Astrophysicist Mirjana Pović and the Association of Hungarian Women in Science have won the first ever Nature Research Awards, for Inspiring Science and for Innovating Science respectively.
The awards, made in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies, were announced at a ceremony at the UK Estee Lauder headquarters. The global awards have been created to recognise both inspirational early-career female researchers and those who have worked to champion women and girls' participation in science.
Pović is an astrophysicist assistant professor at the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, Ethiopia, and associated researcher at the Spanish IAA-CSIC. Meanwhile the Association of Hungarian Women in Science is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that aims to promote STEM and computer sciences among girls who are under-represented in these fields of education.
Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of Nature, said she was "delighted to see two such worthy first winners" for the awards. "With women making up less than one third of the world's researchers and facing barriers to pursuing long-term careers that lead to senior positions in science, the contest provides an important spotlight on the exceptional achievements of female scientists and those working to promote greater inclusiveness in the scientific community," she said.
“Mirjana Pović is a fantastic role model for young women wanting a career in astrophysics, having contributed to more than ten international projects. The Association of Hungarian Women in Science is doing important work, through its country-wide network of scientists, promoting the need for gender balance in academia, technology, innovation and research and development.”
Pović said: “I am delighted to be the recipient of the very first Nature Research Award for Inspiring Science. Having been personally inspired by many outstanding women in science, to have the opportunity to now inspire others is a real privilege and one that I look forward to continuing to pursue, especially in relation to my current work in Africa. I also hope that with this award we can inspire many other colleagues, men and women, to contribute their knowledge and experience to the development of science and education in Africa—and ultimately, to the long-term fight against poverty.”
Fenni Szigeti, from the Association of Hungarian Women in Science, said: “Receiving the Nature Research Award for Innovating Science for our work to encourage girls and young women to enter STEM fields is a real honour. It goes to the heart of our mission and our commitment to promoting the need for a greater gender balance in academia, technology, innovation and research and development. On behalf of our entire team, I am extremely proud that this commitment has been recognised."