María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, President of the Women for Africa Foundation (Fundación Mujeres por África) visited the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) on Monday, 28 September 2020, in the afternoon. The visit was in the framework of the programme "Science By Women" (Ellas Investigan), which the ICMAB wishes to join in its next edition.
The visit was hosted by ICMAB Director, Xavier Obradors, ICMAB Deputy Directors, M. Rosa Palacín and Riccardo Rurali, and ICMAB Communication Officer, Anna May Masnou. From the Foundation Women For Africa, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, President of the Women for Africa Foundation, and Anna Fumarola, the Foundation Project Manager, came. During the visit, the main research areas of the Institute were presented, as well as the actions related to Women in Science and the activities organized by the Gender Equality Committee throughout these last years.
The visit also included a visit to the Chemistry Laboratory of the Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting (NANOPTO) group, where Laura Ciammaruchi (Postdoctoral researcher) and Albert Harillo (PhD researcher) showed our guests some of the flexible and organic solar cells and photonic crystals. The visit also included a visit to the ICMAB's Clean Room, the Nanoquim Platform, which includes 5 different laboratories, and the ICMAB Library Manuel Cardona.
María Teresa Fernández de la Vega was impressed with the Institute's installations, and with the "futuristic research" that we conduct, which tackles some of the most important societal challenges, such as clean energy, low-cost electronics and smart nanomedicine. She congratulated all the researchers and support staff for the results achieved.
The Women for Africa Foundation, true to its mission of contributing to the development of Africa through its women, launched the Science by Women programme in 2014, aimed at promoting women’s access to science and technology, supporting them in their research careers, making their achievements visible and promoting their leadership within the international scientific community.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the programme counts already with the support of many research centers, most of them belonging to the Severo Ochoa Certificate of Excellence programme, whose prestige is unanimously recognized nationally and internationally, thereby ensuring excellence in scientific research in various fields. The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) are among the 19 research centers participating in the programme.
Following the success of the first edition of the programme, the Foundation is now starting the sixth edition (deadline to apply: 20 October 2020). A total of 78 African women researchers have benefitted so far. The project’s priority areas for work are healthcare, energy, water, climate change, agriculture and food security.
In addition to bringing African women researchers to Spanish centres, the Science by Women project promotes the creation of networks of African women scientists. It fosters cooperation between Spanish and European networks and encourages the creation of joint projects, whether these are voluntary or for international and regional scientific cooperation among the academic world, research centres and industry.
From the ICMAB, we hope that we will be able to join this programme in its seventh edition (starting on September 2021), so we can contribute to the empowering African women and also learn from their expereince and knowledge. The idea is to host a Postdoctoral African Woman researcher during 6 months, who will be integrated in one of our research groups to conduct advanced research in one of the ICMAB's research lines, including materials for energy, electronics or health. We are very enthusiastic and happy to be part of this programme, starting next year!
Thank you for the visit!