Scholarships Are Granted to Leading Female Scientists—Graduates of Slovenian Universities

The Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO with the support of L’Oréal organized and conducted the 12th national contest ‘Za ženske v znanosti 2018’ and allocated a scholarship of 5,000 EUR to three young female researchers. Scholarship holders were the chemical process engineer Gabrijela Horvat, the pedologist Erika Jež and the biochemist Tea Lenarčič. Their researches are distinguished by novelty and reasoning, which make a significant contribution to the development of science. The scholarships of the national programme ‘Za ženske v znanosti’ were presented by Brigitte Streller, CEO of L’Oréal Slovenija, Dr. Milan Brglez, speaker of the country’s parliament, and Dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Science and Sports.

The 28-year-old graduate of the University of Maribor Gabrijela Horvat studies aerogels—the highly functional nanomaterials used in industry. Recently, the possibility of their use in pharmaceutics, food industry and medicine has been explored.

In her research, the 32-year-old graduate of the University of Ljubljana Erika Jež deals with the issue of cleaning the contaminated areas of the Meža Valley (Slovene: Mežiška dolina). The ore mining in this area, which began more than 100 years ago, led to contamination of soil with potentially toxic metals. After cleaning the soil with a chelated ligand, a small amount of these metals still remains in the soil. Erika Jež assesses the risk of such cleaning for the environment. She is looking for a solution to prevent the spread of the chelating ligand within the environment. She conducts her research on the basis of the Centre for Pedology and Environmental Protection at the Biotechnology Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. Erika Jež is a PhD student at the Faculty of Agronomy.

The 27-year-old Tea Lenarčič studies the molecular evolution of protein domains associated with the cell surface. She works at the Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana and studies on a PhD programme at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ljubljana. Her work mainly focuses on the study of NLP proteins.

The national programme ‘L’Oréal-UNESCO Za ženske v znanosti’, which has been implemented in Slovenia since 2006, draws attention to the role of women in science and encourages their scientific discoveries by scholarships.