First Vietnamese woman wins L’Oreal-UNESCO award

Dr. Tran Ha Lien Phuong from the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnam National University was presented with the International Rising Talent award from the L’Oreal-UNESCO programme at a ceremony in Paris, France on March 18, becoming the first Vietnamese female scientist to receive this honour.

The 34-year-old scientist, a lecturer from the HCM City-based Vietnam National University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, was honoured for her project on the development of fucoidan-based polymeric micelles for cancer diagnosis and treatment which will reportedly help make the treatment cheaper and more effective.

Phuong was among 15 female laureates chosen from the 236 locally-awarded fellowship winners of L’Oreal subsidiaries and UNESCO around the world.

She said it was her honour to be the first Vietnamese woman to receive the award, which will also fund further research into the cancer treatment.

Also at the ceremony, the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science programme honoured five outstanding female scientists from Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America for their breakthrough achievements in the natural sciences.

During a press conference before the ceremony, a representative of the L’Oreal-UNESCO programme said the laureates are proof that women are capable of making great contributions to science – an area with a 70 percent male gender skew – adding that additional progress is needed to achieve gender equality in science.

Established in 1998, the annual L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science partnership is designed to honour distinguished female scientists and support young talented researchers. It has thus far awarded 2,250 women in more than 110 countries.-VNA