His Excellency Sebastian Groth, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kenya, yesterday officially handed over, Discover 2.0 Microwave Synthesizer to the School of Chemistry and Material Science. The equipment worth more than Sh2 million, was purchased through funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in partnership with the German Federal Foreign Office.
The Ambassador presented the equipment to Prof. Paul Shiundu, DVC Academic and Student Affairs who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Aduol.
Also present were, Prof. Alfred Orina, DVC, Research and Technology Development, Prof. Paul Mwanzia Wambua, DVC Institutional Advancement and Enterprise, Prof. Francis K. Gatheri, Executive Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Dr. Geoffrey Otieno, Director, School of Chemistry and Material Science and Dr. Lucy Ombaka, Lecturer, School of Chemistry and Material Science, Department of Industrial and Applied Chemistry.
The equipment was purchased, following Dr. Lucy Ombaka’s 4 year post-doctoral studies, under the Alexander von Humboldt Georg Forster Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. She proceeded to write a competitive proposal for instrument subsidy, which was successful.
Subsequently, the funding was used to purchase the Discover 2.0 Microwave Synthesizer, a high-performance equipment used to synthesize inorganic and organic compounds such as nano particles with precision, high yields, short reaction times and high productivity.
The Ambassador congratulated Dr. Ombaka for this achievement and for championing Women in Science. He further encouraged her to continue using her success stories to help more women to develop interest in sciences.
Prof. Shiundu said for the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, to train Dr. Ombaka and go ahead and provide the equipment to support her research activities makes TU-K greatly indebted to the Foundation.
“The equipment will not only be useful to her as a person, but will also be used by students and staff in advancing their research activities, so we don’t take this for granted,” he said.
Prof. Orina said TU-K is still a young university in need of equipment support, as result staff will work closely with industry to enhance research and capacity building. He also thanked the German Government for providing post-doctoral training support, especially in providing the form of equipment support that helps scholars in their academic research activities.
Prof Mwanzia said that the institution will work closely with partners to ensure continuous mutually beneficial collaborative research. He also thanked the Germany Government for supporting universities through the DAAD programmes that not only enhances academic staff capacity building but also exposes them to the latest technologies in their field of study.
Dr. Ombaka said that she is was grateful to German Federal Ministry of Education and Research that funds the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation - Georg Foster Research Award for supporting them to just through training but also when they come to their countries. She added that with this engagement, she hopes they would collaborate more with partners to secure more funding to upgrade the equipment in the lab and also continue with research in the areas of green energy.
Dr. Ombaka attended post-doctoral studies at University of Hannover, mainly focused on Renewable Energy, specifically on the production of Green Hydrogen. She holds a PhD in Chemistry, from University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.