JKUAT Chemistry don honoured by UK University

Prof. Anthony Gachanja delivers his acceptance speech after receiving his honorary degree from the University of Plymouth

Anthony Ngure Gachanja, a professor of analytical and environmental chemistry at JKUAT has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree of Science by the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom. The don was crowned following his relentless efforts to build resilient hubs of analytical excellence in Africa.

Prof. Gachanja has developed courses and mounted industry trainings aimed at harnessing the power of analytical chemistry to promote sustainable development in the global south. Some of his ground-breaking efforts include trainings in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry which have since benefited over 450 analysts drawn from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia in the last decade.

Gachanja believes that despite analytical chemistry being the crucible upon which Africa’s industrial advancement could be nestled, it has not been prioritized by a good number of countries in the continent.

The honorary award is only the latest international recognition for the JKUAT scholar. In 2020, Prof. Gachanja was named among the ten most impactful chemical scientists in Africa by the Analytical Scientist Power List of 2020.

Prof Gachanja (left) enjoys some light moments with the Chancellor of University of Plymouth, Baron Jonathan Kestenbaum.

In 2014, Prof. Gachanja was inducted as a fellow to the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom, an exclusive club of chemical scientists then patroned by Her Majesty the Queen.

The don who is also a registered Environmental Lead Expert, is keen to reverse the notion that science was conceived as a foreign import in Africa. He strongly champions a paradigm shift in which scientific equipment are taken to the fields; instead of samples taken to far away laboratories. This way, the don believes that, populations will be empowered to make knowledge based decisions regarding health and environmental conditions.

Prof. Gachanja earned his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Nairobi in 1981 before proceeding for his Masters studies in Analytical Science and PhD in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry at the England’s University of Hull, where he graduated in 1983 and 1991 respectively.

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