The highlights of the Chemistry Department for 2010 include; increased research capacity through high numbers of postgraduates (registered at Rhodes and those visiting from other Universities) and guest researchers, acquisition of state-of-the-art instrumentation, increase in collaborations with industry, recognition of staff by various bodies and Universities, enhanced participation in research collaboration and dissemination at national and international conferences as well as a steady stream of graduating postgraduate students.
Professor Tebello Nyokong continues to lead by example with at least 44 publications and a provisional patent. She also received Honorary Degrees from the Universities of South Africa and Walter Sisulu. Her year of several accolades was crowned by the Life Achievement Award (Education Category), received in Lesotho. Prof Nyokong also secured funding to purchase an X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) instrument worth R 7 million that will enhance the research capacity of the department in the area of surface chemistry for all the nanotechnology pursuits. In particular the recent focus in the area of electrospinning for sensors and sample handling by Profs Torto, Nyokong and Dr Tshentu will benefit significantly. 2010 also saw the emergence of a concerted marine biodiscovery research initiative driven by Prof Davies-Coleman. New collaborations with the Marine Biodiscovery Centre at the University of Aberdeen, a pharmaceutical screening facility at the University of Tromso in Norway and with natural products groups in Kenya were established. Prof Davies-Coleman and colleagues were able to secure a grant from the National Equipment Programme for a new R2.5 million gene sequencer to support marine biodiscovery. Within the department, Emeritus Prof Perry Kaye continues to mentor Drs Kevin Lobb and Roselyn Klein, and the productivity levels of 2010 are a true reflection of the progress made.
Postgraduate student enrolment doubled from the initial 33 in 2004 to 67 in 2010. Collaborations with international organizations and local companies such as the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and SASOL respectively, saw increased student and guest researcher support as well as acquisition of additional instrumentation. The department presented more than 50 papers at international conferences. It hosted several guest researchers and students from various countries but also had the opportunity to send its postgraduate students to Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay