Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences
Shamila Nair-Bedouelle took up her new duties as Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences on 1 April 2019. She comes to UNESCO from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where she had served as Director of the OzonAction programme since 2012, providing developing countries with scientific and technical advice on which alternative technologies to choose for the chemical substances depleting the Ozone Layer. A strong advocate for enhancing women’s role in science and engineering, she launched UNEP’s first training programme for women technicians in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors.
Born in 1960, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle holds a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Cape town in South Africa. She has published in numerous scientific journals and is the co- inventor of several patents. Her scientific research focus was on molecular biology. She pursued her research career at the famous French Institute for Research “l’Institut Pasteur” (Paris), and within the pharmaceutical industry at the MIT University Park in Boston, (US). Dr. Nair-Bedouelle has pursued her research interests in parallel with her career at the United Nations. For several years, she was selected and appointed as First Class Director of Research at the French National Medical Research Institute (INSERM) in 2017. Dr. Nair- Bedouelle also worked at the European Commission and coordinated scientific research programmes between the EU and developing countries. As Coordinator of the Working Group on Gender Equality at UNESCO from January 2010 onwards, she launched the first Science Camp for Girls in South Africa and coordinated science education projects on the continent.