The researcher Mirjana Povic receives the Nature Research for Inspiring Science Award

Researcher at the Ethiopian Space Sciences and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and associated doctor at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, she investigates the formation and evolution of galaxies. She works in the development of science and education in Africa, with special attention to the role of women, and has coordinated and participated in projects in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana


The Nature Research Awards seek to support gender equality and show the work of women in science. In the category of "inspiring science", which celebrates the excellence of researchers in early stages, the prize has been awarded to Mirjana Povic, researcher and assistant professor at the Ethiopian Space Sciences and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and associated doctor at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA- CSIC).

Born in Serbia, Mirjana Povic has developed her research career mainly in Europe (in Tenerife and Granada), while looking for ways to apply her knowledge in Africa, a continent for which she feels fascination. "My country was at war when I was little, I would never have been able to devote myself to science without the support of my family, a free university education and a scholarship for my PhD. Children in developing countries should know that their lives can change, but it is not enough that they work hard, it is essential to have the support of society, and access to education is the first step", she says emphatically.

"Astronomy has many faces and an impressive capacity to contribute to the development of education, science, innovation and technology", says the researcher, who over the past ten years has been able to observe very closely and participate in the early development of space sciences in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana, as well as South Africa, teaching at universities, organizing and teaching courses, part of them for teachers through NASE (Network for the Education of Astronomy in the School), supervising students of master and doctorate, forming scientific collaborations and working in outreach.

For the past two years, in addition to being associated doctor at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, she works at the Ethiopian Space Sciences and Technology Institute (ESSTI), a new research center and the first of its kind in Ethiopia and East Africa. "In the ESSTI we are starting almost from scratch with all the institutional development, the development of human capacity in astronomy and space sciences and technological and scientific development", she says.


And, in collaboration with the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science and Technology, she has started an outreach project with girls in secondary schools to inspire them and encourage them to work in science. "We aim to reach the largest possible number of girls in Ethiopia, and my dream is to create an African network of women working in astronomy and space sciences to make visible, unite, and empower women in our field", she concludes.
The prize, worth 10,000 euros, is a joint initiative of Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies.


Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Unidad de Divulgación y Comunicación
Silbia López de Lacalle - sll[arroba] - 958230532