KU Affairs

Masdar Institute PhD Student Wins L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Middle East Fellowship

September 21, 2018

PhD student Nazek El-Atab today received the 2015 L’Oréal-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) For Women in Science (FWIS) Middle East Fellowship award from Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation and President of Zayed University, during a gala ceremony that was held at the Zayed University campus in Dubai.

Nazek El-Atab, whose PhD thesis focuses on fabricating novel nano-memory devices with lower power consumption, has become one of the four recipients of the Fellowship that carries an award of €20,000 (AED78,500). She was chosen from a pool of 10 scientists from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO FWIS Middle East Fellowship Program aims to recognize, honor and empower Arab female scientists whose findings have contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge and helped change the world for the better.

Dr. Behjat AlYousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said, “We are proud of Nazek El-Atab for becoming one of the four recipients of the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO FWIS Middle East Fellowship Program. Her selection shows Masdar Institute’s commitment to nurturing and educating the region’s most promising young men and women in the field of science and technology. We hope other aspiring students will look up to Nazek as their role model and follow her footsteps in pursuing scientific excellence in the field of sustainability.”

El-Atab was selected based on several criteria such as outstanding academic record, the scientific quality of the research project as well as the number, quality and impact of the publications, conference presentations, and patents. The jury also looked into the innovative nature and productivity of the research and its application in science and the ability of the candidate to communicate and promote the sciences to a younger audience and encourage young Arab female scientists.

El-Atab said: “The L’Oréal-UNESCO FWIS Middle East Fellowship will help me buy cleanroom supplies needed for the fabrication of novel low-power non-volatile memory devices using innovative nanomaterials. It will also enable me to attend international conferences and share my findings with peers in the nanotechnology and microsystems engineering fields.”

“Masdar Institute played an influential role in my winning of the award and I would like to express my profound gratitude to my advisor Dr. Ammar Nayfeh for his encouragement, guidance and support throughout the course of my research,” she added.

Within one year of receiving the L’Oréal-UNESCO FWIS Middle East Fellowship, the recipients are expected to submit a status report on the awarded research project and a final financial expenditure statement on the actual fellowship expenditure incurred through their research project.

El-Atab’s faculty advisor Dr. Ammar Nayfeh, Associate Professor in Masdar Institute’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said: “I am extremely proud of Nazek for winning the 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO FWIS Middle East Fellowship. As her PhD advisor, I can say this award is well-deserved. Nazek exemplifies the ideal PhD student, who goes beyond what is originally required. She has published seminal papers in word class journals on low energy charge-trapping memory devices using nano-particles. I am certain she will be a tremendous ambassador for Masdar Institute and vital asset for the UAE in the future.”

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships has recognized and honored over 2,250 women scientists in 115 countries in the past 17 years. The program is offered to promising young women researchers at crucial junctures in their careers when stereotypes and preconceived notions could be most detrimental.

This program rewards talented young female scientists in the field of Life Sciences including biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, physiology, neurosciences, biotechnologies, ecology and ethology, as well as Physical Sciences such as physics, chemistry, petroleum engineering, mathematics, engineering sciences, information sciences, Earth and Universe sciences.

The jury panel for the 2015 For Women in Science Middle East Fellowship included prominent scientists and was headed by Dr. Christian Amatore, Acting President, Chemistry Department, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, France. The L’Oréal –Unesco for Women in Science Middle East Fellowship was launched in 2014 in partnership with Zayed University under the Patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development of the UAE & President of Zayed University.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
24 November 2015