Researcher Jelena Vladic, a scientist from the NOVA School of Science and Technology, is the winner of the first edition of the UNESCO Prize for Young Scientists: Al Fozan International Prize, which celebrates researchers in the fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
According to the UNESCO-Al Fozan International Prize, the fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics, also known by the acronym STEM, are undergoing a period of crisis in education. "The best and brightest students are dropping out of STEM subjects at alarming rates, due to lack of interest, deficiency of access, as well as lack of teaching methodologies and, in many cases, lack of inspiration through role models in the field," warns the UNESCO prize organisation.
In addition to celebrating STEM disciplines, the Al Fozan International Prize also aims to promote greater gender equality in science by recognising individual women scientists who lead socially and economically transformative research, and inspire other young women scientists.
The prize, awarded to five scientists from UNESCO regions, includes Jelena Vladic among its recipients. The Serbian-born researcher holds a degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the Faculty of Medicine, Novi Sad, Serbia, and a PhD from the Faculty of Technology, Novi Sad, Serbia, where she started her scientific career. Jelena Vladic is presently a researcher at NOVA FCT, specialising in the application of solvents and green technologies for processing materials of natural origin. She has authored more than 80 scientific papers and received the 2020 L'Oréal For Women in Science award and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship. At the moment, Jelena Vladic is a researcher in the 'des-solve' group, also funded by the European Union - Horizon 2020 - that analyses natural solvent solutions to achieve industrial processes more environmentally friendly industrial processes.
The five awarded scientists receive a prize of 50 thousand dollars, according to the indications of a jury of five members: Didier Queloz (Switzerland), Ngo Bao Chau (Vietnam), Edna Matta-Camacho (Colombia), Fadji Zaouna Maina (Niger), and Adah Almutairi (Saudi Arabia). The upcoming edition of the UNESCO-Al Fozan International Prize will take place in two years' time.