Dr. Edith Amuhaya (Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry) in the USIU-Africa School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has been appointed a co-principal researcher in the South Africa – Canada – Kenya project, which is part of the South Africa–Canada Research Chairs Trilateral Partnership Initiative (SARChI).
The initiative is part of the broader South Africa–Canada Research Chairs Initiative which is jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF).The South Africa–Canada Research Chairs Initiative is made up of the South Africa–Canada Research Chairs Trilateral Partnership Initiative and the South Africa–Canada Research Chairs Mobility Initiative, and will seeks to invest in the development of research in sub-Saharan Africa through the establishment of tri-lateral partnerships. Each project will receive funding of up to CA $ 1 million over a period of up to 5 years.
Dr. Amuhaya will work closely with Prof. Tebello Nyokong from Rhodes University and Prof. Juan Scaiano from University of Ottawa. The team of three will conduct joint research into the use of nanotechnology to develop materials that can provide solutions for current environmental issues, such as water and soil decontamination, as well as the design of new systems to reduce the cost of current methods of purification.
Dr. Amuhaya joined the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the beginning of spring 2017 from the Technical University of Kenya, and holds a Ph.D. degree in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Louisiana State University in the United States. She also, previously taught at Maseno University (Kenya), and did her post-doctoral fellowship at Rhodes University in South Africa.
Both IDRC and NRF are interested in supporting projects that build on existing research capabilities, links, and common research interests in all three countries. Recent research indicates that Africa is still lagging behind in research – in 2013, Africa only accounted for 1.3% of global research and development and only 2.3% of world researchers. These initiatives are therefore part of a growing research by African higher education institutions to increase regional integration and decrease external dependencies.
According to the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, USIU-Africa is expected to benefit from this trilateral partnership initiative since the university’s research productivity, which directly affects “global competition for talented students, top faculty, scarce resources, and reputational capital” is bound to increase. He believes research conducted at African universities will produce the relevant knowledge and skilled labor capacity that Africa’s key institutions need to succeed.