ISP Alumni 2022
Female Leader and Role Model – Dr Addisalem Abathun
Dr Addisalem was an ISP sandwich student between Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, and Stockholm University, Sweden. She graduated in 2016 as the first female PhD graduate of the Department of Mathematics of AAU! Since 2019 Dr Addisalem is the Dean of College of Natural and Computational Sciences, one of the biggest colleges at Addis Ababa University with a total of 847 staff. She is the first female dean in the 70th year history of the college!
Dr Addisalem´s research area is in pure mathematics mainly on analysis. She is interested in application of the theory of functions of complex variables. Particularly, roots of hypergeometric functions, sub-harmonic functions of one/several complex variables.
Dr Addisalem, what got you interested in mathematics in the first place?
- My elementary school teacher made me interested in studying mathematics when I was in grade 5. One day he awarded me a 5 cents candy since I was the only one who gave the correct answer to the question he asked! After that he called me the Queen of Mathematics.
What´s your experience of being the first female PhD students and the first female dean?
- As the first female student of the department of mathematics at AAU, I have often been worried and spent more time on my study since I didn´t have confidence in myself. Finally I realized that I was far better than everyone else in the group!
As a first female dean of the big college, one of the challenges has been not having any role model (i.e. female leader) to contact or to talk with.
Also, the balance between career and personal life is hard. The institution needs me to devote more time and at the same time my two children and husband need me to be with them. In addition, most of the communities were saying “she is a female with a family so she couldn’t properly manage her time to lead the college”, so I focused on my leadership job so as to disprove this idea. And I successfully did it.
What did ISP support mean to you and your group?
ISP’s support means a lot to me. It helps me to develop my capacity and it becomes a road light to my journey. I thank ISP for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow. The expertise that I got from Swedish professors particularly, my advisor Prof Rikard Bögvad, Dr Paul Vaderlind and ISP´s Leif Abrahamsson (the Swedish father of department of mathematics AAU!) is extremely valuable. I will definitely continue to collaborate with my Swedish colleagues.
What are your future plans?
I want to collaborate with women researchers in the region to get more women in the field of mathematics. Moreover, I planned to work with my colleagues and partners to train women to become best leaders. As a leader I already formed a women only research group where we women discuss possible problems, share experience in grant writing and applying for research calls. I also continue to strengthening mentor-mentee relations to encourage young female staff to come to the front as leaders as well as researchers.
Thank you ISP for everything you have done for my study and career without your help I wouldn’t be here today.
Thanks to you, Dr Addisalem, for being such an inspiration!
Inorganic Chemistry Explorer - Dr Ruth Odhiambo
ISP would like to recognize Dr Ruth Odhiambo for her important work to improve inorganic chemistry research in Kenya.
Dr Ruth Odhiambo has worked as a high school teacher in chemistry and mathematics for 14 years, before she took up graduate studies in chemistry at University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya. Dr Ruth received her PhD in 2015, following ISP sandwich training at Lund University, Sweden. Today she is a researcher and teacher in inorganic chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, UoN.
Dr Ruth´s research mainly focuses on the design and development of coordination complexes with potential application in health and environmental sectors. The overall objective of the formerly ISP supported inorganic chemistry research group, which Dr Ruth is part of, is to build capacity through training of graduate students, and to improve the quality of research in inorganic chemistry to address national, regional and global priority needs for human development and industrialization.
Dr Ruth, what got you interested in chemistry in the first place?
- I have always been fascinated by chemical reactions because the ‘circle of life’ is at the heart of chemical reactions. For example, biological processes occur as a result of chemical reactions.
Chemical reactions occur when molecules interact and change; bonds between atoms in molecules break and are reformed in new ways, thus leading to formation of products whose properties are totally different from the starting materials. Some of these products have found very useful application in medicinal field (treatment of cancer, bacterial, microbial and viral infections), industry (catalysis), chemosensors (detection of environmental pollutants), etc.
I derive joy in designing and developing products which can improve the quality of life in the world we live in.
What did ISP support mean to you and your research group?
- ISP funding means ‘the whole world’ to us! ISP funding has revived research in inorganic chemistry, an area which has been neglected for many years. It has enabled me to pursue my dream of designing and developing small molecules (complexes) to address the local, national, regional and global priority needs in the health and environmental sectors.
It has also built in me, the capacity to train graduate students whose dream is to pursue the design and development of similar molecules to address global priority needs affecting humanity.
I am forever grateful to ISP for funding the Inorganic chemistry research group. I am ‘what & where’ I am today because of this support.
According to Dr Ruth, ISP funding has led to:
- two PhDs and two MScs graduated between 2020 and 2021 at Lund University, Sweden, and University of the Western Cape, South Africa. These students developed coordination complexes with potential applications in catalysis and anti-cancer drug agents.
- Established collaborations with Lund University and University of Western Cape.
- Established a modern ‘Synthesis Unit’ at the Department of Chemistry, University of Nairobi. Students are now able to conduct their synthesis work locally.
- Purchased a number of equipment (UV-Vis, FTIR, Potentiostat, Luminescence, Glove Box, Fumehood and Accessories for Schlenk Line), and received a donation of a GC-MS.
- Conducted a number of instrumentation workshops for both academic and technical staff.
ISP Alumni 2021
Female Pioneer in Physics - Dr Margaret Emmanuel Samiji
ISP would like to recognise Margaret Emmanuel Samiji for her magnificent contributions for physics education in Tanzania.
Dr Samiji from University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania, was the first woman to get PhD in Physics in her country! She obtained her PhD in April 2003 from the University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Today Dr Samiji is an academician and a researcher. She is the group leader of the ISP supported Materials science and solar energy research group at UDSM. She is also the Tanzanian node coordinator for the ISP supported network MSSEESA (Materials Science and Solar Energy Network for Eastern and Southern Africa):
“Thanks ISP for the financial support to the Materials Science and Solar Energy research group, for purchasing equipment, spare parts, consumables and support to students to attend conferences!”
Being the first woman to have a PhD in Physics, Dr Samiji has a passion of encouraging female students to take up physics studies. Among a lot of things, she has been involved in organizing activities for the World Year of Physics (WYP2005). With the support of her country she managed to accompany eight students to Paris to attend the Inaugural Conference of the WYP2005.
Later that year she organised a physics talent search for woman students in Tanzania. Jenester Rutabirwa and Salma Hilal won the competition. Margaret and the two students were offered travel grant and travelled to Taipei in Taiwan for the climax on the WYP2005. This success inspired Dr Samiji even more to continue encouraging female students to study science subjects!
Apart from doing research in the area of materials science, she engage in the involvement of science activities at her university and in schools visits program. She was appointed to be Gender Focal Point of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences from 2015-2018.
In 2016 Margaret , together with Eunice Mureithi and Najat Mohamed wrote a proposal to ISP and managed to get funds for gender activities (Science Camps for A-level female students taking physics and mathematics). The team organised the first Science Camp and 15 students participated. Out of these 15, eight students joined higher learning institutions taking engineering and other science related degree programs!
So far she has organized six science camps and the results are amazing as more women now are taking physics and mathematics subjects. A total of 43 women from the Science camps joined higher learning institutions taking engineering and science related subjects. Both ISP and UDSM supported these camps.
In the near future Dr Samiji intends to have collaboration with other network in the region so that they can combine effort in the gender activities and share experiences.
We´re looking forward to hearing more about your encouraging work, Dr Samiji!
Math Capacity Builder - Dr Tilahun Abebaw
ISP would like to recognize Dr Tilahun Abebaw for his important work to build research capacity in Ethiopia.
Dr Tilahun Abebaw started his career at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, where he obtain his bachelor´s and master´s degree in mathematics. He was an ISP Sandwich PhD student between AAU and Stockholm University, Sweden between 2006 to 2009.
- With the supports from ISP lots of staff members and Mathematicians from other Ethiopia universities were trained and got their PhD degrees and that is helping to build the capacities of Mathematics Departments in Ethiopian universities.
Dr Tilahun is today working at the Department of Mathematics at AAU and is involved in both teaching and research. The staff at the department are conducting research in both pure and applied mathematics. Dr Tilahun’s research area is in pure mathematics, more precisely in Algebra.
Since 2013 he is the group leader the ISP supported mathematics research group at AAU. The overall objective of the research group is to build the research capacity of the Department of Mathematics and that the department can run research and graduate training by its staff in the future. The group has been supported by ISP since 2005.
So far, 4 sandwich students from AAU have graduated with a PhD and 4 are ongoing. Since the PhD program at AAU started the department has also graduated 33 PhDs during the period 2014 to 2020, and they have 33 ongoing PhD-students in the local program. The ISP funding is also used to support the local PhD programs, and among other things to support expatriates to give courses and to supervise the students.
- I would like to thank Sweden for the enormous support to us and my thanks also goes to the ISP team being led by Leif Abrahamsson. Almost all of the current and former ISP Sandwich students in Mathematics, including myself, consider Leif as our Swedish Father, as he and his team always treated us as like a father.
Keep up the good work, Dr Tilahun! We are happy that you are a part of the ISP family.
Food Engineer – Prof Jenny Ruales Nájera
ISP would like to recognize Prof Jenny Ruales Nájera for her excellent work with food security in Latin America.
Prof Jenny Ruales Nájera did her PhD in Food engineering and Applied Nutrition with ISP support at Lund University.
- My interest in science started when I was a child and it was influenced by my mother who was a teacher and my parents always were supporting me do science and I become in love with chemistry.
Today Prof Ruales Nájera works at Escuela Politécnica Nacional at the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology in Quito, Ecuador. She is the Coordinator of the research group FOODOMICS which works in food science, natural products as well as energy and industrial security. She is also a member of the Food security network and member of the Academy of Science of Ecuador. Since 2017 she is a member of ISP Scientific Reference Group in Chemistry.
She has worked with ISP in 1984-2007 as a group leader of the ISP supported research group in nutritional biochemistry and biotechnology (ECU 01), and in 1994-2007 as coordinator of the Latin American Network for Food Research (LANFOOD).
In addition, she has performed consultancy services for the Word Bank Ecuadorian Children Feeding Program, and coordinated the MSc and PhD program in food science at Escuela Politécnica Nacional since 1994.
- The long-term ISP support was very relevant for our research group, providing equipment as well as training for scientist, students and technicians. It was the key to open doors in the scientific community in the region and also in Europe so that we could apply for grants from the European Community, World bank, GTZ, OPCW etc. We got contacts to collaborate not only with Sweden, but also with France, United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Germany in Europe and with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile in Latin America.
- I am thankful to ISP and all directors, Rune Liminga, Malin Åkerblom and Peter Sundin, who provided support to our research group, who trusted our capability. My special thanks to Prof Rune Liminga who always supported us and he taught us how to find other opportunities of collaborations and get financial support for research. Once he told me something that always in my mind: to be good it is not enough, you have to be the best.
Prof Ruales Nájera´s research focuses on functional food and food security. She has been working with local materials, some of them underutilized. She and her colleagues are extracting and stabilizing bioactive components promising for food industry to add as ingredients to functional foods to prevent degenerative diseases and now also to provide better immunity. They also extract bioactive compounds of interest to food or pharmaceutical industry from by-products from the agroindustry, eg beta-carotenes from mango peel and after encapsulation used to fortify school children foods. This gives value to wastes and also to contribute to a better environment.
Regarding food safety she works on arsenic in rice, cadmium and lead in cocoa and aluminium and lead in milk.
- It is enjoyable to use science to help people. It is the case, by studying spontaneous fermentation of cocoa beans applying metagenomics, metabolomics, proteomic, we develop prototypes of fermenters and we distribute to the cocoa bean producers. They will obtain better quality of fermented cocoa beans with good taste and aroma, and it will also contribute that they can get better payment for the beans.
Prof Ruales Nájera, what is your future plans?
- The COVID-19 has affected a lot the research activities and due to the sanitary restrictions just few days a week are allow the students to work in the laboratories, therefore it take longer time to fulfill the planned activities. For the future, we have to take in consideration these limitations and also think in the financial support for students and also for the research assistance that thanks to them there is process in the projects. New ways of educations have to be implemented using online platforms, this is a challenge.
Keep up your excellent work Prof Ruales Nájera!
ISP Alumni 2020
ISP Super-Collaborator – Prof Nilufar Nahar
ISP would like to recognize Prof Nilufar Nahar for her important contributions to increase international, regional and national chemistry collaboration and her engagement in ISP activities.
Prof Nahar´s love for science started already in primary school:
- My school teacher made me interested to study chemistry in 1965 when I was in the 9th grade. He taught chemistry as an interesting subject.
This interest ultimately led to a PhD in Chemistry from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden in 1987.
Prof Nahar has been engaged in ISP supported activities throughout her career at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh:
- In 1983 she became a research group member of the ISP supported research group at University of Dhaka (IPICS BAN:01), and in 1997 she took over as a research group leader – a position she had until the group was phased out in 2003. This group focused on natural products chemistry.
- In 2001, support to BAN:01 was phased out, but the group members continued, embarking on the field of environmental chemistry. The ISP support continued, but now to BAN:04. Between 2001-2013 she was the leader of this research group, then member of the project until her full retirement in 2018. Today, still, she is an advisor of the group. (Her successor, Prof Mohammad Shoeb is now leading the group, which will be phased out of ISP support in 2023, while expected to continue developing on other funding). This group focuses increasingly on food safety, which is a burning issue in Bangladesh due to the use of unauthorized toxic chemicals in food production, preservation and storage.
- Prof Nahar is also one of the founding members of the ISP supported Asian Network for Research on Antidiabetic Plants (ANRAP).
- She is one of the founders and originally joint secretary of the ISP supported Network of Instrument Technical Personnel and User Scientists of Bangladesh (NITUB), then treasurer and active member. NITUB´s primary mission is to ensure that scientific equipment function properly by educating skilled technical personnel and user scientists.
- She is also one of the founders and former member of the ISP supported Asian Network of Research on Food and Environment Contaminants (ANFEC), which provides training on quality trace analysis of food and environment contaminants in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos.
Professor Nahar about ISP:
- Getting support from the ISP, I built-up my scientific career, and gave me exposure to Sweden during my PhD. This helped me to upgrade my level of teaching and research as well as the research group´s capacity. The possibility of attending conferences, helped me to get new ideas to expand the area of research and also to evaluate myself in comparison with scientists of other countries.
ISP support was a catalyzing factor to make new research collaborations and to get funding from other agencies like IFS, OPCW and UNESCO.
ISP does not give a big allocation of money at a time, but continuation of support based on progress is unique! To keep contact to its grantees is great and help to make research by supporting young colleagues/graduate student is more than excellent.
The list of Prof Nahar´s accomplishments is long, she has:
- Published 146 papers in peer reviewed international and national journals.
- Presented results in 150 papers in conferences/seminars/symposia.
- Contributed to a book on the results of screening plant materials as a source antidiabetic remedies (more than 10 000 copies were sold out), 3rd edition of the book has recently been published.
- Supervised 19 PhD and 10 MPhil students to graduation. In addition, more than 200 undergraduate students received their degree under her supervision!
- Received three distinguished awards and one gold medal for her devotion and contribution to science and chemistry.
- Built a laboratory to perform front-line research in environmental and food contamination chemistry from where competent graduates are produced who can serve the global village.
Prof Nahar has generously shared her knowledge and expertise to students and staff at universities, research institutions as well as public and private companies. She has also arranged many farmers´ awareness programs regarding toxicity of pesticides and environmental issues.
The scientific road has not always been a smooth one:
- It is hard for a woman of a low-income country to spend time for research other than usual work but my experiences tell: It is really tough but not impossible to overcome all the challenges if determination of mind is very strong and support from family members is an essential entity to meet all the challenges.
Even though Prof Nahar retired in 2018, she continues her work in ANRAP, NITUB and BAN:04 as well as supervisor for some PhD students. Her plans for the future are to write books on science and her life.
We are looking forward to reading your books, Prof Nahar! You are a true inspiration for us all!
Brilliant Mathematician - Dr Jared Ongaro
ISP would like to recognize Dr Jared Ongaro for his outstanding contributions to increase the popularity of math research in Africa.
Dr Jared Ongaro started his career at the University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya where he obtained his bachelor´s and master´s degree in mathematics. Through ISP, he joined the Department of Mathematics at Stockholm University and in 2015 he defended his PhD thesis about Gromov-Witten invariants of the complex projective line, in particular Plane Hurwitz numbers.
After positions as a postdoctoral research fellow at Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford (UK) and as a researcher at Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley University of California (USA), Dr Ongaro today works at School of Mathematics at the University of Nairobi. Here he successfully lectures students and organizes workshops to stimulate research and mentor young researchers. Dr Ongaro´s former students are now pursuing PhDs abroad in top universities in UK, Germany, Sweden, USA, China and South Africa under internationally recognized supervisors. Dr Ongaro has also deployed a tested automated course/exam timetabling solutions and deployment of teaching/online assessment technology platforms at UoN.
- ISP has been at the center of my career development for training me and encouraging me to go back and help develop my country. It's my dream that ISP continues its wonderful work in building research communities in Africa. This will do wonders to interest the young population in Africa in mathematics and in bringing out more talents.
Currently with the support of ISP, Dr Ongaro organizes the prestigious Africa Mathematics Seminar (AfMS) which is virtual bringing International Congress of Mathematics (ICM) to Africa. AfMS aims at a weekly seminar for the whole of Africa, alternating through the different countries while giving different regions their chance to host the seminar. The main goal of AfMS is building mathematical networks across Africa and showcasing African mathematical talent.
Dr Ongaro is also the coordinator for the Kenyan node of ISP supported network EAUMP (Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme). Apart from UoN, EAUMP consists of four universities in East Africa, namely Makerere University (Uganda), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM, Tanzania), University of Rwanda (UR) and University of Zambia (UNZA).
- I love mathematics, because no country in the world has managed to develop without first developing its basic education. And indeed math belongs to the basic sciences category!
Dr Ongaro, what got you interested in Mathematics in the first place?
- I grew up liking subjects which utilizes my unique skills of creativity to find solutions. My compelling desire to be an expert of an exact science was reinforced by the joint ICTP/ISP programmes in my university. This was the time when I met real mathematicians, who made me realize the pure/applied divisions of mathematics are not disjoint; mathematics is well studied as one entity.
What´s your plans for the future?
- I will aspire to grow my research scales and networks. No doubt we are far behind our peers in the first world. Some of the curricula we have in place do not encourage proper learning of mathematics. Africa needs state of the art facilities purposely designed to do mathematics. I will endeavor to use any means/activities possible to spearhead review of the mathematics curriculum in Africa. I will also seek ideas and resources to get at least my department to have functioning facilities for teaching and learning mathematics.
Keep up your inspiring work, Dr Ongaro!
Physics Role model - Dr Manjura Hoque
ISP would like to recognize Dr Engr Sheikh Manjura Hoque for her prominent contributions to the development of the materials science research in Bangladesh.
Dr Hoque received her PhD in Physics from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). During her PhD studies she visited the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (Solid State Physics) at Uppsala University on ISP support for five months to accomplish part of her PhD work.
After her PhD studies she continued to postdoc positions at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India and at Yale University, USA.
Today she works as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of the Materials Science Division at the Atomic Energy Centre Dhaka (AECD) in Bangladesh. She is also the group leader of an ISP-funded research group (BAN-02/2).
Dr Hoque, what got you interested in Physics?
- The beauty of nature that physics is able to unfold, has always attracted me to this subject. My job placement at Atomic Energy Centre Dhaka, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, helped me further to dedicate myself to the subject I love most.
The Materials Science Division at AECD works with nano and advanced materials and the variety of their structural, magnetic, thermal, optical, mechanical and transport properties and applications such as magnetocaloric, magnetoresistance, ultrasoft and ultrahard magnetism, giant magnetoimpedance, giant magnetoresistance of nanoferrites, nanoperovskites, nanohydroxyapatites, carbon nanotubes etc. Following the recommendation of ISP and the revolutionary strides in biotechnology through the applications of nanomaterials, Dr Hoque focused/oriented her research in the field of nanobiotechnology.
The overall goal for her group is to cope up with the contemporary international research in the above-mentioned fields and to develop novel materials to address the burning issues of nanobiotechnology in the main. Due to the dynamic and intensive research within materials science in general and in nanomaterials in particular internationally, Dr. Hoque puts her overwhelming efforts to consolidate her group consisting of large number of students, her fellow colleagues, and national/international collaborators.
At the national level, Dr Hoque´s group is actively playing a role as precursor to develop countrywide materials science laboratories. New materials science departments are brewing in the universities where former students of MSD, AECD played role as key/resource personnel. Many of her students are holding key faculty positions in the public universities and performing outstanding research abroad.
She looks forward to extend and consolidate her research in nano and nanobiotechnology to meet the demand of Bangladesh. She and her group already established nanomaterials synthesis and characterization laboratories equipped with the most modern facilities to develop MRI contrast dye and hyperthermia mediators. Her future goal is to elevate further for clinical trial. Further, Dr. Hoque along with her group would like to undertake further research in targeted drug delivery, magnetofection and bio-labeling using nanoferrites.
- When I was introduced to ISP after joining the research programme in the Materials Science Division, AECD, I was really very amazed to find that through this organization the Swedish nation feels its obligation to provide support to develop science in countries other than Sweden where facilities of scientific research fall back. Since then, I myself took it as a mission to provide my maximum effort to fulfill the aim and objective of ISP, which is to develop research within my platform and beyond. I was fully identified the goal of ISP in my country and the effect is tangible within two decades of persuasion in the materials science, physics, and applied chemistry research. If I had not come across ISP I would have never imagined that such an altruistic organization exists, the goal of which is to develop scientists and research in country to country.
Besides the grant, we constantly get moral support from ISP to persevere in the challenges of research. ISP, moreover, has introduced BAN-02 scientists to the professors of seminal thoughts whose morals and ideals are gems of development of BAN-02.
Dr Hoque has supervised many post-graduate students including PhDs and believes that the students are the backbone of the development of a nation:
- Without students, PhDs, and postdocs a nation cannot fulfill the desired goal to achieve a knowledge-based society. And, without a knowledge-based society there cannot be any development. It may be mentioned that the GDP of Bangladesh in 2019 rose to 8.1%, which was 4.8% in 2001. The academicians of Bangladesh had contribution to develop constructive optimism, which is essential for a nation to develop.
Keep up the good work, Dr Hoque! You are an excellent role-model for future scientists all over the world.
ISP Alumni of the Quarter 2019
Genomics Expert - Prof Collen Masimirembwa
ISP would like to recognize Prof Collen Masimirembwa for his immense contribution to genomics research in Africa, for establishing the first DNA testing center in Zimbabwe and for his tireless efforts to strengthen research capacity in the region.
After receiving his undergraduate degree with honors from University of Zimbabwe, Collen Masimirembwa continued with studies leading to a PhD in Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1995 at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, funded by ISP. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Uppsala University he joined the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in Sweden where he worked as a Principal Scientist for a decade. In 2002, he founded the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) in Zimbabwe, a research and education institute with a mission to discover, develop and deploy innovative healthcare solutions for Africa. Amongst many other things, AiBST has assisted the Government in identifying victims in times of crisis such as cyclone Idai. With its state of the art facilities, AiBST is functioning as a center of excellence in the region, where Prof Masimirembwa is instrumental in training researchers and postgraduate students.
Prof Masimirembwa has discovered genetic variants unique to African populations that could have implications for the safe and efficient treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases and cancer. He has developed a pharmacogenetics based dosing algorithm for safe treatment outcome for HIV patients. In the field of pharmacokinetics he made many innovative contributions, especially in understanding molecular aspects of drug enzyme interactions. His work on amodiaquine metabolism is now an FDA recommended marker. His contributions have also led to understanding the risk for drug-drug and drug-herb interaction in the use of medicines in the African clinical setting.
His contribution to research has been recognized through many awards, including from the African network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, The Research Council of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe Award from Outstanding Research, the Gauteng Accelerator Program, and the Human Genome Organization African Award.
Director General for Renewable Energies - Dr Bruno Korgo
ISP would like to recognize ISP graduate and Physicist, Dr Bruno Korgo, for his important work towards scaling up renewable energy in one of the least electrified countries globally, Burkina Faso.
Dr Korgo received his PhD in Atmospheric Physics from University of Ouagadougou I Joseph KI-ZERBO in 2014, on a sandwich basis with University Blaise Pascal in France. In 2016, he became Director General for Renewable Energies at the Ministry of Energy in Burkina Faso. As the Director General he is responsible for developing and monitoring the government policy for development of renewable energies. He is one of the major actors behind the important reforms undertaken since 2016 and is institutionally involved in renewable energy projects on all scales implemented in Burkina Faso.
Further, Dr Korgo has contributed to EU policy reports on least cost options for rural electrification in Burkina Faso and highlighted the key role of renewable energy, and participated in numerous international panels and workshops around the world. He is a council member and the national focal point of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Ecowas Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), and is actively involved in many other international initiatives on various issues of renewable energy.
Gender Equity Advocate - Dr Betty Nannyonga
ISP would like to recognize ISP graduate and Ugandan mathematician, Dr Betty Nannyonga, for her outstanding and important work towards creating a gender-balanced representation in the basic sciences in Uganda and Eastern Africa.
Dr Nannyonga received her PhD from Makerere University in 2012 through the ISP supported Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP). Today, she is a Senior Lecturer at the university, working actively and tirelessly to raise awareness about gender equity, while continuing with her mathematical modelling research. In 2016, she received ISP’s Gender Equality Activity Grant with a project supporting women in the basic sciences at Makerere University. In 2018, she established the Uganda Women Mathematicians (UGAWOM), a national network of female mathematicians from Ugandan universities. A year later, she went regional and started the Eastern Africa Network for Women in the Basic Sciences (EANWoBAS) together with other ISP partners.
She has been the driving force behind numerous well-attended awareness creating workshops and activities at Makerere University. She has established mentorship programs boosting the confidence of young female students, and organized outreach activities targeting hundreds of primary and secondary school students in and around Kampala.The activities are already yielding results, in two years’ time there has been a notable increase in the number of female undergraduate students majoring in mathematics and physics at Makerere University.
Keep up the great work Betty, you are a true inspiration!
Lightning Guru - Dr Chandima Gomes
ISP would like to recognize Sri Lankan engineer and physicist, Dr Chandima Gomes, for his outstanding contributions to the lightning protection field in Asia and Africa.
Dr Gomes is today working as a Professor of High Voltage Engineering at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. He started his academic career with PhD studies in the former ISP-supported research group in Atmospheric Physics and Lightning at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in close collaboration with Uppsala University. He is specialized in lightning protection, grounding, and electromagnetic interference – with emphasis on putting research into use. After graduating in 1999, he has altered between research and consultancy services in lightning protection based in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. As an engineering consultant, he has conducted over 120 training programs in his field of specialization, contributed to several papers on lightning safety and protection in Asia and Africa, and has been part of establishing a number of centers for lightning protection on both continents.
Thanks to his work there is now a greater awareness and an increased number of skilled manpower to handle and take affirmative actions on lightning strikes. Keep up the good work!