NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ — L'Oreal USA announced today the start of the application period for its respected L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program. This national award program, now in its sixth year, aims to annually recognize, reward and support five women postdoctoral researchers. The awardees are U.S.-based researchers beginning careers in the life and physical/material sciences, mathematics, engineering and computer science.

As part of L'Oreal USA's commitment to help women scientists achieve their goals, the grant awarded to L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science recipients will increase in 2009 from $40,000 to a maximum of $60,000. The amount of the grant will be based on each candidate's research experience as well as the quality of their proposal. The grant increase is a result of L'Oreal USA's dedication to supporting women within the scientific fields.

The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program launched in 2003 and has since awarded 25 fellowships to women scientists across the U.S. The application and review process is administrated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The program has attracted a number of ambitious researchers from diverse scientific fields, representing some of the nation's leading academic institutions and laboratories. A jury of nine distinguished scientists — presided over by Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences — reviews the applications, and selects the L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science recipients.

The five L'Oreal USA 2009 Fellows will be invited to attend a week of events in New York City that include an awards ceremony, professional development workshops, media training and networking opportunities. Organized and facilitated in partnership with AAAS, these workshops encompass job search techniques, interviewing skills, budget development for grant requests and strategies for peer-reviewed publication.

The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science is a component of the international L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science program — which annually awards $100,000 each to five leading women career scientists — one each from Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America, South America, Africa and the Arab States.

The program also features the UNESCO-L'OREAL International Fellowships, which annually grant, over a two-year period, $40,000 each to 15 promising young women scientists, at doctoral or postdoctoral levels, from around the globe.

The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program, and its aim to advance the careers of women postdoctoral researchers in the U.S., is especially relevant in light of America's weakening competitiveness in the global marketplace. There is an urgent need to increase the funding for basic science research in the U.S., and also the number of students, particularly girls and young women, majoring in science, mathematics and engineering.

Earlier this year, L'Oreal USA commissioned a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive of adults and teens, to uncover attitudes and perceptions of women in science in America. Survey results found that 80% of adults believe that more women and minorities are needed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields to best achieve scientific and technological progress.

L'Oreal also understands the need to attract more women to science and to raise awareness of their contributions to the field. Last year, L'Oreal USA launched its For Girls in Science initiative, as an extension of the L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program. The For Girls in Science program strives to engage, inspire and advance young girls' interest in STEM. Young girls are encouraged to participate in hands-on after school science programs.

The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program is open to women postdoctoral researchers only. Candidates interested in applying may visit the L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science web site at http://www.lorealusa.com/forwomeninscience, to obtain more information about program eligibility and requirements. All applications must be postmarked by October 31, 2008. http://www.lorealusa.com/forwomeninscience

ABOUT L'OREAL

A worldwide leader in the cosmetics industry, L'Oreal develops innovative products to meet the diverse needs of customers in 130 countries worldwide. Nearly 3,000 people work in the Group's 16 research centers, located in France, Asia and America. Their findings are responsible for the registration of hundreds of patents annually. Women represent 55% of the research workforce — a percentage unmatched anywhere else in the industry. www.loreal.com

ABOUT AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide. www.aaas.org

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The STEM survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of L'Oreal USA between March 31 and April 21, 2008 among 1,003 adults ages 18+, of whom 382 were male and 621 were female. For complete methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Dana Ropper, L'Oreal USA at (212) 984-4742.

SOURCE L'Oreal USA

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