Ghanaian female Associate Professor wins international award

An Associate Professor at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa in the Western Region, Prof. Grace Ofori-Sarpong is one of the proud recipients of the 2017 Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early Career Women Scientists in the developing world.

Prof. Ofori-Sarpong is the winner of the award for sub-Saharan Africa and one of five women recipients of the award worldwide for her work on fungi-mediated gold extraction (Mycohydrometallurgy), recovery of precious metals, acid mine drainage mapping and safe practices in artisanal  and small-scale gold  mining.

She and the other award winners participated in the 2017 American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where they were presented with the awards on February 18, 2017.

The award, that comes with a memento and certificate, is for her outstanding research in engineering,innovation and technology and for serving as an inspiring role model for future generations of women science leaders.

Women in science, engineering

A release from the UMaT, signed by Mr Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Assistant Registrar and Head of the university’s relations office and made available to the Daily Graphic in Takoradi last Monday indicated that Prof. Ofori-Sarpong, who is an Associate Professor of Minerals Engineering at the UMaT, was also recognised for her strong involvement on the issues of women in science and engineering.

She is the first female to rise through the academic ranks to the position of associate professor in the field of Mining /Metallurgical /Materials Engineering in Ghana.

“By dint of hard work and creativity, she has utilised fungi in the extraction of gold (mycohydrometallurgy) and her research reported for the first time the use of fungi in the degradation of non-organic sulphide minerals”, the release mentioned.

Research interests 

According to the release, the associate professor’s research interests included mycohydrometallurgy, environmental biotechnology, recovery of precious minerals,  microwave processing  of ores, water quality monitoring and small-scale gold mining/processing.

Prof. Ofori-Sarpong, who has over 45 technical papers to her credit, and other unpublished reports, has held several positions at the UMaT and currently she is the Head of Department of Petroleum Engineering  and the Vice Dean of the Planning and Quality Assurance Unit.

The award winner, who is making an impact in the predominantly male-dominated minerals and mining engineering field in Ghana and also in the West African sub-Region, also served as visiting professor in other universities in Ghana and Africa.

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