With her research on green materials, PhD student Emma Mamisoa Nomena previously won the Green Talents Award. Now she is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe, a list of talented millennials compiled by Forbes magazine. ‘I’ve been involved with science for most of my life.’
Emma Mamisoa Nomena was selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe in the category Science and Healthcare: ‘When I woke up and got the email, I was pleasantly surprised. You find out at the same time as everyone else and I was very happy to be selected.’ There are two ways to get on the list: either you ask someone to nominate you or you apply yourself. Mamisoa Nomena chose the latter. ‘First you apply for the shortlist, and then they ask for details about your view on life, your impact, and so on. On the one hand, it is just a title and doesn’t necessarily mean your work is more important than someone else’s. On the other hand, as person of colour, I feel like we tend to try hard to get recognition in such a manner, to get an extra boost when we apply to competitive grands or scholarships. To be selected by a jury represents a certain honor for me.’
Mamisoa Nomena’s research involves the production of bio-based materials using citrus peels. As part of the Institute of Physics, she wants to contribute to developing an edible plastic as a replacement for food packaging that are often based on petroleum. Her team’s bio-plastic uses soja-bean cooking oil, kurkumin and citrus peels and has antioxidant properties as an added bonus. Mamisoa Nomena: ‘I’ve been involved with science for most of my life, in particular with sustainability. As Malagasy (person from Madagascar, red.), we have a strong bond with nature, and it was always my strong suit. During previous internships, I already got to work with green materials and their application and I’m happy to contribute to that even more.’
With her position on the Forbes list, she hopes to connect with people about her research and set up a network or get tips. ‘It might seem daunting to apply for an award or nomination, but you have nothing to lose, so just apply and who knows what might happen,’ says Mamisoa Nomena.