Dr Tonya Blowers
OWSD Coordinator, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), International.
Knowledge Exchange Forum: Important early career milestones and support
Tonya Blowers is Programme Coordinator for the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) based in Trieste, Italy. She has a PhD in Women and Gender from the University of Warwick (UK) and has developed science communication courses for PhD students in neuroscience, biology, physics and mathematics. Before joining OWSD, Tonya was Staff Writer at TWAS (the world academy of sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries), editing the TWAS Newsletter and website and contributing many articles on science in developing countries.
OWSD provides research training and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers and has been operating successfully since 1989. A key activity is the South to South PhD Fellowships programme which has been generously funded by Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) for over sixteen years. OWSD administers the fellowships and provides all associated costs including travel, accommodation and monthly stipend, to enable young women from sub-Saharan Africa and least developed countries to undertake PhDs at a host institution of internationally recognised research excellence in the South to access necessary equipment, resources and expertise. OWSD also administers a prestigious and highy visible awards scheme to young women scientists from developing countries. Launched in 2012 by The Elsevier Foundation, TWAS and OWSD, five awards are given annually to women from each of five regions in the developing world. The award has an important impact on local research cultures and the awardees are powerful role models for young women who might be embarking on scientific careers, or indeed contemplating whether to remain in an environment that is often hostile to their needs and experience. OWSD has over 4,000 members committed to the goal of building up the number and quality of women scientists in those countries and regions that need the most support. OWSD members can network face to face through activities organised by OWSD National Chapters, or through Regional and International conferences, as well as online through the OWSD website and a listserv that reaches over 3,000 subscibers throughout the South.