As we face unprecedented challenges in our society, one thing remains true: The world needs science, and science needs women. Without women in science, we wouldn’t get the whole picture; to move forward and make progress, we need an efficient, inclusive discipline that draws on all talents and points of view. Celebrating and financially supporting the groundbreaking contributions of these trailblazers is the goal behind L’OréalUNESCO For Women in Science, an international awards program that recognizes engaged, exceptional talent in this vast field. What’s more, in 2023, the organization celebrates 25 years—including 20 years in Canada—of promoting women scientists around the world.

This year’s five winners are conversation-shifters and bona fide role models in the making. Take Sabrina Rondeau, a post-doctoral fellow in the department of biology at the University of Ottawa: Her extensive work examines the connection between pollinator conservation and sustainable food production. By working with farmers, community scientists and experts around the world, Rondeau’s ultimate goal is to find long-term solutions that will mitigate global bee decline.

On a similar note, Marianne Falardeau-Côté, a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Integrative Biology and Systems at Laval University, has focused her work on the Arctic, where climate change is up to four times more rapid than anywhere else on the planet. Through a collaborative approach with Inuit experts, Falardeau-Côté seeks to understand the impact of climate change on their marine ecosystems and resources.

Shifting over to modern history, Ariane Godbout, a doctoral student at the University of Quebec in Montreal, has followed an unconventional path in the sciences. After dedicating herself to research on the foundations of political mobilization in the past and present, she is now focused on spreading her relevant (and real world-applicable) findings far and wide: that we need to break from the traditional vision of citizenship, which was conceived within the framework of the nation-state.

A post-doctoral associate in the department of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Calgary, Michelle Asbury has dedicated her research to how in-hospital nutrition impacts the growth of preterm infants and their gut microbiome. The aim of her next project—in which she’ll study a group of around 400 mother-infant pairs—is to understand the range of nutrients and immune components in human milk.

The final winner is Lia Huo, a biomedical engineering candidate pursuing a dual MD and Ph.D. degree at the University of Toronto. Working out of 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate Dr. Molly Shoichet’s lab, Huo seeks to generate therapeutic measures for combatting blindness.

Five women scientists, five research directions, five inspiring paths to changing the world—that’s what the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards are all about.