WDHOF announces new Simone Melchior Cousteau Grant

WDHOF announces new Simone Melchior Cousteau Grant

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The Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF) has marked International Women's Day today by announcing a new research grant in the name of the French diver, Simone Melchior Cousteau.

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Simone Melchior Cousteau onboard the minesweeper 'Calypso'

The North American-based, not-for-profit professional honour society advised that the grant was made possible, thanks to a US$5,000 donation from the Netherlands fashion brand 'Scotch & Soda'. 

Scotch & Soda

Scotch & Soda states "we give the same love and attention to the sustainable production of our garments, as we do to their design."

We strive to make issues surrounding the environment, animal welfare and safe working conditions a priority. Scotch & Soda

Apparently Scotch & Soda is embracing the challenge to create sustainable fashion, with a particular focus on preserving water and improving working conditions within the industry.

WDHOF has reported that the Dutch fashion brand's Summer 2021 collection has been inspired by Simone Melchior Cousteau. Her love for the oceans is celebrated through the use of sea life-inspired prints, and there is a nod to her southern French coastal upbringing.

The WDHOF Simone Melchior-Cousteau Grant

The grant period is for 18 months and a progress report on research and use of funds is required at 12 months and a final report at 18 months.

Who is eligible to apply: This grant is open to those who identify as female. Applicants may be graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, or early career scientists (defined as within 10 years of completion of PhD).

Use of the funds: The grant is intended to support independent research and/or fieldwork. Acceptable expenses include supplies used for research (not basic scuba gear), travel to conferences or research location, or conference fees. It does not support tuition, student loan payments, indirect costs, salary or summer salary, or previously incurred expenses. A detailed budget, with justification, is required with the application.

How to apply: Grant applications open today, Monday 8 March 20201. Completed applications are due by midnight on 23 April, Eastern Daylight Time. The awardee will be announced on World Oceans Day (8 June  2021). In addition to the grant, the awardee will receive an outfit from Scotch & Soda.

About Simone Melchior Cousteau

Simone Melchior Cousteau was a French explorer, born on 19 January 1919 in the French southern city of Toulon. She was one of the first female scuba divers and wife and business partner of undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In 1942, Simone’s father provided financing and the manufacturing expertise of Emile Gagnan at Air Liquide to build Jacques Cousteau’s aqua-lung.

She lives to spend hour after hour in the wind and the sun, watching, thinking, trying to unravel the mystery of the sea. Jacques Cousteau

Simone indirectly played an important role in this significant step in diving history. In 1950, the Cousteau family’s underwater investigation and exploration led to the leasing of the minesweeper Calypso, which was restructured and transformed into an expedition vessel and support base for diving, filming and oceanographic research. In 1963, Simone became the world’s first female aquanaut by living in Starfish House, an underwater habitat in the Red Sea.

Simone died in 1990 and received a full military funeral, during which her ashes were buried at sea off the coast of Monaco. In 2013, Simone was posthumously inducted as a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

A spokesman for WDHOF stated "by contributing to this grant, Scotch & Soda supports WDHOF’s environmental efforts, whilst honouring the life and work of Simone Melchior Cousteau as a driving force that challenged the expectations of her gender and time, to become the one of the world’s first female scuba divers and a pioneer of marine conservation." 

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