African Physics Newsletter

Fundraising for the First Laboratory of Applied Physics in the Republic of the Congo

Congolese physicists launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to build a bigger and better equiped laboratory.

The Republic of the Congo is a sub-Saharan African country with a population of about 5 million. The country has only one public university, with one physics department dealing with theoretical work, mostly due to lack of experimental infrastructure.

Among all research groups, there is only one dealing with research from a basic to engineering level. The scientific research laboratory “Unité de Recherche en Nanomatériaux et Nanotechnologies (UR2N)” is investigating nanomaterials and their potential application in nanotechnology.

A femal physicist lecturer

UR2N was created in 2016 in the Republic of the Congo and is managed by Dr. Maryse D. Nkoua Ngavouka, the only female physicist lecturer in the country. Maryse got her Ph.D. in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience at the University of Trieste, Italy, in 2015.

After a postdoc position in Italy, she decided to return back home to the Republic of the Congo in order to share her knowledge and build up her own laboratory. Besides her research activity, she is currently a lecturer in Physics at the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, the only public university in the Congo Republic.

Theoretical and experimental

UR2N brings a different perspective to multidisciplinary research activities in the Congo Republic. It’s the first laboratory in the Congo Republic engaged in research from both theoretical and experimental points of view.

Its research interests are motivated by the locals needs of the Congolese communities. Currently, thanks to Maryse and her mentor Prof. Bernard M’Passi Mabiala, the UR2N has two main funds running the laboratory activities: the ACERA Royal Society Funds (2016-2021) and the OWSD Early Career Fellowship Funds (2018-2021). Those funds are added to the national funds allocated for research.

Many international collaborations

Since the creation of UR2N, we have tightened our national and international scientific collaborations with many institutes, such as the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Italy), the Case Western Reserve University (USA), the NanoInnovationLab (Italy), ENEA (Italy), CREEC (Uganda), University of Leeds (UK), DIT (Tanzania) and CEPAMOQ (Cameroon).

The multidisciplinary field of interest of the laboratory has broadened our human resources capacity (senior and junior researchers, PhD students and master’s students), leading to an urgent need to expand our workplace. After submitting this inquiry to our government, we have been given a new building together with 50% of the funds necessary for its renovation.

10% still missing

An additional 40% could also be raised from local donors and 10% is still missing to start this renovation project. We still have a lot of ground to cover.

That is where the fundraising comes into the picture and we hope it will help to reach the goal of €10,000 through donations at this link. Any amount would mean the world to the expansion laboratory project.

Everyone can help

All financial proceeds from this Money Pot fundraiser will help to support the expansion construction of the laboratory in order to give an adequate workplace for our scientists. The aim is to add the Money Pot funds to the available local support to provide a well-equipped laboratory with required norms and standards.

Please remember a small help from you through this project could enable a brilliant career in science for a young, talented Congolese. Please spread the word! We believe that everyone can help.

Maryse D. Nkoua Ngavouka, Lab manager UR2N and Lecturer in Physics, Marien Ngouabi University

This post has first been published in the African Physics Newsletter - © American Physical Society

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