Nigerian lecturer awarded Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer research grant

9th November 2021

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (JWO) Research Grant has been awarded to Nigeria Federal University of Technology Akure (Futa) Department of Chemistry lecturer and researcher Dr Gideon Idowu, whose research helps policymakers and communities gain a better understanding of the effects of microplastics and chemical contaminants on people and the environment and helps mitigate the impact on current and future generations.

Idowu’s research explores how, through poorly enforced environmental laws, Africa contributes significantly to global marine plastic pollution, as well as the contamination of its own freshwater bodies upon which many rural populations depend for drinking water.

The impacts of plastic pollution are significant. It exposes animals and humans to microplastics and plastic-derived endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which can affect reproductive systems and metabolism, his research shows.

Idowu’s study intends to provide scientific evidence of the impacts of microplastics, to inform policy and attitudinal changes across the African continent.

“We congratulate Dr Idowu on his superb submission, which looks at current issues with microplastics holistically. We are excited about what his research will tell us about this important topic.

"We also want to thank all 292 participants from 27 countries across Africa this year. It was a tough decision owing to the exceptionally high quality of the submissions,” says Oppenheimer Generations head of research and conservation Dr Duncan Macfadyen.

“We are excited about Dr Idowu’s research and look forward to supporting him throughout the duration of the grant. This is an annual award and we endeavour to continue to look for leading scientists who are solving the continent's most challenging problems,” adds JWO Grant expert panel chair and head of Oppenheimer Generations Philanthropies Bridget Fury.

“It is the most pleasant and unbelievable thing to have happened to me in recent times. I feel greatly honoured and grateful to the JWO panel and the Oppenheimer Generations team,” Idowu says.

The JWO Grant makes funding available to enable researchers to provide evidence to inform decision-making regarding natural resource management. It encourages practical action to implement innovative solutions at local, regional and national scale for the benefit of African communities.

Since its inception three years ago, the JWO Grant has supported groundbreaking African research programmes with the potential to significantly contribute to the advancement of environmental and allied sciences through identifying and addressing real-world issues across the continent.

Hundreds of applications were reviewed by the JWO Research Grant expert panel, a distinguished panel comprised of internal and external members with significant experience across academia and research in environmental science.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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