First Education for Laser Based Manufacturing Scholar arrives at COETEC

Mr. Joseph Morake from Botswana

College of Engineering and Technology welcomed the first beneficiary of the Education for Laser Based Manufacturing Project scholarship to JKUAT. Mr. Joseph Morake hailing from Palapye, a coal town about 240kms north east of Botswana capital Gaborone, arrived in June 2021 to start his pursuant of a Master of Science Degree in Manufacturing Engineering.

The Education for Laser Based Manufacturing (ELbM) Project is funded by the European Union and is a consortium of academic and industrial institutions formed to respond to the deficiency of qualified teaching and research capacity in Manufacturing in Africa. JKUAT, through the College of Engineering and Technology was awarded funding of the project by European Union in 2019 but the project commenced in 2020.

Mr. Morake is the first scholar among several that shall join later to kick start the project. He will undertake research in Laser Additive Manufacturing which is a transformative approach to industrial production that enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems which is an emerging industrial application in Africa.

The ELbM project is scheduled to run for five years with its linchpin being capacity building to support manufacturing in Africa while employing modern equipment for training in laser-based manufacturing. The project consortium includes, along with JKUAT; Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Botswana, Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria as the academia partners. Additionally, the project has incorporated the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research/Laser-Based Manufacturing Research Group (CSIR/LEM), South Africa, the African Laser Centre (ALC), and Universita di Bologna, in Italy as industrial partners.

Dr. Eng. Hiram Ndiritu welcoming Mr. Morake

Welcoming Mr. Morake to the College during an induction in his office, the Acting Principal, College of Engineering and Technology Dr. Eng. Hiram Ndiritu asserted the critical role the project will play to help in capacity building for staff and students within the College and further strengthen JKUAT’s linkages with other institutions of higher learning in Africa.

“Laser Based Manufacturing is a growing area in Kenya and most of Africa, research in it will be very vital to development. With the support of the European Union in this project, the College will be able to up-scale its research capacity,” added Dr. Ndiritu.

Dr. Rehema Ndeda, a lecturer in the School of Mechanical Manufacturing and Materials Engineering (SoMMME) who is also a member of the project’s coordinating team, called on staff and students in JKUAT COETEC, Kenya and from across the continent to apply for scholarships in the ongoing second call for applications (https://scholarship.elbmmobility.org/), which closes on November 15, 2021.

“The fields of study available for scholarship include Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, and Biomaterials Engineering. A total of 25 scholarships comprising of 14 Masters, 7PhDs and 4 Staff scholarships are available, and will be jointly administered by the four African partner institutions, where students and staff will engage in postgraduate studies, research, teaching or training,” she said.

From Left: Dr. Eng. Ndiritu, Mr. Morake and Dr. Ndeda

Being a beneficiary of the project in the past as a PhD student, Dr. Rehema affirms that the opportunity gave her a lot of exposure, through knowledge acquisition, access to state-of-the-art equipment and also critical insights in grant writing. She undertook her PhD in Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Botswana.

Regarding the opportunity as a prestigious one, Mr. Morake is acclimatizing to life in Kenya and precisely in JKUAT and has embarked on exploiting and changing the manufacturing space in Africa.

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