LIOS researcher Liene Grigorjeva receives the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Award

Liene Grigorjeva

On September 5, 2023, in collaboration with the Baltic States’ Academies of Sciences and UNESCO National Commissions, L’Oréal awarded seven talented female scientists in the prestigious Baltic Young Talents Program for Women in Science. One of them is Dr. chem. Liene Grigorjeva, the leading researcher of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) in the Organic Synthesis Methodology group and a member of the LIOS Scientific Council.

Dr. Chem. Liene Grigorjeva is recognized for developing a methodology using affordable, non-toxic cobalt catalysts to synthesize valuable organic compounds. These methods yield new as well as known compounds with useful properties, aligning with modern resource efficiency and environmental standards. The title of the awarded research is “Cobalt-Catalyzed C-H Bond Functionalization.”

Liene acknowledges the significance of this recognition:

“This award is very important recognition because it shows that women can also be successful scientists and contribute to the progress of science. I hope that this award will inspire other women and girls to follow their calling.”

During the ceremonial award presentation, the laureates were greeted by the former President of Latvia (1999-2007), the patroness of the Baltic Young Talents Program for Women in Science, Academician Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga:

“Women in science have been rare for a long time. However, even ancient history has distinguished examples. For instance, Hypatia, the distinguished mathematician of Alexandria, was gruesomely murdered by fanatics of her day simply for being a woman of science. Science, in fact, has been in constant battle against unreason, superstition, and fanaticism throughout its history. The rule of reason is what keeps us from savagery, cruelty, and injustices.”

She wished the young scientists:

“There is a vast universe out there, full of unknowns, despite all the efforts and generations we have dedicated to exploring it. I believe it is a noble mission to continue forward, to do your part, and to strive for your best. I wish you both professional and personal success because your personal happiness is an integral part of your life too.”

Ivars Kalviņš, the President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, pointed out that this year, 36 young female scientists from Latvia applied for the program, including 17 Ph.D. holders and 19 doctoral students, submitting high-quality research projects.

The Women in Science program in Latvia was established 19 years ago by program patron Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007). Currently, the Women in Science program is implemented by L’Oréal in collaboration with the Academies of Sciences of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, as well as UNESCO National Commissions.

Photo: Jānis Deinats