The World Economic Forum today recognizes 21 brilliant researchers under the age of 40 at the cutting edge of discovery with the announcement of its Class of 2019 Young Scientists.

The scientists have been selected for their contribution to advancing the frontiers of science in the areas of health, sustainability, inclusiveness and equity. Collectively, their research covers a diverse spectrum from ecology to quantum technology, physics and materials science to biology and bio-medicine, and universe sciences.

This year’s global spread includes 10 in Asia, seven in Europe and a further four based in the Americas. Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea is the single institution with the highest representation of three Young Scientists, and 13 of the 21 scientists are women.

The World Economic Forum’s Young Scientists of 2019:

  • Christine Cheung (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singaporean): Cheung is using stem cell technology to study blood vessels in ways that could lead to treatments for diabetes and strokes
  • Huang Rongqin (Fudan University, People’s Republic of China, Chinese): Rongqin’s research focuses on developing nano-materials for use in the early detection and treatment of cancer
  • Kim Sung-Yon (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, South Korean): Sung-Yon’s research into the connection between stress and eating behaviour has significant implications for the fight against obesity
  • Kim Young-Min (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, South Korean): Young-Min makes 3D models to create the illusion of tele-presence in augmented reality apps to help robots interact with humans
  • Liu Ying (Peking University, People’s Republic of China, Chinese): Ying’s work on decoding how cells respond to stress and nutrient levels is leading to the development of therapies for neuro-degenerative diseases and cancer
  • Loh Huanqian (National University of Singapore, Singaporean): by using quantum building blocks like Lego, Huanqian is designing a new generation of solar cells and superconductors to meet the world’s growing energy and computing needs
  • Nripan Mathews (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Indian): the perovskite solar cells that Mathews has developed are five times cheaper and more powerful than conventional silicon-based cells
  • Shin Yongdae (Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, South Korean): Yongdae combines biology, physics and engineering expertise to develop new technologies to understand and engineer living cells
  • Benjamin C.K. Tee (National University of Singapore, Singaporean): Tee’s skin-like sensor systems help the brain interact with prosthetic limbs, giving robots the sense of touch and enabling them to repair themselves
  • Wang Yihua (Fudan University, People’s Republic of China, Chinese): Yihua is researching how the quantum physical properties of materials can be harnessed for the next generation of computing

From Europe

  • Camilla Colombo (Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Italian): Colombo is changing the nature of space travel by designing ways for spacecraft to reach orbit by “surfing” through space
  • Olga Fink (ETH Zurich, Switzerland, German): Fink’s AI algorithms for monitoring industrial assets such as trains, planes and generators reduce costs and improve performance, safety and availability
  • Thomas Hermans (University of Strasbourg, France, Belgian): Hermans designs self-healing, self-replicating living systems and materials
  • Ashley King (The Natural History Museum, United Kingdom, British): King analyses extraterrestrial materials to learn more about the origins of the Earth and our solar system
  • Ruth Morgan (University College London, United Kingdom, British): Morgan has established the world’s first interdisciplinary forensic science research unit to minimize unsafe rulings in criminal justice systems
  • Adriana De Palma (The Natural History Museum, United Kingdom, British): De Palma’s analysis of huge ecological datasets and the study of bees is helping us to understand the impact of humans on biodiversity
  • Gaëlle Offranc Piret (Inserm, France, French): Offranc Piret is developing flexible, thin and nanostructured brain implants for therapeutic applications that could restore function for disabled people

From the Americas

  • Ilana Brito (Cornell University, USA, American): Brito’s contribution to our understanding of the human microbiome has significant implications on how we fight infectious diseases 
  • Denise Morais da Fonseca (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Brazilian): Morais da Fonseca’s work centres on how the immune system is able to recover from infectious diseases, especially in low- to middle-income countries
  • Nicholas Pyenson (Smithsonian Institution, USA, American): Pyenson’s study of the evolution of whales and other marine mammals is helping us understand their origin and develop strategies for their survival
  • Sabrina Sholts (Smithsonian Institution, USA, American): Sholts’ study of collections of specimens is enhancing our understanding of the Anthropocene’s impact on humans, animals and the environment

The Young Scientists will play an important role at the Forum’s 13th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 1-3 July. They will contribute ideas for solving complex challenges within and outside their core areas, together with leaders from government, business, civil society and other stakeholder groups during the sessions and workshops.

In addition to the class of 2019, Young Scientists from the Class of 2018 taking part in the meeting include: Enass Abo-Hamed, Shahzada Ahmad, Michael Janus Bojdys, Rona Chandrawati, Yabebal Fantaye, Janet Gutierrez-Uribe, He Guojun, Daniel E. Hurtado, Lamis Jomaa, Pierre Karam, Sang Ah Lee, Po-Shen Loh, Julia Makinde, Matthew Mckay, Juan Pedro Ochoa Ricoux, Rodney Dewayne Priestley, Simone Schuerle, Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, Marcos Simoes-Costa and Angela Wu. From the Class of 2017, participants include: Jodie L. Lutkenhaus, Karen Jacqueline Cloete and Sergiy Bogomolov.

The 13th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, under the theme Leadership 4.0: Succeeding in a New Era of Globalization, brings together a record number of international participants. There are over 120 countries represented, more than 25% of participants are women and there are at least 130 academic leaders from around the world.

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.