World-leading chemist elected Fellow of Royal Society

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

A world-leading chemist from the University of Nottingham has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences and the oldest science academy in continuous existence.

Robert Mokaya, Professor of Materials Chemistry and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement has been announced as one of the latest cohort of Fellows of the Royal Society.

The fellowship recognises his contributions in the field of sustainable energy materials and his work to improve African chemists’ access to, and the impact of, chemical knowledge in countries across the continent.

Professor Mokaya is the only Black Professor of Chemistry in the country and is a role model and mentor especially to Black academics and students in the UK. His research in the area of porous carbons as sustainable energy materials and on mesoporous materials and has been pivotal in developing chemistry in Africa and in the BAME community in the UK.

He has made important contributions to both the synthesis and application of sustainable energy materials, concentrating not only on developing the fundamental science but also addressing economic and other practical constraints. His developments have made strong contributions to a wide range of activities, including adsorption technologies, catalysts and gas storage materials.

I’m delighted and honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and very grateful to the excellent students and postdocs that I have had over the years and to my collaborators and mentors. I thank my wife and children for their love and support, and my parents and siblings from whom much of my inspiration has come. I am also grateful to those who have supported my work at the School of Chemistry and across the University, which has provided me with an enabling environment for scientific inquiry.
Professor Mokaya, University of Nottingham

This year sees 59 Fellows, 19 Foreign Members and two Honorary Fellows elected, reflecting changes introduced in 2023 which increased the maximum number who can be elected. This will help create a broader and more engaged Fellowship and support the Society’s mission of championing excellence in research and science for the benefit of humanity.

The Fellows and Foreign Members join the ranks of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Lise Meitner, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Dorothy Hodgkin.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “I am delighted to welcome our newest cohort of Fellows.

“These individuals have pushed forward the boundaries of their respective fields and had a beneficial influence on the world beyond.

“Among this year’s intake are individuals who were at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic response, and those working on global challenges, from TB to climate change. They are pioneering scientists and innovators from around the world who have confounded expectations and transformed our thinking.

“This year’s intake have already achieved incredible things, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so. I look forward to meeting them and following their contributions in future.”

Congratulations to Robert on joining the ranks of outstanding scientists as a Royal Society Fellow. Robert is a pioneer in his field dedicated not only to scientific research, but also to supporting greater equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education. He is a role model for colleagues and students alike and we’re delighted his achievements have been recognised.
Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham

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About the University of Nottingham

Ranked in the Top 100 globally and 17th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

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The University is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

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