Source: MSU lecturer wins £300 000 grant | The Herald April 11, 2019
Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
The African Academy of Sciences and Royal Society has awarded chairperson of Midlands State University’s Chemical Technology Department Dr Gift Mehlana £300 000 to establish an independent research that will address global challenges affecting Zimbabwe.
The award was presented at Naivasha in Kenya where scientists from across the African continent convened from April 4 to 5 to celebrate the start of their two-year Future Leaders-African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship.
Dr Mehlana was among the 30 FLAIR and the only Zimbabwean representing a local institution who received the award out of a pool of 700 applicants.
He is working on technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it to other useful chemicals, such as formic acid and methanol, addressing environmental concerns and providing organic starting materials for the chemical industry in countries devoid of fossil oil resources.
In an interview with The Herald after winning the grant, Dr Mehlana commended the academy for the gesture which he said will benefit the nation.
“This gesture comes at a good time when our nation is employing robust measures to revive the economy through industrialisation where science and research are key. Research is key to the economic development of Zimbabwe.
“Therefore Zimbabwe is going to benefit from the sophisticated equipment that will allow us to carry out research which in turn will address some of the challenges that we are facing as a nation,” he said.
Dr Mehlana said the grant will enable him to train the next generation of scientist for Zimbabwe and improve the research culture at MSU.
“This fellowship will provide an opportunity for me to train the next generation of scientists in Zimbabwe. Through this grant, MSU will acquire sophisticated equipment which will allow us to carry out quality research.
“The research culture at the institution will be influenced through this, the university will have free access to the Royal Society journal which will immensely boost our research.”
He said the grant will give him the opportunity to network with international scientists.
“The grant will give me an opportunity to network with researchers from the United Kingdom and in our region, I am looking forward to the prospects of carrying out research on carbon dioxide capture and conversion.”