Students Secure Japanese Scholarships to Pursue PhD

Simon Chege (second Left) in Japan

The Africa-ai-Japan project has awarded scholarships to two outstanding JKUAT students, Simon Chege and Adam Ngome Mwero, to pursue doctoral studies in Japan.

Simon has a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, and a First-Class Honors undergraduate degree both earned at JKUAT. His research focus in Japan will revolve around Microgrid Control using AI techniques, particularly Machine Learning.

Adam, a Tutorial Fellow in Marine Engineering at JKUAT, holds a Master’s degree in Marine Engineering from Dalian Maritime University, China, and has worked in both industry and academia. His research interests are in the design and performance optimization of tidal current turbines and smart buoys for sustainable marine energy development.

Simon revealed his plans and ambitions stem from a deep-rooted drive to fulfill his potential in his research work.

 “I have been actively preparing for my stay in Japan by taking Japanese language lessons using the NHK World Japanese website. My motivation to pursue a PhD in Japan stems from my desire for a different research experience. I aspire to work in a collaborative lab environment, unlike my previous research experiences, where individuals worked in isolation. My short-term goals include publishing in reputable journals and completing my PhD on time.”

On his part, Adam said, his enthusiasm for environment and the ocean drove him towards PhD in the field.

“My passion for the ocean and concern for the environment drove me to seek a PhD in Marine Energy Development. I envision contributing significantly to sustainable marine energy in Kenya, aligning with the nation’s vision of a sustainable blue economy by 2030. Additionally, achieving a doctorate degree is a requirement for me to progress in my academic career in the Marine Engineering field.”

Simon says he has “been actively preparing for his stay in Japan by taking Japanese language lessons using the NHK World Japanese website”. While Adam has not undergone formal language preparation, he has watched informational videos to better understand life in Japan.

Simon’s research in Japan will explore the application of reinforcement learning in multiagent control of microgrids. He aims to determine if multiagent control is superior to centralized control and how it can be leveraged to design intelligent microgrid controllers that enhance parameters such as voltage stability, frequency stability, and power quality.

Adam Mwero (left) gets acquainted in Japan ahead of his academic journey

Recognizing the potential challenges of pursuing a PhD in a foreign country, both scholars plan to adapt and overcome challenges as they arise. They aim to settle quickly into the Japanese community and stay connected with their families to maintain emotional support.

They envision collaborating with fellow researchers in Japan and participating in conferences that promote collaboration between researchers and industry players. They recognize the value of networking and plan to leverage to enhance their research experiences.

Simon plans to bring his expertise in microgrids back to Africa, assisting in the setup of microgrids to improve access to affordable energy. Adam intends to contribute to Kenya’s blue economy sector, raise global competitiveness, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable marine energy. Both scholars aspire to strengthen academic ties between Kenya and Japan.

Beyond academic and research objectives, both scholars seek personal growth during their time in Japan. They plan to adapt to the culture, establish lasting friendships, and learn valuable lessons they can bring back to Kenya.

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