OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards 2021 for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World (USD $5,000 prize)

OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards 2021 for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World (USD $5,000 prize)

Deadline: September 30, 2020

Applications are open for the OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards 2021. Launched in 2013, the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists reward and encourage women working and living in developing countries who are in the early stages of their scientific careers, having often overcome great challenges to achieve research excellence.

The awards programme grew out of a one-time award given in 2011 by OWSD, the Elsevier Foundation and TWAS, the World Academy of Sciences, which was given to 11 early career women from developing countries working in STEM subjects. In 2013, the current awards programme was launched, with the number of awards reduced to 5 per year (one from each OWSD region plus one additional outstanding candidate) on a three-year rotation of award categories, in order to provide more focus and visibility.

The eligible scientific disciplines for each year were organized into general fields:

  • Biological sciences: Agriculture, Biology and Medicine – 2019 Awards (selected in 2018).
  • Engineering, innovation & technology – 2020 Awards (selected in 2019)
  • Physical Sciences: Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics – 2021 Awards (selected in 2020).


Award winners will receive:

  • Cash prize of USD $5,000.
  • All-expenses-paid trip to attend the Awards Ceremony that will be held in the framework of an international scientific event in 2021 (venue and date to be determined). The trip and the event will be confirmed in the coming months according to how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. The awards ceremony may have to be online. Awardees will not be required to travel if they judge the situation to be unsafe.

The 5 awards will be distributed as follows: one for each of the four regions of the developing world, plus an additional ¨floating” award for an outstanding candidate from any of these regions.


  • Open to women scientists working in the Physical Sciences (Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics), who have lived and worked for at least 5 years in an eligible STLC.
  • Awardees must have made a demonstrable impact on the research environment, both at a regional and international level.
  • Must have received their PhD in the last ten years.

The 66 Scientifically and Technologically Lagging Countries (STLCs)

  • Africa region: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Dem. Rep. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Arab region: Djibouti, Palestine (West Bank & Gaza Strip), Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen
  • Asia & Pacific region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People’s Dem Rep, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
  • Latin America & Caribbean region: Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay


Applications must be made online in English, and must include:

  • Official documentation proving 5 years’ residency in an eligible STLC.

The following documents can be submitted as proof of residence as long as the name of the applicant (as written in the online form) appears clearly: statement from the local police office or municipality, population registry office, rental agreement, utilities bills, employment contract. This list is not exhaustive and alternative documents can be considered. Please write to [email protected] if you are not sure about the eligibility of your documents.

  • Short biography of approximately 350 words describing your journey to become an outstanding scientist (for ease, we recommend that you prepare this beforehand and copy-paste into the text box)
  • PhD certificate
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Full list of publications (if not included in the CV)
  • At least 2 reference letters (reference letters must be prepared on official letterhead and should be written and signed by senior scientists familiar with your research).

Click here to apply

For more information, visit OWSD – Elsevier Foundation Awards.