College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Unisan selected for prestigious Future Professors Programme

Dr Nomvano Mketo, of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), has been selected to participate in the Future Professors Programme (FPP) Phase 2 Cohort 1, on behalf of Unisa.

The FPP is a competitive and selective programme of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) aimed at the preparation of promising mid-career academics to join a new cohort of South African professors across disciplines.

According to the DHET, a total of 114 applications were received from 26 universities across South Africa. All the applications were reviewed through a rigorous selection process, culminating in a shortlist of 29 candidates.

“I would like to congratulate Unisa and Dr Mketo on her selection in a highly competitive process,” said Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. “I trust that she will take full advantage of the opportunity that has been afforded her and I look forward to the contribution she will make as a leading academic in higher education in South Africa and beyond.”

Dr Nomvano Mketo

We chatted briefly with Dr Mketo to understand what it means for her to be selected for the FPP.

“Being selected to participate in the FPP, on behalf of Uhisa, means I have to use this opportunity effectively, so that, after two years, I can have an improved scholar profile and contribute towards the vision of putting Unisa on the global map,” said Mketo.

She mentioned that she will use the support from the FPP platform to increase her collaboration profile, mentor more postgraduate students, attract external funding and improve on her teaching and learning paradigms. “The aim is to impart my knowledge and skills, and to pave the way for upcoming generation of scientists, as I am currently leading a research group of 11 postgraduate students (two doctoral, six master’s and three honours students) and co-supervising two PhD students at another South African university,” continued Mketo.

The  research group’s focus is on the development of greener microwave and micro-extraction sample preparation methods for pre-concentration and adsorptive removal of inorganic and organic pollutants in various matrices (water, food, petrochemicals, etc.).

“It is worth noting that we have also expanded our research focus into the synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials generated from agricultural and industrial waste materials as novel adsorbents,” she said. “Therefore, the main goal of our research is to improve water, food and energy security on the African continent, while converting waste materials into useful products.”

Professor Bhekie Mamba, Executive Dean of CSET, also extended a congratulatory message to Mketo. “Dr Mketo embodies the excellence that CSET expects of its academics, and her selection will add to her recognition nationally and internationally,” he said. “The CSET Deanery believes in its academics and we were confident during the process that Dr Mketo will be selected. It should be borne in mind that Dr Mketo is the second Unisa and CSET academic to be selected for this programme.”

* By Dr Nozipho N. Gumbi, Acting Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Publish date: 2021/09/07