Department of Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer, Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury is “honoured” to find himself among the nominees for the National Science and Technology Forum(NSTF-South32 South32) Awards.
Chowdhury has for a second consecutive year been nominated in the TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher category. He was a finalist in the category last year. This is normally awarded to an individual after a thorough assessment of an individual’s contribution through research and its outputs over a period of up to six years of research work from the commencement of the research career, predominantly in South Africa.
Reacting to his nomination, Chowdhury said: “It is an extraordinary honour to be nominated; given the quality of the nominations NSTF receives every year, the fierce competition that nominees face, and growing interest from the community over the years. CPUT’s vision is to be at the heart of cutting-edge science and this nomination to me is like a stamp of approval of the quality of my research from my institution.”
One of his research interests is in bio sensor or point of care diagnostics. He said ‘Point of care diagnosis is the future of personal health management and arguably the beginning of personalised medicine’.
“My research aims to develop [a] low-cost bio sensor which will improve the health management of the people in Africa.”
Before his nomination, Chowdhury’s intensive effort to achieve sustained significant research output also earned him a National Research Foundation (NRF) Y2 rating. A “Y” rated scientist is a young researcher younger than 40. He was recognised as having the potential to establish himself as a researcher of considerable international standing on the basis of the quality and impact of his recent research outputs.
The rating system encourages researchers to publish high-quality outputs in high impact journals/outlets. “As a rated researcher and as a supervisor, I will impart cutting-edge skills to the next generation of researchers.” When he is not busy with his academic work, Chowdhury runs an NGO called Science for Welfare International Foundation Trust (SWIFT).
“One of the main projects of SWIFT is to donate laboratory apparatus to high schools in impoverished areas.”
SWIFT also arranges science talks to primary school learners to motivate them in science and engineering. For his achievements, the academic who enjoys long road trips credited his mentors, professors, Veruscha Fester and Tunde Ojumu. “Without their guidance, it would not have been possible.
“I am forever grateful to the support I have received from professors Marshal Sheldon and Dina Burger and their DVC team…I am forever grateful to my postgraduate students for making this happen. This should also inspire them to take the academic path.”
Chowdhury added: “It’s tough especially if you have a 15-month-old child who is constantly looking for your attention. But effective time management is the key. My wife is very supportive and she carries a lot of family responsibility while I am busy with my academic work.”