For the third time, Henkel presents its research prize, the ”Martha Schwarzkopf Award for Women in Science”, dedicated to supporting female scientists. Alongside the main prize, with first and second place for life-long contribution in hair science, an additional prize for “Emerging Talents” will again be awarded this year. The application period begins on February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Female researchers with a background in natural sciences, medicine or computer sciences can apply by presenting their contributions to the field of hair research or a related field. They have the chance to win 10,000 euros for the first place, 5,000 euros for the second place, and 5,000 euros for the “Emerging Talent” prize.

“Innovations rely on both progress in natural sciences and diversity in approaches and ideation. However, women in science are still underrepresented. As we at Henkel are highly committed to gender equality, we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by kicking off the application period for this year’s Martha Schwarzkopf Award,” says Frank Meyer, Senior Vice President Global R&D at Henkel Consumer Brands. Astrid Kleen, Director of Global Hair R&D at Henkel Consumer Brands, adds: “The complex world of hair fibers and hair roots needs to be continuously explored for our product innovations. With this award, we honor the progress made by outstanding female researchers in the area of hair and scalp research including material and computational sciences.”    

The award pays tribute to Martha Schwarzkopf, one of the first women in Germany to lead a company and establish the Institute for Hair Research. Today, Schwarzkopf is the largest brand in the Consumer Brands hair care segment of Henkel. All technical innovations under the brand draw upon the rich legacy of the Schwarzkopf Hair Research Institute, which oversees research and development laboratories, hair test salons, and hair academies worldwide. The award honors Martha’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, as well as the empathy with which she steered both the Schwarzkopf company and the Schwarzkopf Hair Research Center.

”We are pleased to consistently expand our network of hair researchers. The applicants and winners of the last two rounds are now integral parts of this network, and we relish scientific exchange and collaboration with them. By awarding the main prize for life-long contribution alongside the Emerging Talents Award, we bring into the network the perspectives of both experienced female scientists and promising researchers who are still at the beginning of their careers,” says Andrea Sättler, Director R&D Academy at Henkel Consumer Brands and Chairwoman of the Martha Schwarzkopf Award expert jury.

How to apply

The Martha Schwarzkopf Award is open to female researchers worldwide who hold a doctorate and possess extensive experience in the fields of natural sciences, medicine, and computer sciences. The award is specifically for those who focus on hair research or related fields, such as textile and wool fiber research, the analysis of biological surfaces, or the interaction of substances with hair or scalp. In this round, we particularly encourage applicants from female researchers interested in the investigation of hair fiber or hair surface. Female researchers with a completed master's degree in the same research fields are eligible to apply for the “Emerging Talents” award, even if they are still at the early stage of their scientific career.

A jury of experts, comprising distinguished female scientists from Henkel’s Consumer Brands R&D, will assess the applications. In addition to the financial awards, the winners will be invited for the award ceremony, which will be held in conjunction with a scientific conference of the expanding Martha Schwarzkopf hair network. This event will take place at the end of the third quarter 2024 in Germany. Furthermore, all awardees will have the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program with a Henkel scientist.

The application period ends on June 1st, 2024. Female scientists who are interested can submit their applications in English to

The following documents should be submitted with the application:

  • Letter of motivation, providing a statement of personal reasons for applying for this award
  • Short curriculum vitae with a focus on the scientific field of work and interest
  • List of most important publications
  • Summary of the candidate’s own publicly available research in the field of hair and scalp research, fiber technologies, computer-based models for the study of fibers, including scientific methods for surface analysis, fiber structure, dye synthesis, or analysis of biological processes in the hair root (all research approaches are possible)
  • Application photo (optional)

The key criteria in the evaluation by the expert jury include the relevance of the work in the field of hair research, as well as its impact on consumers and the environment. Additional factors considered are pioneering spirit, originality, innovation potential, the feasibility of the research projects, and significance for the hair cosmetics sector.

About Henkel

With its brands, innovations and technologies, Henkel holds leading market positions worldwide in the industrial and consumer businesses. The Adhesive Technologies business unit is the global leader in the market for adhesives, sealants and functional coatings. With Consumer Brands, the company holds leading positions especially in hair care and laundry & home care in many markets and categories around the world. The company's three strongest brands are Loctite, Persil and Schwarzkopf. In fiscal 2022, Henkel reported sales of more than 22 billion euros and adjusted operating profit of around 2.3 billion euros. Henkel’s preferred shares are listed in the German stock index DAX. Sustainability has a long tradition at Henkel, and the company has a clear sustainability strategy with specific targets. Henkel was founded in 1876 and today employs a diverse team of about 50,000 people worldwide – united by a strong corporate culture, shared values and a common purpose: "Pioneers at heart for the good of generations.” More information at

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