MIGAL’s female researcher Dr. Dorit Avni, awarded 7.5 million grant for ground-breaking research into inflammatory bowel disease

Dr. Dorit Avni was only one of the MIGAL’s female researchers who participated in the Researchers Course “Champions” for the advancement of women researchers. A course that MIGAL, Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL) a regional mega-R&D centre supported by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, launched in 2019 for improving gender equality in research, thanks to the Gender Equality Plan developed in the framework of the R&I Peers project. The course had the objective to promote women’s participation in international and competitive research projects, in leading scientific journals, and participate in economic and research decision-making. The course tacked aspects like, empowering self-confidence, improving presentation capabilities and the ability to write competitive research proposal.

Dr. Dorit Avni from the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute receives the prestigious Horizon 2020 R&D grant.
Dr. Dorit Avni from the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute receives the prestigious Horizon 2020 R&D grant, February 7, 2021. (photo credit: MIGAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE)

As a result, Dr. Dorit Avni,the group leader of MIGAL’s Bioactive Metabolites and Immune Modulation Laboratory, initiated, led and coordinated ALGEA4IBD, a project, that has been now awarded the prestigious European Union HORIZON 2020 R&D grant in the amount of EUR 7.5 million.

Shai-Lee Spigelman, Science and Technology Ministry Director-General complimented her and her team by saying “This award is an impressive achievement that few achieve, with international recognition confirming the importance of this innovative project aimed at transforming algae into sorely needed treatments for inflammatory related diseases.”

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Heidemarie Uhl Receives 2020 ZRC SAZU Member of Honour Award

Dr Heidemarie Uhl Receives ZRC SAZU Member of Honour Award 2020

One of the target areas of the ZRC SAZU’s Gender Equality Plan (GEP) focuses on practices to promote of female researchers’ results and achievements. Analysis of existing promotion practices at ZRC SAZU conducted in the GEP preparatory phase revealed that senior male researchers’ results are promoted more frequently than those of female researchers.

The disparity is particularly visible when it comes to awards. The analysis of award honoring practices, focusing on the past twenty years, was based on the data on winners and nominees for ZRC SAZU awards: The ZRC SAZU Gold Award, the ZRC SAZU Silver Award, the ZRC SAZU Researcher of Merit, and the ZRC SAZU Member of Honour. Currently, more female researchers than male researchers are employed at ZRC SAZU, but the data show that the majority of awards was received by male researchers, who lead in all categories. Specifically, 18 men and 9 women received the Gold Award, and 10 men and 5 women received the Silver Award. In the investigated period, not a single woman became an ZRC SAZU Member of Honour. The Member of Honour award is given to top researchers who make an important contribution to the establishment of the ZRC SAZU at home and abroad.

This trend, however, was reversed in 2020, when the ZRC SAZU Member of Honour Award was bestowed upon Dr. Heidemarie Uhl, a senior researcher at the Institute of Culture Studies and Theater History at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and lecturer at the universities of Vienna and Graz. In her research, Dr. Uhl focuses on constructions of identity in 19th and 20th Century Central Europe, on National Socialism and the Holocaust in Austria, and on selected episodes of 19th and 20th century European cultural history.