Nunes receives 2020 LEWAS Award

Portrait of Dr. Suzana Nunes, KAUST professor of chemical and environmental science and engineering, and recipient of the LEWAS 2020 Award. Photo: KAUST

Dr. Suzana Nunes is the recipient of the LEWAS 2020 Award in the category of Academic Achievement for a University Researcher. LEWAS (Leadership Excellence for Women Awards and Symposium) showcases the accomplishments of women in the energy sector, and is a leading advocate for women in the Middle East.

The KAUST professor of chemical and environmental science and engineering is recognized for her academic career, which she has dedicated to the development of polymeric membranes, with applications in water, energy and the environment, and also for her role mentoring young female scientists.

The LEWAS foundation's goals are to "engage, empower and elevate" female professionals by creating opportunities for advancement, exchange and collaboration. The theme of the 2020 event is Resilience Reimagined: Leading People Through Change, which acknowledges an era of sweeping energy crises that calls for "flexibility, empathy, and action to guide your teams, projects, and businesses."

"This award is quite special for me because it is recognizes my achievements relevant to the energy sector, and work promoting women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)," said Nunes.

"The theme of resilience reflects so much of what I needed to succeed as a female scientist. Women need opportunities to have a voice and demonstrate leadership. This does not happen enough. I will continue to advocate for equality, more undergraduate options for female engineers in the region, and more leadership positions."

(l-r) Ola Habboud, Suzana Nunes and Bruno Pulido discuss the potential of their PET membrane for application to industry. Photo: KAUST

Nunes has enjoyed a prolific, 11-year affiliation with KAUST, which includes serving as associate dean, and her current role heading the Nanostructured Polymeric Membrane Laboratory. For decades she has worked in membrane technology, targeting separation processes relevant to the water sector and chemical industry. Her group is currently engaged in the development of nanofiltration membranes with high chemical stability and selectivity for molecular separations.

Prior to joining KAUST, Nunes coordinated strategic German and European projects on membranes for renewable energy, with a focus on hydrogen technology, fuel cell and CO2 separation.

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