Win up to USD5,000 for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World in the OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards 2021

For Early Career Women Scientists residing and working in developing countries, apply for the OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards to receive recognition and rewards for your services and contributions accomplished by often having to overcome great challenges and with little to no acknowledgments. 

If the foundation selects you, you will receive a fully-fund trip to attend the Awards Ceremony that will be held in-person in 2021. 

Read on for benefits, eligibility, and how to apply.

Application Deadline: September 30, 2020


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Award winners will receive:

  • A monetary prize of up to USD $5,000.
  • A fully-fund trip to attend the Awards Ceremony that will hold as an international scientific event in 2021 
  • Invitation to a networking ceremony to be celebrated alongside and interact with other accomplished women leaders
  • Visibility and recognition for their contributions to the research community which are rarely acknowledged 

5 awards will be awarded as in the foregoing: 

  • 1 award for each emerging winner of the four regions of the developing world
  • A unique ¨floating” award presented to an exceptional candidate from any of these regions.


The Award program is open to women scientists:

  • Working in the physical sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
  • That have resided and worked for a minimum of 5 years in any of the 66 eligible Scientifically and Technologically Lagging Countries (STLCs). They include:
    • Africa region: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
    • Arab region: Djibouti, Palestine (West Bank & Gaza Strip), Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen
    • Asia & Pacific region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People’s Dem Rep, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
    • Latin America & Caribbean region: Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay
  • That have made visibly impactful contributions to the research environment, both at a regional and international level
  • That hold a Ph.D. received in the last ten years

Free Worksheet and Checklist

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Application Instructions

All applications must be submitted online in English. 

  • You are required to attach the following documentation to your application:
    • A brief but detailed biography not exceeding 350 words describing your journey to become an outstanding scientist

(It recommended that you do this offline and copy-paste into the relevant field)

    • A copy of your Ph.D. certificate
    • An updated Curriculum vitae
    • Full list of publications (if not included in the CV)
    • A min. of 2 reference letters (reference letters must be prepared on official letterhead and should be written and signed by senior scientists familiar with your research).
  • Include official documentation attesting to your 5 years’ residency in an eligible STLC.
    • The following documents can be submitted as proof of residence as long as the name of the applicant (as written in the online form) appears clearly. This list includes but is not limited to: 
      • Statement from the local police office or municipality
      • population registry office
      • Rental agreement
      • Utility bills
      • Employment contract.

Alternative documents can be considered.

Contact the Foundation via to confirm the eligibility of your documents if you are in doubt.

About the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards

Founded in 1987, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is a program unit of UNESCO focused on uniting women scientists from the developing and developed worlds with the aim of strengthening their role in the development process and advancing their representation in scientific and technological leadership. 

OWSD provides research training and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers.

The awards program was launched in 2013,  for Early Career Women Scientists to encourage and reinforce women from developing countries who have achieved research excellence. 

On a three-year rotation of award categories, in order to provide more focus and visibility, the eligible scientific disciplines for each year were organized into general fields:

  • Biological sciences: agriculture, biology, and medicine – 2019 Awards (selected in 2018)
  • Engineering, innovation & technology – 2020 Awards (selected in 2019)
  • Physical sciences: chemistry, mathematics, and physics – 2021 Awards (selected in 2020)

The winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony, and could possibly attend workshops, visit local laboratories and institutions, and attend a celebratory dinner organized by the Elsevier Foundation. 

The awards program opens each year in June and closes in August.

Discover more opportunities from U.N.

Key Dates and Order of Program

Applications with all relevant attachments for the OWSD-Elsevier awards should be logged by September 30, 2020

 The Awards Ceremony will hold as an international scientific event in 2021 in a yet to be decided venue and date to. 

The date of the event depends largely on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The awards ceremony may have to hold virtually. Awardees will not be required to travel if they judge the situation to be unsafe

Past Awardees

Read more about past recipients of the OWSD-Elsevier awards here

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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