First Marie Speyer Grants awarded to outstanding women researchers

The Marie Speyer Excellence Grants were launched this year with a precise aim: to empower outstanding women to develop their research at the University. The programme is one of several initiatives to foster a diverse, gender-friendly and equal opportunities research environment.

The applications were assessed based on strict criteria: the academic excellence of the candidate, the originality of the project proposal, and the potential research impact.

Dr Flor de Guadalupe Ortiz Gómez

Current satellite systems are slow and inefficient, but BrainSat seeks to change this by introducing highly efficient processors that can handle massive amounts of data quickly and with much less energy. This breakthrough not only promises better satellite communication but also sets a new standard for AI applications in various fields, showing how advanced computing can transform space technology and beyond.

"Learning that my BrainSat project had been selected for funding was incredibly rewarding. This recognition validates my hard work and dedication and marks an important milestone in my research journey. I’m motivated to continue advancing satellite communication technology using neuromorphic computing."

Dr Réka Markovich

Automated Decision-making (ADM) can make legal processes faster and more consistent, potentially reducing biases. However, ensuring these systems are transparent and accountable is crucial for maintaining trust. The DISCREASON project’s efforts to address the challenges of using AI in discretionary legal decisions could lead to more reliable and fair applications of AI in law, ultimately benefiting society by making legal decisions more predictable and equitable.

"I am very glad since I am eager to work on this topic. I have just established my own group in the Department of Computer Science, and getting this project funded is a great booster for even bigger endeavours in future."

Prof. Anna-Lena Högenauer

Luxembourg has long struggled with gender disparity in politics, despite attempts to address it through quotas in recent elections. WOMEN4PARLIAMENT aims to uncover why these efforts haven’t had a significant impact. By examining various factors like the electoral system, party candidate selection processes, individual candidate characteristics, and societal attitudes toward women, the project seeks to understand the persistent underrepresentation of women in parliament.

"I’m delighted to have received a Marie Speyer Grant, which will allow me to research the causes of the underrepresentation of women in Luxembourgish politics as part of the WOMEN4PARLIAMENT project. In addition to its original goal of empowering female researchers at the University, the grant might also contribute to the ongoing efforts to improve the gender balance in Luxembourgish politics."

Prof. Elisabeth Letellier

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major global health issue, with limited treatment options once it spreads. Recent research suggests that the gut microbiome, the community of microbes in our intestines, may influence how well patients respond to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. GUT-BOOST aims to explore this link by identifying specific microbial metabolites that either promote or inhibit CRC tumour growth. By understanding how these metabolites affect the immune system and engineering bacteria to release beneficial metabolites directly into the tumour environment, the project seeks to enhance the effectiveness of ICI therapy for CRC patients, potentially leading to more personalised and effective treatments in the future.

"I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be among the four awardees of the inaugural Marie Speyer Excellence Grants. I am excited to continue pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery and making a meaningful impact in the field of oncology. Thanks to the Marie Speyer Excellence Grants for this incredible opportunity and support."