Dr Christina Riesselman, New Zealand For Women in Science Fellow 2015.

L’Oréal is proud to be supporting women researchers throughout the world who contribute to moving science forward.  

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme recognises the work of female scientists around the world.  With only 30% of the world’s researchers being women*, it aims to promote and highlight the critical importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science.

There are three programmes:

1. The International Laureate Programme:

L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards have recognised 87 Laureates, exceptional women who have made great advances in scientific research.  Two of them have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize. In 2007, New Zealand Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, Univerity of Auckland, received the Asia-Pacific Laureate award in materials science for her research on the synthesis of biologically active natural products that provide new lead compounds for the development of new drugs.

Read more about this year's International Laureates

2. The International Rising Talents Programme:

Recognising the best For Women in Science fellows from around the world each year, the ‘International Rising Talent Fellows’ are selected from the winners of the national and regional fellowship programmes.  Fifteen grants are given annually, covering each of the five regions: Africa & Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.

3. The National Fellowships:

The National Fellowships, such as the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Australia & New Zealand Fellowship programme, are run in 46 countries around the world.  Each National Fellowship helps female scientists at a critical point in their career to continue to pursue their research with flexible financial aid.  The Australia & New Zealand Fellowship programme comprises four $25,000 awards, three for Australian scientists and one dedicated to a New Zealander.

Since 1998, over 2,000 scientists in more than 110 countries have received this award, and 87 Laureates have also been awarded. 

While New Zealand women scientists have been recognised previously, 2015 is the first year the nation has had its own dedicated fellowship. 

Inaugural winner of the L’Oréal-UNESCO New Zealand Fellowship was University of Otago geologist Dr Christina Riesselman, to support her research into climate change. 

Dr Riesselman is using her Fellowship to focus on the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 years ago when earth warmed quickly and sea levels rose to their current levels.

“The Fellowship evens out the workload somewhat, enabling me to bring on board a research assistant to process thousands of samples taken from sediment cores around Antarctica,” says Dr Riesselman.

Climate change is not new, but the recent rapid change is particularly significant.

“While climate changed in the past due to natural causes, it happened over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. Since the industrial revolution, tens of thousands of years of change have been packed into just one hundred years.

"Researching another example of rapid climate change helps us to understand what the climate could look like in a couple of generations and gives indicators of what humankind needs to do to address the challenges it will bring.”

Make an application to the Australia & New Zealand Fellowships


*UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2014)