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  Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura

The UNESCO-L’ORÉAL fellowships scheme focuses on UNESCO’s premise that people are the world’s greatest resource and that innovation and excellence, especially among the young women community, deserve to be supported and encouraged through the concerted efforts of the international community. The award of the fellowships constitutes a key strategy through which impetus is being given to the enhancement of the role of women in devising scientific solutions to problems confronting humankind in the twenty-first century.


The UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowships are designed to identify and reward fifteen deserving, committed and talented young women scientists, from all over the world, active in the field of life sciences. With a view to ensuring that a balanced geographical representation is made, a maximum of three young women, from each of the five geo-cultural regions of the world, will be awarded fellowships.

Candidates must already be engaged in pursuing research at the doctoral or post-doctoral level in one or allied fields of life sciences including biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, agriculture, medicine, pharmacy and physiology. Projects involving animal models (i.e. experimentation using vertebrate laboratory animals) are rejected, and proposals in the area of cosmetics research are NOT encouraged; preference is given to non cosmetic research.

Special attention will be given to candidatures from the Least Developed Countries(LDCs).


Applicants (maximum four from each applying National Commission) must meet the following general criteria:

1. The National Commission must endorse all applications. UNESCO cannot entertain applications from individuals.

2. Candidates must be no more than 35 years old. Thus, applicants born before 1 January 1977 will not be considered under this programme.

3. Preference will be given to candidates already possessing at the time of application a Ph.D. degree (or equivalent) in the field of the life sciences. However, candidatures from students pursuing studies/research leading to a Ph.D. degree (or equivalent) will also be entertained.

4. Only candidates with the necessary qualifications, who demonstrate outstanding intellectual promise and personal qualities, will be considered under this programme.

5. Candidates must be proficient in reading and writing the language of instruction in the proposed country of study.

6. Applicants must be in good health, both physically and mentally.

7. Candidates may not be in receipt of another fellowship/grant for the project or for the period covered by the fellowship application. If the candidate receives another award, scholarship or fellowship for the proposed research project, she should inform UNESCO immediately to verify whether her application is still valid.


1. Field of study: Life Sciences

2. Closing date for receipt of applications: 30 June 2011

3. The initial fellowship is for a maximum period of 12 months, for a maximum sum of $20,000. The fellowship can be extended for up to 12 additional months with up to $20,000 additional funding upon request of the Fellow and validation of the Selection Committee.

4. Duration of stay in the host country/laboratory:
At least half of the period of the fellowship must be undertaken abroad.. All fellows are required to complete the research project in her own country for a minimum of two months.

5. Possible date of commencing the project: Any time between 1 March 2012 & 1 March 2013

6. Applications for extension may only be made for the project for which the original fellowship was granted. To request an extension and additional funding, the following documents should be submitted 3 months before the ending date of the fellowship:

i. Three letters of recommendation issued by

(a) the host institution,
(b) the research supervisors at the host institution, and
(c) the academic institution/laboratory in the fellow’s home country.

ii. A research report on progress to date on the project and a proposal justifying the need for an extension with details of the work to be done.

iii. A budget estimate specifying how the second grant will be utilized.

7. Upon termination of the fellowship, the beneficiary must agree to return to her country so that the knowledge acquired may be put to good use in local research and training programmes.


The research proposal should cover the following points:

• Why? The concrete nature of the proposed project’s contribution to the life sciences; its innovative, original aspects; and the scope and purpose of the research project. The candidate should demonstrate that the reasons of the theoretical and practical knowledge or training acquired at the host laboratory would be beneficial to her on-going research project.

• What? The expected results or impact of the research project being undertaken.

• How? Describe the proposed arrangements for conducting the research.

• Where?The proposed country, where research will be undertaken and the name and address of the host institute/laboratory.

• When?The time-framework explicitly stating the proposed starting date and the suggested duration of research which should be of twelve months maximum. Because the possibility for extension exists, it would be useful also to give an indication of further development of the project beyond the 1-year time frame.

• How much?A detailed budget estimate indicating the resources required for the candidate to undertake the proposed research. The amount should not exceed USD20,000. All figures must be shown in US dollars and must be stated on a separate page. The total amount indicated should cover, exclusively, the international or domestic travel costs for the proposed itinerary and tuition fees, if any, including personal subsistence abroad, etc. Applicants should be realistic in compiling their estimated budgets, and consider that an average of USD1500 per month for accommodation and meals (including local transportation and incidentals) should not be exceeded. Applications where funds requested are judged to be excessive in relation to the objectives and importance of the project are likely to be considered for a smaller grant.

The following costs are not eligible: computer or equipment purchases; publication costs; attendance at conferences, unless a case can be made that such attendance is an integral part of the research and would make a direct and significant contribution to the outcome of the development of life sciences.


All applications must be submitted with the required documentation on the prescribed and enclosed application forms. Each Member State may nominate up to a maximum of four candidatures. It is the National Commission’s responsibility to select candidates that it wishes to submit to UNESCO. The National Commission is also invited to seek the cooperation of the local scientific community to ensure high standard candidatures that will then have more chances of being selected. The application(s) should reach the Fellowships Programme Section (ERC/RPO/FEL), UNESCO (7, Place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07P) before 30 June 2011. An electronic copy of this letter and the application form is available in the UNESCO Fellowships' website. Advance copy may be sent by fax: +331. or by e-mail: a.zaid@unesco.org/c.dixon-cifuentes@unesco.org (MSWord or PDF format document exclusively).

The application must have the following attachments:

a) The UNESCO Fellowship application form duly completed, in English or in French, in duplicate. Two recent photographs should be included with the form.
b) An e-mail address regularly used by the candidate.
c) Certified copies of degree or diplomas (including transcript of grades) in duplicate. Proof either of having obtained a Ph.D. degree or of being in the process of studying for a Ph.D. degree must be included.
d) A list of publications, if any.
e) A letter of recommendation from someone familiar with the candidate’s work.
f) A host institute’s letter of acceptance (i.e. the institute that has accepted the candidate for work should she be selected for a fellowship). This letter of acceptance must indicate the name of the academic supervisor, the date and duration, and the host institute’s willingness to provide the relevant training facilities required by the candidate in the chosen field of specialization.
g) The certificate of language proficiency (on UNESCO form) duly completed in duplicate for the language of the country of study (should this be different from the candidate’s mother tongue) and signed by the competent authority.
h) Detailed proposal for the research project: one to two page(s) (maximum), in either English or French.


The UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowships include the following:

- The financial contribution specific previously.
- Participation in the Fellowship Training Programme.
- Round-trip travel for the selected beneficiaries from their country of residence to attend For Women in Science week in Paris, France, (date not yet determined) to attend an awards ceremony (sine qua non condition for the award of the fellowship).
- Lodging and pocket money during the stay in Paris for For Women in Science Week and the Fellowship Ceremony.
- A certificate attesting to the special award.


A special Selection Committee made up of representatives of UNESCO, the L’ORÉAL Foundation, and Life Sciences research community or institutions will make the selection of the candidates. The International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) will be also consulted during the selection process. A member of the IBSP may take part in the selection.

UNESCO and the L’ORÉAL Foundation allocate the greatest importance to originality and quality. Consideration will be given only to well-structured projects that demonstrate innovation, creativity and relevance, and which are likely to contribute to enhance knowledge in life sciences.

Files which are incomplete or which are received after the deadline for application, as well as candidatures that do not meet the requirements mentioned above, will not be taken into consideration.

Additional information on the results of the past years’ programme can be obtained by consulting the following website: www.forwomeninscience.com

Only selected candidates will be contacted by UNESCO.

Candidates who have not been informed of their selection by end of September 2011 should consider that their applications have not been successful in the selection process.

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