L’Oréal Malaysia Honors Three Outstanding Women in Science


(L-R): Dr Suriani Abu Bakar,Dr Ruslinda A. Rahim, Dr Chuah Lee Siang (FWIS Fellowship recipients 2013)

Kuala Lumpur, November 14, 2013 –   Founded in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership was created to recognize and promote women in science.   In Malaysia, each year since 2006, L’Oréal Malaysia has offered three Fellowships to help early-career women scientists consolidate their careers and rise to leadership position in science as well as to inspire the next generation of women scientists.  This year, another three outstanding young women in material science was awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowship and each will also receive a research grant worth RM20,000.  These three young women scientists were selected out of 68 submissions by an esteemed jury panel, their research proposal was evaluated based on the scientific impact, quality of research, publications, work experience and previous awards received.

This year L’Oréal is celebrating the 15th year anniversary of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program.  Over the last 15 years, this program has expanded internationally to become truly global and now present in 108 countries.  The program has honored 77 Laureates, including two who went on to win the Nobel Prize, supported more than 1,652 fellows who have made contributions in every field of scientific research.  By the end of 2013, a total of 1,728 women scientist from all over the world will have benefitted from this program.   “The company as a whole invests about €9.4M (RM40 million) a year to support this philanthropic initiative, which accounts for 47% of the group’s corporate philanthropy budget – making us the only beauty company in the world which supports women in science”, said Mr. Ashwin Rajgopal, Managing Director of L’Oréal Malaysia.

This year’s award ceremony was held at the Grand Ballroom at Le Meridian Hotel Kuala Lumpur.  The afternoon program welcomed guest of honor, YBhg Datuk Dr. Madinah Mohamad, Secretary General, Ministry of Education Malaysia.  Also in attendance were members from UNESCO, Akedemi Sains Malaysia, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology, members from various Universities and the scientific and education community in Malaysia. 

In the address speech by Datuk Dr. Madinah, she stressed that “Participation of women in higher education has been rising rapidly.  Females have overtaken the males in tertiary education with a gender parity index of 1:1.23. The latest statistics for 2012 showed that the percentage of female students have reached 60% of the total enrolment in public higher education institutions.  There is also a steady increase between 4 – 6% in the number of women in Science and Technology related courses such as Engineering, Computer Science and Health Sciences.  The higher percentage of participation of women in higher education sector indicated that the Ministry of Education advocates the empowerment of women and has promoted women rights with respect to the access to basic, as well as higher education”.

Datuk Dr. Madinah added, “I am also delighted that L’Oréal Malaysia is committed to work with the government and the Ministry to help increase the involvement of women in science and technology as this is an essential component of our economic development.  Women’s empowerment through science and technology is seen as a medium to enable them to realize their full potential and shape their lives in accordance with their aspirations, and also to strengthen the advancement of science and wealth accumulation”.

The 2013 Fellows are working on breakthrough scientific research, which addressed critical global challenges that could aid millions around the world.  Their research include:

Dr. Chuah

Dr. Chuah Lee Siang, Senior Lecturer, Physics Section, School of Distance Education, University Sains Malaysia.  For her research on nanotechnology to further increase the efficiency of LED lighting by increasing the life span of lighting device that will contribute towards solving golbal energy and environmental issues

Dr Ruslinda

Dr. Ruslinda A. Rahim, Deputy Dean, Research Management and Innovation Centre and Senior Lecturer, Institute of Nano Electronic Engineering, University Malaysia Perlis. For her research in developing a hand-held portable electronic device for early detection of HIV-1 disease.

Dr Suriani

Dr. Suriani Abu Bakar, Head and Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris.  For her research to synthesize and characterize Graphene through an Electrochemical Exfoliation method that can be used to form carbon nanotubes from waste materials.

By offering visibility, a public platform, and support to women working in scientific research, L’Oréal and UNESCO are engaged an ongoing commitment to changing the face of science.  This initiative is a source of motivation and inspiration for young scientists today who will change the world of tomorrow.  “I’m so proud to receive this Fellowship.  The acknowledgment of my work and contribution makes me want to do more and it has also encourage my students to follow in my foot-steps, said Dr. Suriani Abu Bakar.

L’Oréal Scientific Legacy

Since L’Oréal was created by a researcher, chemist Eugène Schueller, over a century ago, L’Oréal has never stopped believing in research as a source of innovation and progress: pushing the boundaries of science and knowledge, promoting research, strengthening the role of women in science, recognizing excellence and encouraging scientific vocations and investment in new research areas.

About the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation

The L’Oréal Foundation embodies the L’Oréal Group’s commitment to embracing corporate citizenship through acts of generosity.  It focuses on science and beauty – the two pillars on which L’Oréal has built its success for over a century – as the strategic focus for the Foundation’s actions.  Science stands at the very heart of the Foundation’s activities.  Its star initiative, the “For Women in Science” program developed in partnership with UNESCO, recognizes women who have contributed to scientific progress on every continent, and promotes scientific advances worldwide.  The Foundation’s other commitments focus on the belief that beauty should be

accessible to everyone and that it plays a key role in moving our society forward –‐ through transforming lives through reconstructive surgery, socio–‐aesthetic workshops or education –‐ as a means of improving the life quality of vulnerable people, helping them return to normal life, and restoring the self–‐esteem and dignity they need to make their way in society.


Since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has pursued its mission of promoting science at the service of sustainable development and peace.  It focuses on policy development and building capacities in science, technology and innovation and promoting and strengthening science education and engineering.  UNESCO fosters the sustainable management of freshwater, oceans and terrestrial resources, the protection of biodiversity, and using the power of science to cope with climate change and natural hazards.  The Organization also works to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to promote equality between men and women, especially in scientific research.


L’Oreal, the world’s leading cosmetics company, has catered to all forms of beauty in the world for over 100 years and has built an unrivalled portfolio of 28 international, diverse and complementary brands.


L’Oréal is the cosmetics industry’s largest investor in research with a hi-tech industrial approach that guarantees innovative, high-value-added products. Visit www.loreal.com.my for more information

For further information, please contact
Jean Loh
Email: [email protected] or

Nik Husliza Mohd Nawi
Email: [email protected]

 This press release was provided by L’Oréal Malaysia.