Researcher Mirjana Povic receives the Jocelyn Bell Burnell Award from the European Astronomical Society

Researcher at the Ethiopian Institute of Space Science and Technology and a vinculated doctor to the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, she investigates the formation and evolution of galaxies. She works in the development of science and education in Africa, with a special focus on the role of women, and has coordinated and participated in projects in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana




The European Astronomical Society (EAS) has just released its list of 2021 winners. Among them, Mirjana Pović (Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute and Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia), has been awarded the Jocelyn Bell Burnell Inspiration Medal, an award which is awarded this year for the first time. The jury highlighted " her work on the developing astronomy, science and education as a route out of poverty and to improve the quality of life for young people in Africa".

Serbian by birth, Mirjana Povic has developed her research career mainly in Europe (in Tenerife and Granada), while she was looking for a way to apply her knowledge in Africa, a continent for which she is fascinated. "My country was at war when I was little. I would never have been able to pursue science without the support of my family, a free college education, and a scholarship for my PhD. Children in developing countries need to know that their lives can change. But it is not enough for them to work hard. It is essential to have the support of society, and access to education is the first step", he points out bluntly.

"Astronomy has many faces and an impressive capacity to contribute to the development of education, science, innovation and technology", says the researcher, who over the last twelve years has been able to closely observe and participate in actively involved in the early developments of space sciences in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana, as well as South Africa, teaching at universities, organizing and delivering courses, lecturing for faculty through NASE ( of the Network for Astronomy Education at School), supervising master's and doctoral students, forming scientific collaborations and working in outreach.

Since 2016, in addition to being a vinculated doctor at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, she works at the Ethiopian Institute of Space Sciences and Technology (ESSTI), a new research center and the first of its kind in all of Ethiopia and East Africa.

And, in collaboration with the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science and Technology, she develops an outreach project with girls in secondary schools to inspire and encourage them to work in science. "We aim to reach as many girls as possible throughout Ethiopia. Additionally, my dream is to create an African network of women working in astronomy and space sciences to make visible, unite, and empower women in our field", concludes the researcher.




Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Unidad de Divulgación y Comunicación
Silbia López de Lacalle - sll[arroba] - 958230676