UFH Postdoctoral Fellow Wins UKZN’s Best Chemistry PhD Award from MIKTEK Scientific

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Dr Nicholas Rono, a postdoctoral fellow at the Fort Hare Institute of Technology (FHIT), has been honoured with the prestigious MIKTEK Scientific Award for the Best Chemistry PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). This accolade recognizes his remarkable doctoral thesis, titled "Investigating Graphitic Carbon Nitride-Based Materials and Selected Metal-Based Semiconductors in Organic Solar Cells, alongside a Computational Analysis of Perovskite Solar Cells."
 
Dr. Rono’s cutting-edge PhD research was supervised by Profs Vincent Nyamori and Bice Martincigh of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, along with Prof. Joshua Kibet of Egerton University, Kenya. Additionally, he received one year of PhD training under Prof. Abdelkarim Merad of the University of Tlemcen, Algeria, after winning an exchange program scholarship through the ACADEMY project.
 
Dr. Rono holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a Master of Science in Chemistry (Physical and Computational) and Bachelor of Education Science (Physics and Chemistry) degrees from Egerton University, Kenya. During his master’s studies, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence Performance and appeared in the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s list of honor on the June 2016 graduation from Egerton University.
 
Motivated by the captivating solar energy research at the UFH Institute of Technology, Dr Rono applied for a postdoctoral position at UFH and was welcomed into the Institute’s vibrant research community.
 
Under the guidance of Professor Edson L. Meyer, the Director of FHIT, Dr. Rono works on developing high-performance lead-free perovskite solar cells for solar harvesting applications. Additionally, he mentors research postgraduate students from the FHIT and Chemistry Departments at UFH, aiming to advance solar energy research for a sustainable future.
 
His project addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 7: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all,” contributing to alleviating global challenges related to energy supply and consumption.
 
As a forward-thinking researcher, Dr. Rono has published over 18 research papers and serves as a reviewer for reputable journals such as Materials Communication Today, BMC Chemistry, and Progress in Chemical and Biochemical Research. He has presented his research at over six local and international conferences and is an active member of the South African Chemical Society (SACI) and the Kenya Chemical Society (KCS).
 
Dr. Rono expresses sincere gratitude to his PhD supervisors, the staff at the NanoChemistry Lab (UKZN), Theoretical Physics lab (Tlemcen), MIKTEK Scientific for the award, as well as the FHIT team, GMRDC, UFH, UKZN, and his collaborators for their constant support. He also thanks his family, friends, and everyone else who supported him along his academic journey.