Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, researcher at IAA-CSIC, wins the Ada Byron Award from the University of Deusto

The Ada Byron Award, with editions in six countries, was created by the Faculty of Engineering to acknowledge the work of women in technology and encourage women in STEM.




The researcher Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, from Granada (Spain), has won the ninth edition of the Ada Byron Award for Women in Technology, organised by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Deusto. The Junior Ada Byron Award went to Julia Guiomar Niso, from Catalonia.

This award includes Microsoft's gold sponsorship, sponsorships from the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, Danobatgroup and Emakunde-Basque Women's Institute; and the collaboration of Innobasque and Basque Health Cluster. The awards will be presented on June 22, 2022, at the Donostia-San Sebastian campus of the University of Deusto.

Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro holds a PhD in physical sciences from the University of Granada. Her research is mainly focused on the multi-frequency study of galaxy evolution, with special emphasis on radio astronomical observations. In 1998, she obtained a position as a tenured scientist at the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) working on the interstellar medium in galaxies, thereby introducing this line of research at the IAA-CSIC (currently a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence). In 2003, she identified the need to build and characterise a sample of isolated galaxies, and formed  the multidisciplinary group AMIGA (Analysis of the Interstellar Medium in Isolated Galaxies), introducing a new line of research at an international level. In 2011 this researcher became involved in the new great challenge of radio astronomy: the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the largest radio telescope in the world. Being part of this planetary-scale project, where she coordinates the Spanish scientific and technological participation in the SKA, has furthermore given her the unique opportunity to collaborate in the training of professionals in Africa, including promoting STEM vocations.

The University of Deusto has also awarded Julia Guiomar Niso with the Junior Ada Byron Award. She holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the ETSIT of the Polytechnic University of Madrid and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Biomedical Technology Centre of the same university. Her research focuses on the study of brain dynamics.

More than one hundred and fifty candidates

The jury received and evaluated 154 nominations for the 9th Ada Byron Award. 117 of them have applied for the main prize, which includes a 3,000 euros award. For the Junior Ada Byron Award, endowed with 1,000 euros, a total of 37 candidatures were submitted.

Among the candidates of this edition of the award, it is worth highlighting the extensive scientific production, the international nature and expertise and the vocation for applied research aimed at improving the quality of life in society. Multimedia platforms and social networks were also considered particularly important for scientific dissemination, especially among the Junior Ada Byron candidates.

As usual, the candidates have diverse backgrounds and different geographical origins, and this year there was a special emphasis on professionals in the fields of astrophysics, physics, computer science and computing, electronics and biomedical engineering.

An award present in six countries 

The Ada Byron Award for Women in Technology was created nine years ago in Spain by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Deusto. The aims of the prize are to encourage vocations in the field of technological research and development among women, to promote the importance of technology in all areas of life and social development, and to acknowledge, through women’s work and studies, their contribution to humanity.

In previous editions of the Ada Byron award, the winners were: Montserrat Meya, expert in artificial intelligence and machine translation; Asunción Gómez, researcher in so-called "semantic technologies"; Nuria Oliver, director of Telefónica R&D; Regina Llopis, PhD in Mathematics Applied to Artificial Intelligence from the University of California Berkeley (United States); María Ángeles Martín, tenured professor at the University of Seville in the Department of Electronic Engineering; Concepción Alicia Monje, researcher in Robotics and senior lecturer at the Carlos III University of Madrid; Laura María Lechuga, graduate in Chemistry and coordinator of one of the European projects for the study of COVID-19; and Elena García Armada, PhD in Industrial Engineering, Research Scientist at the CSIC and President of Marsi Bionics. 

The winners of the Junior Ada Byron Award were Ana Freire, Engineer and PhD in Computer Science, researcher and lecturer at the School of Engineering of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona); Susana Ladra, PhD in Computer Science and graduate in Mathematics; and Jordina Torrents, PhD from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in the field of artificial intelligence. 

In 2019, the University of Deusto took a step forward in the internationalisation of the prize by presenting the award in Mexico; in 2020 it reached Argentina and last year it was also presented in Uruguay and Colombia. The great novelty of this edition is the extension of the award to Chile, where it will be presented next September. Consequently, this prize will be established in six countries from this year on. The University hopes next to extend it to other countries in Europe and Latin America, and in the long term to award an international prize.



Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Unidad de Divulgación y Comunicación
Emilio J. García- garcia[arroba]iaa.es - 649407445