Two Nigerians, Promise Frank Ejiofor and Paula-Peace James-Okoro have won the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue their PhD programmes in October.
The scholarship programme is the most sought after at the University of Cambridge by international postgraduate students.
James-Okoro, who bagged a degree in Biochemistry from Covenant University, Ogun State, will study the mechanisms by which gut hormones control body weight and blood sugar levels. Her dream is to develop treatments that modulate gut hormones to tackle obesity.
She did research internships at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in 2017 and 2019.
Speaking with The Guardian, she said: “I hope to contribute to the development of biomedical infrastructure that can alleviate the burden of metabolic diseases in Africa.”
Ejiofor, who studied philosophy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, has been on an intellectual journey over the last few years, starting with philosophy and moving through international relations, politics and anthropology before arriving at development studies.
His desire to explore ideas that will have a concrete impact on people in Africa has been an underlying motivator.
For his doctoral programme, Ejiofor will study accountability and corruption in Nigeria’s informal economy.
He said: “As a man of ideas, I strongly believe that education and research are conducive to social, moral and political revolutions. I am confident that my research will inform policy interventions given the functional holes in Nigeria’s labile taxation system.”
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