» Announcement of Laureates of 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards
04.10.2016 - UNESCOPRESS

Announcement of Laureates of 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

© All rights reserved(Left to right, top to bottom) Professor Zhenan BAO (United States of America), Professor Nicola SPALDIN (Switzerland), Professor Maria Teresa RUIZ (Chile), Professor Niveen KHASHAB (Saudi Arabia), Professor Michelle SIMMONS (Australia)

The L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO today announced the laureates of the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards in the physical sciences. They will receive their awards at a ceremony in Paris on 23 March 2017.

Proposed by an international community of more than 2,000 leading scientists, the five laureates were selected by an independent international jury of 12 renowned scientists presided this year by Professor Christian Amatore, of the French Académie des sciences.

Each laureate will receive a prize of €100,000 to reward for their contribution to science:

Africa & Arab States  Professor Niveen KHASHAB (Saudi Arabia), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Asia Pacific                Professor Michelle SIMMONS (Australia), Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology—University of New South Wales

Europe                        Professor Nicola SPALDIN (Switzerland), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich)

Latin America             Professor Maria Teresa RUIZ (Chile), Astronomy Department, Universidad de Chile

North America            Professor Zhenan BAO (United States of America), Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University


Professor Niveen KHASHAB
Associate Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), SAUDI ARABIA

Analytical chemistry
“For her contributions to innovative smart hybrid materials aimed at drug delivery and for developing new techniques to monitor intracellular antioxidant activity.”

Professor Michelle SIMMONS

Professor, Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology - University of New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

Quantum physics
“For her pioneering contributions to quantum and atomic electronics, constructing atomic transistors en route to quantum computers.”

Professor Nicola SPALDIN

Professor and Chair of Materials Theory, ETH Zürich, SWITZERLAND

Solid state physics
“For her groundbreaking multidisciplinary work predicting, describing and creating new materials that have switchable magnetic and ferroelectric properties.”

Professor Zhenan BAO

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, USA

Material Chemistry
“For her outstanding contribution to and mastery of the development of novel functional polymers for consumer electronics, energy storage and biomedical applications.”

Professor Maria Teresa RUIZ

Professor, Department of Astronomy, Dept. / Universidad de Chile, CHILE

“For her contributions to the study of a variety of faint celestial objects hidden in the darkness of the universe.”


  • L’Oréal Foundation
    +33 (0)1 47 56 77 47
    George Papagiannis
    +33 (0)45 68 17 06
  • Agence MATRIOCHKA for the L’Oréal Foundation
    Delphine HILAIRE
    +33 (0)6 22 68 29 64

About the L’Oréal Foundation
Accompany. Value. Communicate. Support. Move boundaries. The convictions, the core values which drive the L’Oréal Foundation’s commitment to women everyday. A commitment divided into two main areas - science and beauty.

Through its’ For Women in Science programme, a worldwide partnership with UNESCO, the L’Oréal Foundation motivates girls in High School to pursue scientific careers, supports women researchers and rewards excellence in a field where women remain underrepresented.

Through its beauty programmes, the Foundation assists women affected by illness, who are economically disadvantaged or isolated, to recover their sense of self-esteem and femininity in order to feel better and to fare better. Its’ actions also include providing training programs for beauty industry professions.


Since its’ creation in 1945, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization has been supporting international scientific cooperation as a catalyst for sustainable development and peace. UNESCO assists countries in the development of public policies and in building capabilities in the fields of science, technology, innovation and scientific education. In addition, UNESCO leads several intergovernmental programmes for the sustainable management of freshwater, ocean and terrestrial resources, the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of the role of science in combating climate change and handling natural disasters. To meet these goals, UNESCO is committed to ending discrimination and promoting equality between women and men.


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