College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Double credit for Unisa scientist

Prof Mandla Makhanya (Principal and Vice-Chancellor) and HE Thabo Mbeki (Chancellor of Unisa) congratulate Prof Ajay Mishra (NanoWS) (centre) on his 2019 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research. Mishra was also acknowledged as a member of Unisa's Half Million Rand Club.

Prof Ajay Kumar Mishra from the Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability (NanoWS) research unit received double honour at Unisa’s 2020 Research & Innovation Awards.

The 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and the Half Million Rand Club Award for the IRG - Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) & National Research Foundation (NRF) - International Bilateral Research Cooperation Programme were presented to him in recognition of his outstanding work as a producer of high-impact research.

As a multiple award-winner, Mishra feels honoured and highly motivated to receive both these awards. He said this will keep him motivated to take his research to newer heights.

"This is a celebration of the confidence and trust my superiors have in my hard work and dedication. I feel blessed to receive the highest honour of the university," he said.

Powerful impactful research

Mishra said his research is multidisciplinary with the focus on nanotechnology and wastewater treatment. "We fabricate various nanomaterials for remediation that are applied as adsorbents and photocatalysts for various types of organic and inorganic contaminants in water."

In his work, Mishra is involved in the area of nanotechnology towards the development of smart materials for various applications in the field of materials science and water research. He also trains and supervises honours, master's and doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral fellows under the same research subject.

In his statement about the impact of the research he conducts, Mishra said that Unisa research students doing master’s and doctoral degrees in a multidisciplinary area, under his direct supervision, will be allowed to innovate in their research aptitude with novel ideas. The objective is to provide a holistic approach to target green future though his research.

Community impact

In addition, Mishra stated that the community would benefit from his findings as it would provide basic scientific principles and outcomes for further research and development leading to low cost commercially available products and the delivery of clean water to needy communities.

Maintaining that his academic journey was supported by many universities both as a student and an academic professional, the chartered scientist acknowledges his peers for recognising his talent. Also, he said, there were students who gave him the strength to rise. "My peers have given me an opportunity to build my profile and to showcase my performance and recognise my hard work. The students play the most important role and without them I would not have reached this goal."

"Their efforts give me wings to fly and I could achieve the set targets. My collaborators across the world have opened their doors to host my ideas and gave my research a new dimension. Funding agencies have generously granted my research and allowed me to move forward in my academic achievements."

Similarly, he thanked his family and friends for giving him the strength to wake up every morning and chase his dreams. "My kids have showered me with unconditional love and support," he enthuses. "Without everyone’s role as stated earlier, I would not be here to achieve the best."

His contributions as a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, UK; Bashkir State University, Russia; and adjunct professor at Jiangsu University, China, are impressive and come in handy in his work at Unisa.

Mishra concluded by saying that he thanked Unisa management, selection committee, colleagues, students and more especially his family for their support. 

* By Lesego Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/03/16