L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science UK & Ireland Fellowships


There has been a lot of discussion to support more students to study STEM subjects in the UK and Ireland, as a special efforts to support long term economic growth. It is the same with many other countries around the world.

However, how to support women to play a more active role in STEM subjects never seems to be easy.

I used to sit on the Education Committee of the UK National Commission For UNESCO. I recently come across this prestigous international fellowship to women in science. I thought I should do a short blog about it so that people who are interested in it could find out more.

Hope you will find it useful.

Best regards,

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang



2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science

1.      Introduction
The L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science are awards offered by a partnership between L’Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society, to promote, enhance and encourage the contribution of women pursuing their research careers in the UK or Ireland in the fields of the life and physical sciences.

The National Fellowships are offered under the umbrella of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Programme, which has promoted women in scientific research on a global scale since 1998.

Four Fellowships will be awarded in 2014 to outstanding women scientists in the early stages of their career to enable and/or facilitate promising scientific research. The Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research in any area of the life or physical sciences.

The value of each fellowship is £15,000 (equivalent € for candidates in Ireland). The Fellowships are designed to provide flexible support. The prize money can be spent in innovative ways to enable women scientists to pursue and continue their research careers – such as buying equipment, paying for childcare or funding travel costs to an overseas conference.



2.  Who is Eligible?


  • Candidates must be female postdoctoral level researchers who have already been awarded their research doctorate in the fields of life or physical science.
  • Candidates must have no more than 10 years’ active full-time equivalent postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks, but including teaching experience and/or time spent in industry).
  • Candidates must not currently hold a permanent academic post, or have ever held a permanent academic post in the past, or have received, before the start date of the award, the promise of a permanent academic post.
  • Candidates must be undertaking research in the life or physical sciences. Computer science, engineering, mathematics, psychology, science education and social sciences are not eligible for this Fellowship.
  • Candidates must be conducting their research at a UK or Irish university or research institute.
  • Candidates must be a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a Swiss citizen, or have permanent residence status in the UK or Ireland; and must be residing in the UK or Ireland at the time of application.
  • Applications are welcomed from candidates who wish to establish/re-establish themselves after a career break or other period of absence from active research or where the candidate is establishing a research career as a mature entrant or after experience in other fields.



3.     Application and Deadline
We can only accept applications made online. You will need to visit www.womeninscience.co.uk to create an account and complete an application.

Closing date: 14th March 2014 at midnight (BST)




4. Criteria are as follows:
1) Intellectual merit of candidate
· Academic records
· Ability to interpret and communicate research findings
· Evidence of originality, initiative and productivity
· Strong recommendation in reference letters (two requested)

2) Clearly articulated research proposal
· The relevance of the research and its impact
· The originality of the research proposal
· The proposal should be presented in a clear and compelling way

3) How the fellowship will enhance the candidate’s career and/or assist with a successful return to scientific research
· Whether the candidate has made a convincing case for the difference that this fellowship will make to her.



5.  Key Dates
· Applications website will be open from the 1st February – 14th March 2014 (Midnight)
· Reader assessment of applications takes place between 28th March – 8th May 2014
· Jury assessment of applications takes place between 9th May – 29th May 2014
· Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by phone and by email on Friday 30th May 2014
· Assessment day and awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 19th June 2014
2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women In Science Application Terms & Conditions



6. Further Information
For further information, visit www.womeninscience.co.uk or email fwis@unesco.org.uk


world map black

HE News Brief 03.12.2012

  • Chile: OECD advises a tighter scrutiny of university accreditation
  • UK: 10 new universities formed, focus is humanities
  • South East Asia: Greater Mekong region to emulate ERASMUS & Bologna processes
  • India: Waking up to international student recruitment

Read more

Russia’s Education Reform

by Ina Chiriliuc

Almost two years after Russia fully introduced its Unified State Exam (later referred to as EGE –“Ediny Gosudarstvenny Ekzamen”), students, parents and teachers are still dismayed by the change. The exam is similar to the American SAT-s and is a mandatory requirement for acceptance into higher education institutions. At the polar opposite of the oral exams and essays that were the basis of the Soviet testing system, the new multiple choice testing is supposed to be “directed against corruption and should be much more transparent”, according to president Medvedev, a strong supporter of the EGE.

Introducing the EGE is part of Russia’s commitments as a member of the Council of Europe, under the Bologna Convention on Higher Education. Besides its strategic role, this education reform is expected to introduce an unbiased, consistent and measurable method of evaluating students before they enter universities.

The intentions behind EGE are apparently the best, but people are still protesting; the main subjective reason being that it completely substitutes the once glorious Soviet education system, which was very focused on science and produced bright minds. Unfortunately the reality is that the former Soviet system has been lagging behind the rest of the world for quite some time and Russia has been losing its best high-school graduates in favour of Germany, US and UK. A reform was thus necessary. A more believable reason to reject the new EGE is that it has caused even more corruption, particularly in schools. Teachers were caught taking the exams in place of students for 40000 rubles. Read more

HE News Brief 6.12.10

by Abby Chau

  • The Bologna Process, a declaration of higher education cooperation between 47 countries, is still chugging along despite the controversies surrounding implementation and overall efficacy. Now on course to feel the brunt of new reforms are business schools, particularly those that previously offered five-year business degrees. 10,000 new programmes in economics and business are to be implemented and positioned as competition for an emerging Asian higher education market. Some are saying that countries like the US must start accepting three-year bachelor programmes in order to adjust to Bologna’s new three-year standardisation plan for an undergraduate degree, or they may be left behind as other countries like Australia are quickly adjusting their educational system to a changing European standard.
    Full Story: FT

  • As the UK economy has taken a substantial hit, many people, particularly in parliament are reiterating the need for universities to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs. Statistics from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education produced by HESA show that the percentage of graduates who categorise themselves as self-employed or entrepreneurs has jumped from 4,190 in 2002-03, to 6,120, in 2008-09. Buckinghamshire New University Vice chancellor Ruth Farwell says that league tables should include this statistic in their indicators as it would give students a clearer picture of which institution promotes enterprise and business acuity. UCL Professor Tim Barnes concurs and says that if the government was serious about developing students for the job market, then statistics such as this should be measured and recorded.
    Full Story: the Guardian Read more

HE News Brief 28.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • In 2005, the German government allowed universities to compete for extra funding by proving that they are top-notch in research, strategy, and quality of teaching. The universities that performed the best were designated  with the title of “elite university.” Aachen’s RWTH university for instance, did extremely well and have now seen their stock raised – as a response to this new standing they are offering companies the opportunity to set up research clusters on campus. The move is aimed to foster more collaboration between businesses and higher education. An estimated 10,000 people will be employed because of this initiative.
    Full Story: FT
  • The build-it-and-they-will-come philosophy hasn’t seemed to work when it comes to postgraduates studies in Japan. The number of professional graduate schools have soared since 2003 but students don’t seem to be interested in getting a postgraduate degree. The problem, says Kenichi Yoshida, a consultant at the Japan Research Institute, is that institutions don’t do their market research before initiating postgraduate programmes. In addition, there does not seem to be a system in the workplace which financially awards people like teachers for instance, who have postgraduate degrees. Some say there is also another factor which is the Japanese culture, and its supposed reluctance to single out individuals.
    Full Story: New York Times
    Read more

HE News Brief 13.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

  • The QS World University Rankings® published its top 200 global universities rankings, with Cambridge University taking the top spot, dethroning Harvard as the number one university in the world.
    Full Story: BBC News

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) published its annual Education at a Glance last week. The report addressed the question of whether Higher Education is indeed necessary by pointing out that graduates are more recession-proof and they contribute more in income taxes than people who do not have tertiary degrees. It also argues that the future job market will be changing to one of a more highly skilled labour force. In addition the report proclaimed a dire sentence for the UK,  with countries like Canada and Finland who are showing better graduation rates as well as spending more on Higher Education per GDP.
    Full Story:Guardian
    More: FT

  • US universities are eyeing up branches in India – but not the elite universities first purported when the new law allowing foreign branches to open shop in India was first proposed to much fanfare. The so-called Tier 2 universities such as Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Virginia Institute of Technology, and Georgia Institute of Technology have all expressed interest in setting up a branch in India. The law has not been official approved but the draft says that foreign campuses must leave 10.5 million dollars in deposit with the government, and teaching staff must have at least 20 years experience before they can be considered.
    Full Story: New York Times
    Read more

HE News Brief 25.5.10

by Abby Chau


From Bahrain’s educational overhaul to UK institutions going private, here are this week’s news stories:

  • With the help of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), Bahrain is planning an overhaul of its education system, with plans to finalise the project by the end of 2011. This project will focus on  infrastructure, quality of education, adult education, raising standards, internationalisation and forming a unified award system.
    Full Story: Gulf Daily News  
  • For-profit higher education companies saw their shares rise when news broke that Deputy Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education Robert Shireman plans to step down in July. It is reported that Shireman is a major critic of for-profit higher education companies (see our 4.5.2010 news brief for more on this).
    Full Story: Reuters
    More: Wall Street Journal 
  • In line with the Bologna Process, Germany plans on investing two billion euros  over the next ten years to improve university teaching quality. The money will go toward employing more staff and professors, as well as mentor and tutor programmes. In addition, a new academy has been set up to oversee the Quality Pact for Teaching, which was created to make sure that Bologna is successfully implemented.
    Full Story: eGov monitor
         Read more

10th Anniversary of the Bologna Process

by Abby Chau


Ministers from 46 participating countries met in Budapest and Vienna in March to discuss the Bologna Process and to tout the European Higher Education Area. When Bologna was established in 1999, goals were set to firmly launch the EHEA in 2010 in order to harmonise and improve higher educational standards and qualifications in participating countries. The result, they hope, will promulgate and support academic and student mobility, improve student employability, ensure quality teaching standards, and to make institutions accountable for maintaining acceptable benchmarks.

Bologna’s vision for 2010, according to the Budapest-Vienna Declaration, is an “internationally competitive and attractive European Higher Education Area where higher education institutions, supported by strongly committed staff, can fulfil their diverse missions in the knowledge society; and where students benefiting from mobility with smooth and fair recognition of their qualifications, can find the best suited educational pathways.”

This may sound like a tall order, particularly as there are so many countries involved in the initiative (Kazakhstan recently signed up.). And indeed immediately after the 10 year anniversary, major protests broke out in Europe against Bologna, as disgruntled students raged against what they saw as the machinery of bureaucracy. Socialist Labour Party writer Tilman Ruster proclaims that, “the Bologna process and its consequences have led to the most powerful student protests in a long time. Lecture rooms were occupied, roads and train stations blocked, mass demonstrations carried out and much more.” Read more