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Laura Elo receives award for academic merits

Dr. Laura Elo (fifth from right) is the first Finn to receive a For Women in Science grant.L'Oreal

Bioinformatics researcher Dr. Laura Elo has been recognised with a For Women in Science grant in the International Rising Talent category. 

The For Women in Science grants were awarded last week in Paris for the 21st time by L’Oreal Foundation and UNESCO. The grants celebrate accomplished women in academia around the globe, this year focusing on merits in material sciences, mathematics and information technology.

Five women, including the renowned French mathematician Claire Voisin, were awarded 100 000 euros for their achievements. Dr. Laura Elo, who is currently the research director at the University of Turku’s Medical Bioninformatics Centre, was one of 15 women to receive a 15 000-euro grant in the International Rising Talent category.

Her research deals with computational biomedicine, which is based on applied mathematics. In 2007, her PhD was chosen as the best doctoral dissertation in bioinformatics.

“Elo’s research aims to develop computational modelling methods with which the data gathered in monitoring studies can be utilised to determine an individual’s risk of illness,” explained Irma Thesleff, chairperson of the Finnish jury.

L’Oreal and UNESCO founded the grant in 1998 due to the under-representation of women in science. Women currently account for 28 per cent of researchers, 11 per cent of higher-level university staff and a mere three per cent of Nobel prize winners.

In the twenty one years, the For Women in Science grants have been given to a total of 107 female researchers. The programme has also facilitated research opportunities for over 3 000 young scholars in 117 countries.

By: Samuli Ojala