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Centres of Excellence

Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology (CoE-MEN)

The ARUA Centre of Excellence in Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology (CoE-MEN) is hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand, and also includes the Universities of Pretoria, Nairobi and Ghana.  The proposed research is on the development of materials and new technologies to benefit Africa.

There will be a range of research focusses, from fundamental to prototype devices, which should identify and develop new opportunities in an African context, e.g. minerals beneficiation, advanced manufacturing, off-grid energy technologies, housing and materials recycling.The ARUA CoE-MEN will become a hub for materials science and engineering in Africa, as well as the ideal environment in which to build research capacity and human capacity for Africa. The new ARUA CoE is positioning itself to be a centre for training African students and academics and to undertake relevant and innovative research, which will help to solve some of Africa’s problems.  Taking the African response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into account (, ARUA Nan-Mat will be contributing to Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being with projects that are aimed at improving medical implants, as well as to Goal 4, Quality Education, because one major focus of the CoE is to improve education, and to prepare better-equipped graduates.  The Centre will also help with Goal 5, Gender Equality and Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities by closing gender and income gaps and being open to everyone interested in seeking a successful career in materials science.

It is supposed to act as a hub for small to medium size enterprises, which are so crucial in stabilizing the economy in many African countries.  In the long run the project should then make major contributions to Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth; Goal 7, Affordable and clean energy; Goal 9, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, as well as and Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.  The CoE will seek to develop technologies in a local African context, and aim at robust, sustainable and affordable technologies to promote Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production.   Of course several different expertises are needed  to run the various projects, and this is where Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals comes into play. Once different products have been developed (e.g. alloys, processing routes…), then more partnerships (many already identified) will be needed for the production and testing, and this could help to build partnerships with small businesses and industrial partners.


DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, South Africa, 2050

The Director of the ARUA CoE-MEN is Prof. Lesley Cornish, the Deputy Directors are Prof. Alex Quandt, Prof Claudia Polese, Prof Nosipho Moloto, and the Administrator is Mrs Marina Labuschagne.  Contact:

Prof. Nosipho Moloto
Professor of Materials Science and Inorganic Chemistry 
+27 (0)11 717 6774

CoE-MEN Research News

Wits African research excellence in materials, migration

Prof. Lesley Cornish, director of the ARUA CoE MEN said, “We submitted one proposal on 30 April 30th and there is another to complete by the end of July. But we went to a N8-ARUA  Workshop in Ghana in May,” says Prof. Lesley Cornish, director of the ARUA CoE MEN, who , and then next week, I will be going to an ACUNS [Academic Council on the United Nations System] Workshop in Stellenbosch in SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals].”

CoE-MEN Events

In conjunction with The African Materials Research Society, African Research Universities Alliance’ Centre of Excellence – Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology invites you to send an abstract of up to 300 words for their online Mini Conference taking place online Mini on Zoom at 09:00 am, on the 17th May 2023 (All times are in GMT +2 or South African Time Zone) under the Theme: “ENERGY SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICA”.

The conference is targeted at all scientists and researchers interested in materials, energy and nanotechnology, and will give you a chance to present your work online, and possibly help to obtain interest and some collaborations. The purpose of this virtual conference is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and advancements among researchers and students regarding the provision of sustainable energy to various regions in Africa.

For Abstract submissions, please click here. Upload your abstract on this link by 17 April 2023

To register for the Mini Conference proceedings,  click here (FREE REGISTRATION)

See the flyer for more details.

CoE-MEN Videos

To help early career researchers in the ARUA CoE-MEN (and other early career researchers anywhere), a series of videos have been made available on different research techniques and other skills necessary for researchers, such as improving writing skills, presentations, and writing research proposals. Here “early career researcher” is a wide definition, starting with students who are undertaking research and continuing to when they are employed as researchers, scientists and engineers. More videos will be added as they are made.