The Royal Society of South Africa (RSSAf) has honoured Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Material Science Vincent Nyamori with a Fellowship (FRSSAf) for his outstanding contributions to furthering science in South Africa.
Nyamori is committed to the profession of chemical sciences, where his scientific research has accrued distinction and in which he has established himself as an outstanding teacher, researcher, and administrator.
“It is a great honour to receive this special award,” said Nyamori of being named a Fellow of the RSSAf.
“This Fellowship can only motivate me to strive forward, eager to continue doing my best for a better future,” he said.
Nyamori obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Egerton University in Kenya, followed by his honours and master’s degrees at the former University of Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and his PhD from its descendent institution, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, now Nelson Mandela University.
He then undertook a postdoctoral research position at the University of the Witwatersrand under the supervision of Professor Neil Coville. He thereafter joined UKZN in 2008, progressing through the ranks from lecturer to full professor.
Nyamori has developed his expertise in nanotechnology and nanomaterials science, catalysis, and green and sustainable chemistry. His particular focus has been on sustainable energy using nanomaterials for solar energy generation and storage, and sustainable carbon-based nanomaterials in catalysis and water remediation.
He pursues avenues of research that will positively affect achieving the Stainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those targeted at providing or promoting clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, and climate action.
Nyamori advocates applying creativity and innovation to tackling the urgent environmental and economic challenges facing the world by adopting a circular economy approach.
“I believe everyone can positively contribute, and every input that advances science, regardless of the discipline, will certainly impact our world,” said Nyamori.
Through his research, Nyamori has developed chemical science solutions for enhanced sustainability that include novel catalysts, innovative water remediation absorbents, and advanced fabrication of solar cells with improved efficiency.
He has published over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals and three book chapters, lodged a patent, and presented several invited lectures at national and international conferences. He has graduated 13 master’s and 16 PhD students, including several international students.
Nyamori received UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award for early-career researchers in 2011 for his exceptional research and research-related scholarly activities.
Nyamori is an Associate Editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Sustainability journal and holds a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation, emblematic of his status as an established researcher who has gained international recognition.
He held a visiting professorship at Portland State University in the United States of America and has led the organising of several local and international conferences, including the Inorganic Chemistry Conference (incorporating the Carman Physical Chemistry Symposium) in 2013, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Conference on Green Chemistry in 2014, the National Convention of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) in 2015, the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in 2018, the First Commonwealth Chemistry Congress in 2021, and the Second Commonwealth Chemistry Congress held in Trinidad and Tobago this year.
Nyamori has served terms as the President, Vice-President, and Immediate Past-President of the SACI and is a member of the institute’s Executive Committee. He was the first national Chair and initiator for the SACI Green Chemistry Division and is now the division’s treasurer. He is the Executive Treasurer for the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry and the South African Representative to the recently formed Federation of Commonwealth Chemical Sciences Societies.
Nyamori is a Fellow of the RSC in the United Kingdom and the SACI. In 2020, he received the SACI’s Merck Medal Award for a paper published in the South African Journal of Chemistry, judged to have made the most significant contribution to the discipline.
Nyamori expressed gratitude to everyone who has played a role in his professional development to the rank of FRSSAf, with special thanks to his peers, colleagues, students, and family for their contributions to and belief in his abilities.