High proportion of female participants at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

“The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are future-oriented. This is indicated not least by the large number of young female scientists taking part. Their presence also sends out a strong message to their home countries to attract and retain more talented women in science,” remarks Helga Nowotny, co-founder and President of the European Research Council (ERC) from 2010 to 2013 and Vice-President of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

Burkhard Fricke, also a member of the Council, emphasises that no female quota was used in the selection of the young scientists: “The young participants were evaluated purely on the basis of specialist criteria. The quality of the applications has once again risen significantly which made selecting the best of the many candidates extremely challenging.” Students, doctoral students and postdocs from a total of 88 countries were accepted. They are conducting research in the Nobel Prize disciplines of medicine, physics or chemistry.

The three female Nobel Laureates who will be coming to Lindau this year are the Frenchwoman Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008), the Australian Elizabeth Blackburn (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009) and Ada Yonath from Israel who became only the fourth woman in the history of the Nobel Prize to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009.

During a panel on “Women in Science” at the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Elizabeth Blackburn remarked that there was now a pleasingly high proportion of women amongst science students but this was not replicated in lecturing and cutting-edge research. She called upon academic institutions to redouble their efforts to increase opportunities for women in these areas.

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