24th October - "Women have the power to change the world". The 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship Award Ceremony was officially held at Nexus Bangsar South. Three outstanding women scientists in Malaysia won the coveted award for their researches in tackling global challenges while potentially saving the lives of millions. The 12th annual award ceremony aims to recognize and promote the contribution, also to inspire the next generation of women scientists, in advocating for gender equality in the cultivation of scientific knowledge.
The VIP of the event, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, YB Dato' Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri graced the event with her opening speech. "The L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship supports 2020 vision in cultivating a rich pool of knowledge talents in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM, to take our country to the next level.
Mr. Malek Bekdache, Managing Director of L'Oréal Malaysia then offered a silver lining. Mr. Bekdache pointed out that the submissions for this year marked the highest number, yet, as much as 208 submissions, which is an increase of 66% from last year. He also congratulated the University of Nottingham Malaysia for emerging as the first private university to have won the award.
Following with that, the three winners took turns to be on stage in delivering their summarized talks in a manner similar to the world-renowned TED Talks on their award-winning researches. The first went on stage was Dr Teh Su Yean, who is working on sustainable resource management, netted the award with her unification of science, engineering, technology and mathematics to protect coastal resources in Malaysia. The 36-year-old associate professor of the School of Mathematical Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia is building a model that will conserve groundwater, which may become crucial when other source are depleted due to global climate change.
Another winner, Dr Jasy Liew Suet Yan, who is also from Universiti Sains Malaysia, is recognized for building a system that detects signs of depression by analysing emotional patterns on social media. The 32-year-old hopes that the emotion-sensitive technology will encourage early diagnosis and treatment.
Meanwhile, Dr Ho Weang Kee from University of Nottingham Malaysia, clinched the award for her development of a risk prediction model for breast cancer, which uses DNA and lifestyle information to identify those at risk of the cancer for early detection.