Rsif scholars recognized for their research contribution to a sustainable future

During global talks on climate change mitigation and adaptation at the recently concluded COP28 in Dubai, Rsif scholars Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche and Rehema Mrutu were recognized for their research contribution to a sustainable future. Christelle (28 years) is a Cameroonian national pursuing a PhD in renewable energy at the Department of Physics, University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya with research placement to the Korea Institute of Energy Research in Korea and Rehema (33 years) is a Tanzanian national pursuing a PhD in Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at the Centre of Dryland Agriculture at Bayero University Kano, Nigeria with research placement at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in USA. Rehema was selected as a winning candidate at the Climate, Food and Farming Global Research Alliance Development (CLIFF-GRADS) award at the COP28 in Dubai.  CLIFF-GRADS is a joint initiative of the Mitigate+: Research for Low Emissions Food Systems of the CGIAR and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).

Rehema is developing a CRISPR engineered strain to cut down methane emissions in cows and improve meat and milk production.  The award aims to advance one of her research objectives on developing cheap and efficient means to divert the key substrate “hydrogen” in methane production to acetic acid, which is a by-product that can be used by the cow to improve meat and milk production. Rehema believes these data are urgently needed for researchers to decide on which microorganisms in the rumen needs manipulation to both develop long term methane mitigations measures and ensure food security. The CLIFF-GRADS award comes with a grant of USD 14,000 for a 4-6 months research stay at The University of Connecticut, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in USA.

Christelle on the other hand received a Best Paper Award for outstanding contribution to the 12th Asia-Pacific Forum on Renewable Energy (AFORE), held in Jeju, South Korea from 7-11 November 2023 with Theme: Pathways to Carbon Neutrality 2050. Her presentation was on Techno-Economic Comparative Analysis of Photovoltaic Panel/Wind Turbine/ Hydrogen Storage, Photovoltaic Panel/Wind Turbine/Battery Systems for Powering a Simulated House including Hydrogen Vehicle Load at Jeju Island (published in MDPI’s Energies journal here). Christelle is financed by the Government of Korea through a PASET-Rsif scholarship, and her research placement is at the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) in South Korea.

Christelle’s PhD research work has also been published in the Journal Energy Conversion and Management (Impact factor of 10:4) here. One of the causes of frequent power outages in developing countries is the global mismatch between supply and demand, which can have devastating effects. The study highlights the techno-economic and environmental significance of using a supercapacitor (SC) as a backup in contrast to a diesel generator (DG), as well as the validation of its compatibility with storage batteries because of the provision of a robust energy management approach.

Christelle hopes that her research will provide insights into reducing frequent load shedding in Cameroon, which often leads to power surges that destroy equipment, cause fires, disrupt education services and the proper functioning of health care services.

“In Africa, our journey towards clean energy is not just a possibility; it’s an imperative. Our rich natural resources are the key to sustainable, accessible energy for all, shaping a greener, brighter future. I believe we can do it. Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche, Rsif scholar in Energy including renewables.

Christelle’s PhD supervisory team includes Prof. Bernard Aduda (UoN), Dr. Hanki Kim (KIER), Prof. Sebastian Waita (UoN) and Dr. Peter Moses Musau (South Eastern Kenya University).

Korea contributes to the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (Rsif) of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET), since 2018. Its contribution of USD 9 million is to train Sub-Saharan African PhD students and to provide grants for research and innovation projects in strategic high potential sectors. Through PASET-Rsif Korea builds strong institutions and future science leaders to drive a science and technology-led growth and development to the mutual benefit of Africa, Korea and the world. The strong partnership between the Government of Korea, universities and PASET-Rsif contributes to boost exchange between African and Korean universities, researchers and faculties in the science and technology area.

Rsif combines intra-Africa academic exchange and international partnerships for world-class doctoral training. Research placement at an advanced institution gives exposure to cutting-edge technologies and nurtures connections with global research networks.  Moreover, Rsif promotes Africa regional integration, strengthening centers of excellence and innovation ecosystems. The design of Rsif as a Pan-African partnership and a jointly pooled science fund gives better economies of scale and is professionally managed by the Rsif Regional Coordination Unit at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).

Best paper award ceremony

Photos: (1) Rsif scholar Christelle Arielle Mbouteu Megaptche (on the right) received a Best Paper Award at the 12th Asia-Pacific Forum on Renewable Energy (AFORE) in Jeju, South Korea; (2) Rsif scholar Rehema Mrutu (in the lab) received a CLIFF-GRADS award during COP28 in Dubai. PhD student in the lab