing formal and informal mentorship programmes for women scientists. Chair Ibiyinka Fuwape also hailed what she called the strength of the Nigeria chapter, the diversity and spread of its members.

OWSD Pakistan logo

The OWSD Pakistan National Chapter continued its parallel series of virtual lectures on 'Women Scientists Through Journeys of Challenges/Success' and on 'Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in Pakistan', the former with a lecture in June on 'Role and Challenges for Women Scientists: Past, Present and Future' with Prof. Rabia Hussain, and the latter in September with a lecture on glacier melt and other environmental changes in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

OWSD Kenya logo

The OWSD Kenya National Chapter organized a mentorship activity at Ngara Girls High School in Nairobi on June 23, in partnership with the Ngara Girls Alumnae Association. OWSD members at various stages of their careers, including older members as well as scholars currently pursuing their master's degrees, took part in the visit, where the younger members were presented as role models whom the students might more easily identify with.

OWSD Nepal logo

In July, seven OWSD members from Central America published the article: “Participation in Communities of Women Scientists in Central America: Implications from the Science Diplomacy Perspective”, a study of the experiences, dynamics, motivations and barriers for Central American women scientists´participation in groups, associations, communities and networks in four countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama.

OWSD SA logo

The OWSD Palestine National Chapter held several meetings of its Communication and Media Committee to develop a strategy to support and develop Palestinian women’s capabilities in various fields. Among the outcomes of their meetings were a brochure to introduce the Palestine National Chapter, an agreement to create introductory videos for members of the chapter for recruitment of more members, and a plan for a series of meetings with students studying on scholarships outside Palestine.

OWSD SA logo

The OWSD South Africa National Chapter organized members' participation in a number of webinars and online workshops and other events, including webinars on 'Advancing the Sex and Gender Dimension in the Research and Innovation Funding Process' with Prof. Londa Schiebinger and on 'Food Security and Nutrition: Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals', a gender mainstreaming workshop on climate change policies and implentation, and a roundtable discussion with the South African Young Academy of Science on 'Quo Vadis Science?'(Where are you going Science?).

OWSD Zambia logo

The OWSD Zambia National Chapter launched a series of Thursday 'STEM Talks' webinars to discuss various topics from academic writing to poultry farming and general life skills. Topics included in the webinars included 'Promotion of gender equality in the use of intellectual property,' 'Oral Presentation Skills', 'Gender in Agriculture: Value Chain Mapping', and 'Plant breeding and Technology.'


OWSD Nigeria National Chapter members from the Federal University of Technology - Owerri and
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, at the 5th Biennial Conference of the national chapter.

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