Earlier this month, L’Oreal Foundation and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced winners for the 2022 Sub-Saharan Africa Young Talents Awards for Women in Science.
According to UNESCO, the 20 scientists awarded are working in a wide range of research fields and are committed to improving the lives of millions of people across Africa.
The award monies will, among other things, help to secure and increase agricultural harvests to combat poverty and hunger, halt the spread of diseases, improve the management and conservation of vital natural resources, and ultimately enhance the safety of African countries amid natural disasters.
The Young Talents Awards aim to support women scientists in the pursuit of their careers. It will also promote and strengthen the role of women in science.
Two Nigerian winners: Out of the 20 winners, two are Nigerians. One of them is Iveren Abiem, a post-doctoral fellow and Life and Environmental Scientist. She was awarded for her work on ‘Carbon storage in the Afromontane Forest.
The second winner is Oluwatosin Ogundolie Akinwale, a PhD student in Formal Sciences. She was awarded for her work on ‘Flood prediction in Nigeria’.
Abiem will be given €15,000 while Ogundolie will be given €10,000, to enable them to carry out their research projects.
Nigeria needs climate innovation: In the 2021 UNESCO Science report, Nigeria was highlighted as an oil-dependent economy that should be diversifying its economy to improve revenues and tackle environmental challenges. The report also said that although Nigeria has devised various strategies to wean the economy off its over-reliance on crude oil, little success has emerged.
For the record: The UNESCO Science report said Nigeria is lagging in science and innovation. The report highlighted the fact that Nigeria’s federal government approved a National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in 2012.
The policy stressed human capital development, intellectual property, technology transfer and the commercialization of research results, as well as the need for the federal government to commit at least 1% of GDP to a National Research and Innovation Fund.
However, to date, the National Research and Innovation Fund is yet to be activated.