Canada-South Africa trilateral research chair in nanomaterials for clean water
This project aims to use nanomaterials (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter) to provide new, inexpensive techniques to purify water that also address the increasingly important issue of antimicrobial resistance. The ability of new hybrid materials to speed up reactions through exposure to light will both degrade organic pollutants and serve as an antimicrobial agent with long-lasting activity. Photoactive materials usually generate non-toxic by-products and use sunlight, which is not only cheap and harmless but also widely available in Africa.
This project involves a trilateral partnership between lead researchers at the University of Ottawa, Rhodes University in South Africa, and the United States International University in Kenya. The project will rely on the complementary expertise of the three principal investigators in such areas as the synthesis of new complexes and nanoparticles, photochemistry, and catalysis research. The strength and novelty of the initiative lies in these trilateral links that aim to enable strong research connections within the African continent and between Canadian and African scientists. Two of the main expected outputs of this project are to establish a long-lasting world-class centre of research expertise in Kenya, and to train many graduate students from the three countries, who will benefit from mobility and exposure to a wide variety of ideas and perspectives by working with these top scientists.
The genesis of the project is a collaborative effort to pilot a first set of trilateral partnerships between Canada, South Africa, and another country in sub-Saharan Africa, building on existing research chairs in Canada and South Africa, and supporting the role of South Africa to contribute to world-class research on the continent. The modalities were co-developed by IDRC and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.