Rammal Award 2017 goes to Dr. Zehra Sayers

EuroScience is proud to announce that Dr. Zehra Sayers is the recipient of the 2018 Rammal Award for her own scientific contributions and especially wonderful contributions to build the science programme of SESAME.

SESAME is the 2.5 GeV third-generation synchrotron light source in Jordan that fosters the scientific and technological capabilities in the Middle East and neighbouring countries. Through collaborating in these areas, it aims to develop a better understanding among peoples of different cultures and political backgrounds in the region. The Jury had awarded the Rammal Award 2011 to the SESAME project as such, but it wanted to honour now the woman who apart from her own outstanding scientific work has done more than anyone else to bring the project to the next stage: from collaboration at the political level and at the construction of the facility to getting the science going by ensuring high quality exciting projects of young and experienced scientists from the region. She has done so as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of SESAME. Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey are currently members of SESAME.

The Award ceremony will take place in July 2018 at the EuroScience Open Forum, ESOF2018, in Toulouse (France).

The Rammal Award is named after a Lebanese researcher, Rammal Rammal (1951-1991), whose career was international and who devoted his life, not only to advancing science, but also to fostering good human relations through the pursuit and exchange of knowledge, especially in the Mediterranean region.  Thus, the Jury is also very attentive to the ethical and moral dimensions of scientific work, and attaches much importance to the part science can play in relieving social and political tensions in or between countries of the Mediterranean area. Thus, the Rammal Award recognizes a scientist, group of scientists or an institution not only for outstanding contributions to science, but also for positive actions in a broader social or educational context and especially in the promotion of collaboration and understanding in the Mediterranean region and neighbouring countries.


Dr. Zehra Sayers is a molecular biophysicist working on structure-function relationships in biological molecules using synchrotron radiation X-rays. She is a founding member of the Genetics, Molecular Biology and Bioengineering programme at Sabanci University in Istanbul. She is also Director of the Foundations Development Programme at Sabanci University. Since 2002 Dr. Sayers has been the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of SESAME.

Dr. Sayers obtained a BSc in Physics from Bogazici University in Istanbul and completed her PhD at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, University of London. She worked several years as a staff scientist at EMBL Hamburg conducting pioneering work in use of synchrotron radiation for structural studies of cytoskeletal proteins and chromatin. After returning to Turkey she pioneered work in structural biology and trained young scientists in this field. Recently she has been involved in design and development of an interdisciplinary undergraduate core curriculum program as well as use of new pedagogical approaches for teaching science at the university level in Turkey.

EuroScience is the European grassroots organization of scientists and all those taking an interest in science. It is the voice of European researchers, across disciplines and countries; promoting dialogue with researchers worldwide. Its objectives are:

  • Engaging with policymakers, business and society to create a stronger Europe through science
  • Convening partnerships to work on careers, rights and responsibilities of scientists and key issues of science policy
  • Promoting transparency of, and providing information on European STI policies
  • Advancing science for the pursuit of knowledge, prosperity and global development, and for addressing transdisciplinary global challenges.

EuroScience is based in Strasbourg.

Strasbourg, March 08, 2018

Press release Rammal Award 2018(pdf)