CBQF researchers honored in the book “Women in Science”

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 16:48

The researchers Célia Manaia, Marta Vasconcelos and Paula Teixeira, from the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) of the Faculty of Biotechnology of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, are part of the book “Women in Science” 2023, an initiative of Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture. “From Biology to Mathematics, from Chemistry to Social Sciences, from Physics to Archaeology, from Neurosciences to Geography, from Engineering to History, from Space Sciences to Philosophy”, this book, now in its fourth edition, includes 101 Portuguese women scientists from different areas of knowledge.

Célia Manaia is a microbiologist. Marta Vasconcelos is a biologist. Paula Teixeira is a food engineer. They share a passion for research and the institution where they carry it out: the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry of the Faculty of Biotechnology of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa. In her text, Célia Manaia highlights “Science has the double effect of fascinating me and making me feel tiny! For me, doing research is questioning, experimenting, and communicating. Between fun, persistence and some resilience, there is also a sense of duty of integrity, of making known what is relevant, of inspiring young people.

Marta Vasconcelos defines herself as “a lover of science: for creating questions, for designing projects and putting together teams that respond to them, and for sharing solutions with society.” At the moment, she works “at the interface between plant biology and human nutrition. In particular, I try to understand the impact of climate change on the nutritional content and productivity of plant foods.” The biologist also indicates that she has “been lucky enough to be able to work on what I love and what makes me happy. My professional choices have been made naturally, and not always following more conventional definitions of what it means to be successful. Being a scientist must always go far beyond gender issues, but it's always good to see our work inspire other girls, girls, women to follow their dreams, and know how to balance the different dimensions of their lives."

Paula Teixeira mentions in her text that she has difficulty imagining a career other than teaching and research in microbiology and food safety. “It is a privilege to be able to learn and teach, share the passion for knowledge and spread enthusiasm, awaken talents, accompany the growth of students and contribute to the health and well-being of society, without neglecting family life.” Regarding her inclusion in the book, she feels honored to “be part of a group that includes Women whose journey has been a source of inspiration for me and Women to whom I have passed on some of my enthusiasm for the work I do and, perhaps even, inspired. It is with great pride that I see my work recognized and I thank Ciência Viva for this recognition. But my work is also the work of All and All who have accompanied me on this journey, personally and professionally, and to whom this acknowledgment is meritorious. I cannot fail to thank the institution that has provided the conditions for my work, the Faculty of Biotechnology of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Porto and the CBQF, its research centre.”

The book was presented last Wednesday, March 8, at the Pavilhão do Conhecimento, in Lisbon, and featured interventions by Elvira Fortunato, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Isabel Ferreira, researcher and current Secretary of State for Regional Development, Rosália Vargas, president of Ciência Viva, José Luís Cardoso, president of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, among other members present. The book brings together testimonies from different generations and areas of knowledge, portrayed by photographers Alípio Padilha, Ana Brígida, Diana Tinoco and Rodrigo Cabrita.

Women scientists currently represent more than 50% of all researchers in Portugal and their role has been crucial for the progress of national science and technology.

Download the book “Women in Science” (2023).

Also read the news about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.