First Black President-Elect of Royal Society of Chemistry

Professor Robert Mokaya Breaks Boundaries as the First Black President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry

A Historic Milestone

Professor Robert Mokaya has been elected as the future president of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), becoming the first Black chemical scientist to hold this prestigious position.

His victory marks a significant milestone in promoting diversity and inclusion within the scientific community.

Expressing his gratitude, Prof. Mokaya stated, “I am really humbled and also honored at the same time. I’m very, very pleased to be given this opportunity to serve the Royal Society of Chemistry in this capacity.”

He acknowledged the rich history associated with the role and the inspiration it provides to aspiring chemists worldwide.

A Global Citizen’s Perspective

Prof. Mokaya’s journey has taken him from rural Kenya, where he grew up, to the University of Nairobi, the University of Cambridge, and eventually to the University of Nottingham.

This global perspective aligns with his vision for the RSC. “This is a global organization, and for me, that’s really important because I see myself as a global citizen,” he emphasized.

As the chair of the RSC’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, Prof. Mokaya has already demonstrated his commitment to promoting inclusivity within the chemical sciences.

He aims to further expand the reach of chemistry and foster conversations that drive positive change.

Commendation from the RSC Chief Executive

Dr. Helen Pain, the RSC’s chief executive, congratulated Prof. Mokaya on his success, stating, “Robert brings a unique wealth of knowledge and experience accumulated on his life-long journey through chemistry, including his education in Kenya and his long and distinguished academic career in the UK.

His diverse range of insights is tremendously beneficial to the chemical sciences community.”

Looking Ahead

As Prof. Mokaya prepares to transition into his new role as the RSC’s president-elect, he recognizes the challenges ahead but embraces them with enthusiasm.

“It’s a time of change, and I think it’s going to be challenging for me, but I love a challenge, and I have wonderful people around me who I’m sure will support me through that process,” he said.

Prof. Mokaya’s path to this historic achievement has been marked by numerous milestones. After receiving his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Nairobi in 1988, he earned his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1992. Following a Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship in 1996.

In 2000, Prof. Mokaya joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham as a lecturer in Materials Chemistry, where he eventually became a Professor of Materials Chemistry and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement. Recently, he has taken on the role of Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield.

Pioneering Research in Sustainable Porous Materials

Prof. Mokaya’s research focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of new forms of sustainable porous materials, exploring novel synthesis methods that are simpler, cheaper, and more efficient. His work aims to optimize these materials’ properties for targeted sustainable energy applications, contributing to the development of sustainable solutions.

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