African Chemical Scientists Workshop begins at JKUAT

Prof. Wandiga addresses the workshop with Prof. Imbuga (Second left)

A high profile chemistry workshop bringing together professionals from Africa and beyond opened at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Monday September 2, 2013. The five-day workshop on Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry is hosted by the JKUAT Chemistry Department and sponsored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and the Pan Africa Chemistry Network.

It aims to advance African scientists’ global visibility in chemical sciences by empowering them to generate knowledge relevant to African setting in order to influence local thinking and decision making.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prof. Shem Wandiga of the University of Nairobi urged the participants to take the training seriously since chemical weapons are increasing becoming the instruments of choice in war zones, exemplified by the current Syrian crisis in which chemical weapons are alleged to have been used.

“This is why the OPCW which is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, has agreed to be a co-sponsor of this workshop,” explained Prof. Wandiga.

A section of the participants at the workshop

The don equally challenged the participants to engage in research and share the findings with the world in order to beef up chemical sciences literature from Africa. He however cautioned the participants to carefully select their publication outlets in order to remain visible.

“Ensure you publish in high impact journals that will not only avail wider circulation of the information but also foster your visibility as a scientist,” Wandiga exhorted.

Welcoming the participants to JKUAT, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga noted that despite the endowments of the African continent, scanty scientific knowledge particularly in chemical sciences has considerably slackened the continent’s bid to exploit beneficial resources.

Prof. Imbuga added that JKUAT is currently working on international accreditation of all the laboratories which will make it possible for African scholars to conduct globally acclaimed research in the institution.

“Besides Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry JKUAT is considering additional instrumentation training in the area of Performance Liquid Chromatography,” Prof. Imbuga said.

The workshop themed: Fundamentals of GC and Electron Ionization Mass Spectrometry: From Instrumentation to Spectra Interpretation will be facilitated by Dr. Mathias Schafer of Germany and Prof. Antony Gachanja of JKUAT. The participants are drawn from academia and government agencies.

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