The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) launched the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chair on May 18, 2022, in Arusha.

The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chair Initiative is the first Research Chair at NM-AIST, focusing on the application of nanotechnology and Pheroid technology to enhance the anti-malaria drug delivery system to the body and improve uptake of biofertilizers and biopesticides by crop plants.

The Research Chair is won by Professor Hulda Shaidi Swai, a renowned Tanzanian nano scientist, after stiff competition from other top-notch professors and scientists in Africa.

Speaking at the launch, the guest of honor, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Prof. Eliamani Sedoyeka, said that the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chair Initiative at the NM -AIST will support the Ministry’s efforts to catalyze the application of science, technology and innovation to solve pressing challenges encountered by the community.

“We are all aware that malaria is still a big challenge of concern in our country. Its economic effects in terms of reduced manpower due to lost lives and higher government spending on importation of antimalarial drug are vivid.” Said Prof. Sedoyeka.

He added that the application of pheroid technology to improve the bioavailability of fertilizers and pesticides to crops would help our country reduce the costs of importing huge volumes of ineffective fertilizers and pesticides and improve our environment by reducing toxic chemicals residuals and also improve productivity and income of farmers.

Speaking of the benefits, the O.R. Tambo Chair leader, Prof. Hulda Shaidi Swai said that in addition to enhanced nano-based and Pheroid-baased anti-malaria drugs, biofertilizers and biopesticides the Research Initiative will also build huma critical mass by training PhD and Masters Students in nanotechnology and Pheroid technology.

“Given that Nanoscience is a relatively new field in Tanzania, this research chair will also provide scholarship funding to PhD and Master’s Students who will become experts in the field and contribute to the growth of Nanoscience in the country”. Said Prof. Hulda.

Prof. Emmanuel Luoga, Vice-Chancellor of the African Institute of Science and Technology, said the Chair will help enhance the quality of NM-AIST research facilities such as a laboratory, thereby creating an improved environment for students to conduct their experiments.

The O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chair Initiative hosted at the NM-AIST focuses on Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Pheroid technology for Enhanced Antimalarial Drug Efficacy and Optimized Agricultural products in the Sub-Saharan Region: Towards Better Health and Sustainable Agriculture.

The Chair is funded through a partnership among South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and seven councils of the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI).

The project is implemented through the Tanzania Science and Technology Commission (COSTECH).