The development of world-class talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is essential to the economic success of any nation. The Althea Foundation and Imperial College London understand that promoting a diverse scientific community is necessary to realize this objective. Women entrepreneurs in STEM jobs can earn between 30-40 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to innovate and create in a wide range of professional fields.
Women make up nearly half of the students enrolled in science and engineering programs in British universities, but they still lag behind men in patenting inventions and in starting their own businesses. The Althea Foundation has partnered with Imperial College London to create an annual award that will honor innovations by promising female students in STEM.
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The first Althea Imperial Award winner was selected in 2015. Charikleia Spathi, a Civil & Environmental Engineering PhD student, was awarded the prize for her idea to create a product which draws on the use of a waste material to develop a super-hydrophobic powder.
The 2016 Award winner, Gabriella Santosa, an undergraduate student in Biochemistry, was awarded the prize for creating membranes which not only capture and remove traces of heavy metals and other micro pollutants from water, but allow them to be recycled.