Prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO fellowship for Leeds mathematician

Dr Priya Subramanian, research fellow in the School of Mathematics, won a prestigious Fellowship at the 10th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland For Women In Science awards.

The annual Fellowships programme provides £15,000 of flexible financial support for outstanding female postdoctoral researchers to continue research in their fields, as part of a wider L’Oréal-UNESCO programme aimed at supporting and increasing the number of women working in STEM professions in the UK, where 85% of jobs are held by men.

Dr Subramanian was one of 5 winners, chosen from nearly 300 applicants. Her research explores mathematical recipes for never-repeating quasicrystals. Repeating patterns of tiles and crystals occur throughout the natural world, but never-repeating patterns are special because they possess order without repeatability. So-called quasicrystals containing such arrangements of atoms and molecules are thought to require less energy to assemble, and could offer advantages in manufacturing, insulation and photonic devices.  

The Fellowship winners are able to spend their prize money on whatever they need in order to continue their research and take the next step in their careers, be that expensive lab equipment, field research, or childcare costs. This year, many of the winners who have young families said they intend to use the award to help balance the time demands of a career in academic research with raising a family. Others said it will help them to collaborate with other scientists or travel to international conferences.  

Professor Dame Carol Robinson, Head of the Judging Panel and a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Laureate, said: “These awards are well known in the science community and are always fiercely contested because of the vital support they provide. Each of our finalists is working on innovative and ground-breaking research, so selecting the winners was a tough task for the judges, but we are delighted they can now benefit from this support at a crucial stage in their careers, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their research in the future.” 

Congratulations to Dr Subramanian!