Spanish scientist Ángela Nieto, L'Oréal-Unesco International Prize for Women in Science

The L’Oréal Foundation and Unesco have just announced the laureates of the 24 th edition of their L’Oréal International Award -Unesco For Women in Science, which recognizes five eminent women scientists from the five continents with exceptional careers. Among the winners of this year is the Spanish scientist Ángela Nieto, professor at the Institute of Neurosciences (CSIC-UMH) in San Juan de Alicante. Nieto thus becomes the second Spanish recognized with this prestigious international award since its origin in 1998, after Margarita Salas, who received the award in the year 2000. “I am proud to represent Europe with this award, and I would like to dedicate it to the people who have worked with me during all these years, to all the women scientists and to those girls who want to be, because they will surely get it ”, explains the Spanish scientist.

Ángela Nieto has been awarded for her fundamental discoveries on how cells change identity during development embryonic to spread and form different tissues. His work has paved the way for the understanding of how cancer spreads to other organs and forms metastasis.

Together with the Spanish scientist, awarded by Europe, the L’Oréal Foundation and Unesco have also recognized the following scientists with the L’Oréal-Unesco International Prize For Women in Science 2022 in the categories of Life Sciences and Environmental Sciences: by America Latina and the Caribbean, María Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado, for her pioneering work to better understand and prevent dengue; for North America, Katalin Karikó, for her pioneering work that led to the development of messenger mRNA vaccine technology; for Asia and the Pacific, Hailan Hu, for his important discoveries in neuroscience, especially focused on depression; for Africa and the Arab States, Agnès Binagwaho, for her remarkable contribution to the improvement of the Rwandan health system.

More than 350 nominations

Angela Nieto has been selected from among 358 nominations. The days 15, 16 and 17, the international jury, composed of 11 leading researchers in life and environmental sciences and chaired by Professor Brigitte Kiefer, Professor of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University (Canada) and Director of Research at INSERM (France), deliberated on the 59 shortlisted candidates from among 358, before selecting the five winners with the International Award, one for each major region of the world.

According to the latest Unesco report on science, published in June, although the number of women in scientific careers is increasing , reaching slightly more than 33% of researchers worldwide, this evolution is still too slow and the glass ceiling is still a reality in research: in Europe, the 86% of senior academic positions in science are held by men, and less than 4% of Nobel prizes in science have been awarded to women.

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