The Slovenia Times

Three women researchers win L'Oréal-UNESCO grants

Science & Education
UKC Ljubljana inaugurates new state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Physicist Tanja Goričanec, biochemist Klara Kuret and chemical engineer Ana Oberlintner have won the national L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science scholarships for 2023.

The trio were awarded the €5,000 scholarships on 1 March to join the 46 promising young women researchers who have won the awards in Slovenia in the 17 years since the start of the programme.

Goričanec is a final year PhD student in nuclear engineering and works as a research assistant at the reactor physics department of the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana. She contributes to the carbon neutrality of society by investigating the response of off-centre neutron detectors in a typical pressurised water nuclear reactor.

Kuret is a researcher in RNA molecular biology at the Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana. She is pursuing her PhD in nanoscience and nanotechnology at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.

As part of her PhD, she is using computational approaches to investigate cellular interactions between RNA and proteins, which play a key role in regulating gene expression and are extremely important for normal cell function and tissue development.

Oberlintner is a junior researcher at the Institute of Chemistry at the catalysis and reaction engineering department, where she studies bio-based and biodegradable materials. She is currently also doing postgraduate studies in ecotechnology at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, where she works as an assistant.

Her PhD thesis focuses on hydrophobic modifications of cellulose nanomaterials aiming at improving and increasing the usability of bio-based and biodegradable packaging materials.

Alenka Malej, chair of the national committee for the L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Programme, said this year's results showed "we have talented young women scientists who have tasted the beauty and difficulties of research work, and the scholarship they have won proves they are on the right track".

Only a third of all researchers worldwide are women, and only 11% of them hold senior research posts. Fewer than 4% of Nobel Prize winners are women.

In Slovenia, official statistics show that the number of female researchers has remained about half the number of male researchers in recent years. The share of women holding a PhD in engineering and technology is still the lowest, while it is the highest for the humanities.


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