More support needed for women (to pursue a career) in science


This year, the FNR celebrates 20 years. Over these two decades, Luxembourg research has developed in an impressive way: From almost non-existent, Luxembourg is now on the research world map. In his opinion piece, FNR Secretary General introduces a few researchers in Luxembourg.

Karin Priem researches public history and social reform at the University of Luxembourg. With her team, she analysed a collection of over 2,000 photos taken by ARBED in the last century. Across two projects, Prof Priem was able to show how the steel producer helped shape Luxembourg’s national and international identity in a time of industrialisation.

Aida Nazarikhorram is a trained medical doctor. With her husband, who researched computer science and robotics at the University of Luxembourg, she launched a start-up. They make a the socially assistive robot QTRobot, which provides assistance for children with autism. Their robot – a product ‘made in Luxembourg’ – is now getting delivered to dozens of schools and therapy centers across the globe. Aida is originally from Iran, but has as of recently taken on the Luxembourg nationality.

Emma Schymanski from the LCSB tackles open questions such as: What are the unknown chemicals, or molecules, in the environment? Which effects can they have on health and disease? These “unknown” small molecules could reveal many secrets about causes of disease, human activities, organisms and their interactions with the environment. The long-term aim within LCSB is to identify links between factors in the environment – such as chemicals – and diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Emma, originally from Australia, has also integrated well in Luxembourg – she also plays Trombone in the ‘Bielesser Musek’.

This concludes our short look at some of the scientists who are following their passion of science here in Luxembourg.

You may have noticed, all three portraits were of women. Unfortunately, this is not representative of Luxembourg research. If there is anything we must improve on in the future, it is to get rid of this inequality and make it possible for more women to follow their passion and pursue a career in research in Luxembourg, as for example Karin, Aida and Emma have done.

This opinion piece was originally published as a ‘Carte Blanche’ on in December 2019 (in Luxembourgish)

Marc Schiltz

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