Academic appointed on to UK-Africa research consortium

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Academic appointed on to UK-Africa research consortium

A UNIZULU Professor of Nanotechnology has been appointed to lead the SA team to participate in establishing a UK-Africa research consortium through the Royal Society-DFID Africa Capacity Building Initiative.

The Royal Society recently announced the appointment of Prof Neerish Revaprasadu at the helm of the SA-UNIZULU team that will contribute to the UK-Africa consortium.

Revaprasadu said the programme is aimed at scientists who want to develop collaborative research consortia between scientists in sub-Saharan Africa and UK research institutions. It will focus on research capacity strengthening through the development of sustainable research networks and skills transfer; and increase the number of young researchers through PhD scholarships, shared supervision and contribution evaluation to supporting African higher education institutions.

He said the SA-UNIZULU team’s contribution will include capabilities in developed chemical synthetic route to nanomaterials for solar applications, work on Au/Semiconductor core-shell materials, bismuth, tin and antimony based nanoparticles and bi-metallic systems.

The team has also been actively involved in upscaling synthesis of cadmium telluride, lead sulphide and zinc telluride systems and is experienced in electron microscopic analysis and optical measurements.

Revaprasadu said: “The programme is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. As UNIZULU’s Professor of Nanotechnology and Chairman of South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), this is a great opportunity to broaden the institution’s reach, research capacity and development of novel systems and innovations whilst establishing international and intercontinental partnerships and collaborations.

“The research consortium includes researchers and experts from across fields, including Ghana, Cameroon and the UK. Institutional partners include University of Manchester, UNIZULU, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Yaoundé. The SA-UNIZULU team includes Dr Bongumusa Dladla, Dr Masood Akhtar, Dr Sipho Mavundla, Sixberth Mlowe, Nhlakanipho Mntungwa, Welcome Zibane, Siphephelo Ncanana and Rekha Dunpall.”

He said the consortium has been awarded a networking grant of £25 000 (R397 000) from the Royal Society which will go towards the first project “Building Excellence in Materials Chemistry in Sub-Saharan Africa”. The consortium will meet to write a proposal for the award of £1.25 million (R19.8m) which will be dispersed over a period of five years.

Group leaders will meet in Dhakar, Senegal from October 26-29 for further discussions. A follow-up meeting will then be held by UK team leader, Prof Paul O’Brien at the University of Manchester from January 10-12, 2014. The final proposal will be submitted in mid-2014 and the outcome will be known in the latter half of the year.

Caption:The SA-UNIZULU team led by Prof Neerish Revaprasadu