INRS Foundation Board Scholarships
Two inspiring women in STEM are our 2024 recipients

For the second year running, the INRS Foundation Board Scholarships are awarded to highlight women representation in the student community of the INRS Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research and training centre. Once again this year, our winners are two women scientists with inspiring and promising backgrounds: Ludmila Madalena dos Santos, a doctoral student in energy and materials sciences under the supervision of Professor Ana Tavares, and Seyedeh Nazanin Kamali, a doctoral student in telecommunications under the supervision of Professors Tarek Djerafi and José Azaña.

Nazanin Kamali 2024

“This scholarship motivates me, as a woman scientist, to make a positive contribution to my academic career while maintaining a commitment to the development of my community.”
—Nazanin Kamali, doctoral student in telecommunications

“Sharing experiences and learning are my greatest motivators, and inspire me to be a source of inspiration for the next generation of women researchers.”
– Ludmila Madalena, doctoral student in energy and material sciences

Ludmila Madalena 2024

We asked them a few questions to help you discover a few chapters of their story to date.

Nazanin Kamali, doctoral student in telecommunications

What brought you to INRS? What do you take away from your experience so far?

I first learned about INRS when a friend shared a Ph.D. position on LinkedIn that interested me. Intrigued by this, I started researching INRS, its professors, and their research areas. Conversations with a friend who is an INRS student provided valuable insights, leading me to connect with my supervisors, Prof. Tarek Djerafi and Prof. José Azaña. Learning about their ongoing projects convinced me that working under their supervision would be instrumental in exploring my field of interest. I see this opportunity as a pathway to acquiring the skills and expertise crucial for my future professional endeavors.

Can you describe the challenge and impact of the research presented in your doctoral project?

The essence of communication systems lies in signal manipulation and denoising, encompassing fundamental mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, signal mixing, differentiation, integration, Fourier transform, Hilbert transform, filtering, and amplification. Traditionally, these operations migrated to the digital domain, employing digital signal processors. However, processing signals in digital baseband has drawbacks, including high power consumption, diminished performance at high frequencies, and the need for costly analog-to-digital converters.

To address these issues, my doctoral project focuses on advancing analog signal processing circuits or blocks that manipulate the received signal in its pristine analog form. Thus, the research seeks to mitigate the limitations posed by multistage digital operations, offering enhanced efficiency and performance in millimeter-wave wireless communication systems by optimizing signal processing in the analog domain. Additionally, this approach contributes to a reduction in power consumption.

Undertaking this project brings its own set of challenges. The novelty of the work means there's a lack of available references. Additionally, there’s a learning curve involved, along with the necessity to use different software tools. The simulation process for testing the designed device is time-consuming, often taking several days.

What does winning this scholarship mean to you?

Receiving this scholarship is an honor, acknowledging my engagement in various extracurricular activities and communities. It motivates me, as a woman in science, to contribute positively to my academic journey while maintaining a commitment to holistic development and making meaningful contributions to broader communities.

How do you see things going forward?

As I look ahead, I’m excited about the opportunities coming my way. My focus is on excelling in academics and contributing to my research career. I also aim to make a positive impact in various communities. The journey ahead holds the promise of personal and academic growth.

Ludmila Madalena, doctoral student in energy and material sciences

What brought you to INRS? What have your learned about your experience so far?

My journey in the scientific world began during my graduation in Brazil, and since then it has always been continuous and consistent. During my master’s degree I was awarded a scholarship funded by the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Scholarship Program (ELAP) performing a research internship at INRS at the research laboratory of prof. Ana Tavares in 2022. At that time, I worked on the synthesis and electrochemical characterization of the material graphene oxide (EGO) functionalized with 4-aminobenzoic acid (4-ABA). The studies focused on the effect of catalyst structure on its electrocatalytic activity and on an alternative method to study controlled mass transfer reactions and apply it to evaluate oxygen reduction reaction, processing, and energy conversion (supercapacitors).

Since September 2023, I have been a PhD student in energy and materials sciences, under the supervision of Professor Ana Tavares. I have always been focused on pursuing my studies at the master’s and doctoral levels, which has always provided me with quality and relevant scientific knowledge.

Can you describe the challenge and impact of the research presented in your doctoral project?

My research topic is electrocatalyst and electrodes for the electrolysis of water. The possibility of joining the research team at INRS Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications research and training centre, an internationally recognized institution in this area, sparks emotion in me. Studies and research projects related to electrocatalytic reactions, materials, electrochemical methods, and energy applications have always been related to my experiences and training.

The impact of this research is multifaceted. Firstly, the catalysts synthesized using this method are expected to exhibit superior catalytic activity and greater stability compared to conventional catalysts, which could lead to significant advances in a few areas, including electrochemical catalysis and renewable energy production. In short, the challenge and impact of the research presented in my PhD project are intrinsically linked to the search for innovative and sustainable solutions to the current challenges faced by society, especially with regard to energy production and waste management.

What does winning this scholarship mean to you?

The opportunity to be awarded the INRS Foundation Board Scholarship means promoting diversity and inclusion in support of women pursuing careers in science and encouraging other women to leave their country of origin in search of new opportunities and experiences and be valued for this.

In essence, the exchange of experiences and learning is my greatest motivation, allowing me to be an inspiration to the next generation of women researchers.

What are your plans for the future?

Future plans include having access to quality education to further my academic training, finishing my PhD in Varennes and establish the bases for a solid career in the academic field. Furthermore, I aim to create the future conditions that will allow me to make a significant contribution to the field of science and technology and become a recognized and respected professional


The competition was managed by the Service des études supérieures et de la réussite étudiante (SESRE) team at INRS. Applications were reviewed by a jury composed of SESRE Director Philippe-Edwin Bélanger, Scholarship Liaison Officer Joanie Lavoie, and professors Marc-André Gauthier and Tarek Djerafi, to whom we are grateful..

The Foundation warmly congratulates the two winners and sincerely thanks all those who applied. We wish them every success in their future endeavours. We would also like to extend a special thank you to all those who, in one way or another, contributed to the awarding of these scholarships, first and foremost our generous donors.

About the INRS Foundation Board Scholarship

The INRS Foundation Board Scholarship aims to recruit and support more female master’s and doctoral students in the Centre Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications centre’s training programs, where women tend to be under-represented. The scholarship enhances the conditions of study offered by INRS to the recipient. Since 2022, two scholarships worth $2,500 have been offered.

We would like to express our gratitude to Me Martine Vanasse for her leadership in launching this scholarship when she chaired our Board of Directors. This is a promising collective project, which inspires us to make a difference for women in STEM, so that they can realize, here at home, their dream of innovating in strategic sectors for Quebec.

The scholarship is one of nine programs initiated by the Foundation to support the INRS student community. There’s still time to apply for our three winter scholarship competitions, which close on April 12.

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