Fatou Joof wins 2019 L’Oréal- UNESCO Young Talent Award for Sub-Saharan Africa

Fatou Joof, PhD student under the Nutrition Theme at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is one of twenty (20) winners of the 2019 L’Oréal- UNESCO Young Talent Award for Sub-Saharan Africa for Women in Science. Ms. Joof was recognised for her research on ‘Developing new antimalarial strategies by tracking genetic mutations’.
Created in 1998, the For Women in Science program, led by the L'Oréal Foundation in partnership with UNESCO, aims to promote women in the field of scientific research, where the glass ceiling remains a reality. Over the past 21 years, more than 3,400 women researchers from 118 countries have been celebrated.

This year, the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO strengthened their commitment and doubled the number of young women researchers awarded each year in Africa. In addition to the 7 women scientists awarded in South Africa, 15 doctoral and 5 post-doctoral candidates from 15 sub-Saharan African countries have been honored. They were selected for their scientific excellence out of nearly 400 applications. Coming from 15 countries, these computer scientists, engineers or biologists, prove the diversity and crucial role of women's scientific research on the continent.

The ceremony was held in Dakar, Senegal on 22nd of November 2019. Mrs. Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi, First Lady of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mr. Sheikh Oumar Anne, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Senegal, honored the event with their presence. Other personalities attended the event including representatives of the scientific world and public authorities, Dimitri Sanga, Regional Director of UNESCO West Africa (Sahel), intellectuals, opinion leaders, organizations promoting gender equality, and influential women.

After receiving her award, Ms. Joof said, “I happened to be the only Gambian and felt very honoured that my presence served as a representation for my country. This goes to show the significance of our contribution to global science- to have been appreciated and recognised by such prestigious award. This is a win to not just me but for all Gambians and especially Gambian women/girls”.

Alexandra Palt, Executive Director of the L'Oréal Foundation said “The number of women in Science is not yet significant: only 2.4% of the world's researchers are African scientists, of whom 30% are women. Through the Young Talent Award for Sub-Saharan Africa, we promote and support the continent's remarkable female researchers. They play a key role to develop inclusive research in Africa, for Africa and conducted by Africans.

The Young Talents received financial support for their scientific work, with allocations of €10,000 for doctoral students and €15,000 for post-doctoral students. These 20 researchers and the 7 scientists of the South African national program have also benefited from a training program designed to give them more resources to pursue their careers.

The L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have already supported 129 doctoral and post-doctoral students through the regional Young Talents Sub-Saharan Africa program who are contributing through their work to building the continent's future.

Short Courses

LSHTM's short courses provide opportunities to study specialised topics across a broad range of public and global health fields. From AMR to vaccines, travel medicine to clinical trials, and modelling to malaria, refresh your skills and join one of our short courses today.