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Wednesday, 03 June 2020

Lecturer’s aspiration to change lives earns recognition

ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION: The Department of Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer, Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury’s research performance has been recognised by current Early Career / Emerging Researchers, who are NRF grant holders.   ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION: The Department of Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer, Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury’s research performance has been recognised by current Early Career / Emerging Researchers, who are NRF grant holders.

Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury’s aspiration to change the lives of people in Africa through research and innovation has earned him a nomination for the 2020 National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Excellence Award for Early Career/Emerging Researchers.

Last month, the Department of Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer was also nominated in the TW Kambule-NSTF Award and that he received his NRF Y rating earlier this year.

He said this award recognises outstanding research excellence by current Thuthuka grant holders. Chowdhury who was raised by his mother in Cape Town after his father passed away when he was 12years -old said: “It was a challenging time for us after the passing of my father… My foremost goal is to change the lives of people in Africa through my research and innovation.”

His research focus is on advanced functional materials, ‘which is an emerging new field’. Chowdhury who was also nominated for this category last year said: “My research aims to develop functional materials that aim to be used for biosensing, gas sensing, renewable energy generation, and environmental remediation.” With the country and the global community facing the Covid-19 pandemic, Chowdhury said: “This year is a challenging time, as we adapt to new norms and standards. All these achievements are a culmination of previous years' hard work and effort. It just bore fruit this year.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be nominated. As this is a recognition of someone's hard work and appreciation of your work from the institution.”

The modest lecturer attributed his academic success to his dedication and passion for research that he hopes “will change the way we live”.

“My nomination is a validation of my hard work and the quality of my research from my institution. The evaluation and award process and its outcome are often used as an indicator of the quality of researcher that this university is nurturing. So, the greater number of awarded researchers CPUT has, the more prestigious it is for the institution.” He stated that it required an intensive effort to achieve sustained significant research output over a specific period.

The young researcher had a few words of advice to motivate youth who come from a similar background.

“I will tell the youth to learn the correct way as there is no shortcut to learning. Always have a curious mind to ask questions and make an effort to look for the answers.”

The emerging researcher, who likes traveling, especially long road trips to learn, said during the lockdown period he is learning how to grow his own food. “I strongly believe that the world needs more scientist farmers.” Spending a lot of time supervising his postgraduate students online is also what keeps him going during the lockdown period. “I am enjoying it a lot as we are learning together.

“My motto in life is to make an impact on other people's lives. I am forever grateful to my postgrad students; it couldn’t have done it without them.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce

Email: boyceap@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and the Built Environment and Applied Sciences Faculties.