My name is Ugwuja Chidinma Gloria, a 3rd year PhD Student of the Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemer’s University, and a research student at ACEWATER. As a doctoral student, she is currently working on the “Preparation of Functional Hybrid Clay materials for Water Disinfection”.

She visited the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, with the support from the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund. The objective of the Cambridge-Africa Programme is to help strengthen research capacity and scholarship in African universities and research institutes. This research fund supports pairs of researchers from the University of Cambridge and sub-Saharan African institutions. Hence, Prof. Stuart Matthew Clarke (University of Cambridge) and Prof. Emmanuel Iyayi Unuabonah (Redeemer’s University) won this research funding which made it possible for Miss Chidinma to carry out  part of her research work at Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge is one of the top five (5) best university in the world and it is made up of thirty-one (31) colleges. Her research work was carried out at the Department of Chemistry, Jesus College. Her host, S.M Clarke is a member of the college and a Professor in the Department.

Another important thing about the University is the serene study environment. Health and Safety issues is paramount in research laboratories in the University. Therefore, many health and safety courses are carried out from time to time. On this occasion, Miss Chidinma was enlightened more about safety standards and practices in the research laboratories

The Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge is equipped with state-of-art equipment with skilled personnel that help train students on the use of these equipment. Just to mention a few, some of these equipments include 13C NMR, Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), Electron Microscopes(STEM), Thermogravimetric analyzer coupled with a mass spectrometry(TGA-MS), Inductive Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES), X-ray Diffractometer, Sum Frequency Spectrometer (SFG) e.t.c. 

Miss Chidinma’s visit to the University of Cambridge added to her research experience, as she was trained on the operation and use of some scientific equipment such as Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), X-ray Diffractometer (XRD), Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectrophotometer (ATR-FTIR), Raman spectrometer e.t.c. Usually, members of ACEWATER send their samples to colleagues and collaborators outside Nigeria for their help with analysis. However, with the help of this visit, Miss Chidinma was able to analyse her samples herself.

Miss Chidinma is grateful to the Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA fund for the opportunity to be at Cambridge and she is consequently grateful to Prof. S.M Clarke for his mentorship during the period of her stay. She remembers with pleasure, weekly group meetings and discussions with Prof. Clarke, where he would take out time to review her data thoroughly and advise on how to go about any problem with the data or experiments. 

More so, during her visit, Professor S.M Clarke organized a Surface Science Forum (SSF), which included other group members from the University. This forum was packed with different sessions including brainstorming session, poster presentation, discussion and feedback e.t.c. There was also a guest speaker a talk on a new technique-“He Spin Echo”- which can study the movement of atoms in less than 15 nanoseconds. 

As a result of this forum, she was able to present results of her research work while at the University of Cambridge in a poster session. In addition, she learnt about the “He Spin Echo” and interacted with other research scientists from different groups.

My visit to the University of Cambridge is of immense exposure and a profound experience to my research career and had provided me a bridge to European research community.

Miss Chidinma Ugwuja with Prof.S.M Clarke and his research group members