The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme Recognizes South African Female Scientists For Their Groundbreaking Research

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme Recognizes South African Female Scientists For Their Groundbreaking Research


L’Oréal South Africa awards research grants to six exceptional young women scientists.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 17th, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-2020 marks the second edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science South African National Young Talents Programme. The programme supports young female scientists and rewards scientific excellence. Created in 1998 and led by the Fondation L’Oréal in partnership with UNESCO, the For Women in Science programme aims to improve the representation of women in scientific careers, strong in the conviction that the world needs science, and science needs women.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have wide spread impact globally and we all had to adjust to the “new normal”. Ultimately, science will provide solutions for many of the unprecedented challenges that the world is currently facing. This is why L’Oréal and UNESCO have been empowering young female scientists for 22 years, more than 3,400 researchers from 118 countries have been supported and recognized.” explains Gilles Antoine, Country Manager of L’Oréal South Africa.

“Women in science have the power to change the world provided they are given the means and support. This year, as we honour six emerging women scientists from across South Africa, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting young women scientists, who are at the helm of very important research projects,” he concludes.

The challenges humanity is currently facing are unprecedented in scale. It is clear that science is and will be one of the keys that enable us to address them, as it always has been at important moments in history.


The six female researchers, three doctoral and three post-doctoral were selected from over 150 applicants, by a jury of independent experts.

Click HERE to discover the 2020 award winners

Post-Doctoral Researchers 

Each post-doctoral award winner will receive a research grant of R160 000 

Dr. Simone Richardson

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)

Antibody Immunity Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand

Dr. Richardson is investigating how diverse antibody functions that target and eliminate infected cells can be harnessed to protect against COVID-19 in HIV infected individuals. This is crucial to understand for COVID-19 vaccine design and efficacy in South Africa.

Dr. Vundli Ramokolo

Health Systems Research Unit/Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, South African Medical Research Council

Dr. Ramokolo’s research explores what factors make some children – such as those that are affected by HIV and those that live in impoverished households – more vulnerable to poor health outcomes.

Dr. Charissa Naidoo

Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME), Stellenbosch University

Dr. Naidoo’s research shows how – even before antibiotic treatment – patients with TB have a unique gut microbiome: this could lead to innovative diagnosis tools and more accessible treatments.

PhD category 

Each PhD candidate will receive a research grant of R80 000  

Bianca Gevers

Institute of Applied Materials, University of Pretoria

In the field of renewable energy Bianca Gevers’ research focuses on material development for photocatalytic water-splitting: the use of sunlight to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water, using photo-active catalysts.

Sibongile Tshabalala

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Sibongile’s research could potentially lead to the local establishment of liver models that represent Sub-Saharan Africa, and fulfil the essential need for diverse representation in pre-clinical research.

Kimberleigh Tommy

Human Variation and Identification Research Unit, School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand

Kimberleigh seeks to establish why people suffer from knee injuries, pain and osteoarthritis. Her research looks to answer this question by looking at the trabecular or spongey bone of the patellofemoral joint (between the bottom part of your thigh and your kneecap).

Booklet with more details details regarding For Women in Science (FWIS)can be accessed HERE

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of L’Oréal South Africa.


L’Oréal South Africa – Press Contact

Helen Da Fonseca


083 995 7493 

About the Fondation L’Oréal and the For Women in Science program

The Fondation L’Oréal works in favFor of women around the world and supports them to help them achieve their goals in two major areas that are at the heart of the Group’s DNA: scientific research and inclusive beauty.

Created in 1998 and led by the Fondation L’Oréal in partnership with UNESCO, the For Women in Science program aims to improve the representation of women in scientific careers, strong in the conviction that the world needs science, and science needs women. For 22 years, more than 3,400 researchers from 118 countries have been supported and highlighted. 27 female scientists from across sub-Saharan Africa are supported annually through two dedicated programmes for Africa;

  • The sub-Saharan Africa Regional programme launched in 2010 and
  • The South African National Programme launched in 2019. 

Website: www.loreal.co.za

Twitter: @Loreal

Facebook: @Loreal

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