Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO)of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Prof. Danbatta obtained his BEng, MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) UK respectively. He served as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology of Bayero University Kano for 32 years, where he taught courses in telecommunications engineering and electronics and held academic positions of Dean of the Faculty and Head of Department at different times. He at various times held the following responsibilities:

  • Deputy and Acting Dean of Students’ Affairs
  • Administrator of the Works Department
  • Director of the Centre for Information Technology (CIT).
  • Member of over 60 University committees and task forces, including numerous stints as Chairman.
  • Served on over 20 committees, prominent among which was his Chairmanship of the Implementation Committee of Kano State University of Science & Technology, after which he became its pioneer Deputy and Acting Vice-Chancellor when it took off in 2001.

Prof. Danbatta has supervised more than 60 PhD, MEng and BEng projects in diverse areas of telecommunications and has also served as external  examiner  to  seven universities  and  polytechnics  and  is  an  assessor,  technical  reviewer and editorial member to eight research journals. He has to his credit more than 60 articles in journals, conference proceedings and technical reports. He is also the author of a six-chapter, 167-page book titled Elements of Static Engineering Electromagnetics.

He is a recipient of 18 distinguished awards and certificates of honour.

Prof. Danbatta has served two terms of five years as a Member of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and is a COREN registered engineer and Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE). He is also a Fellow of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (FRAES). Danbatta who received an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Science (D.Sc.) from the University of Jos, Nigeria is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta is an embodiment of Excellence, an epitome of humility and a leader per excellence. He is happily married with children.

Prof. Wole Soboyejo


Wole Soboyejo

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Worcester, MA 01609, USA


This talk presents some new frontiers for applied science and engineering, with a focus on problem solving and development.  Following a brief introduction to the interdisciplinary approach that is used to address African/Global Grand Challenges in health, energy and the environment, the talk is divided into three parts.  In the first part of the talk with a focus on health, we explore the development of nanotechnology, targeted drugs/drug delivery systems, and medical robotics for the detection and treatment of triple negative breast cancer and COVID-19.  This is followed by the second part of the talk in which we present pressure-assisted fabrication methods the development of the next generation of low-cost perovskite solar cells with photoconversion efficiencies of about 23.5% (close to the world record for perovskite solar cells).  The high efficiencies of these solar cells are explained by considering the combined effects of charge transport across layers and interfaces in these devices.  The implications of the results are then discussed for the development of the next generation of solar cells, light emitting devices and batteries.  Finally, in the third part of the talk, we present opportunities for the development of thermo-structural materials with applications in sustainable buildings, transportation and water purification.  The implications of the results are then discussed for the development of sustainable solutions to African/Global Grand Challenges in Health, Energy and the Environment.


Wole Soboyejo received his BSc degree in mechanical engineering from King’s College London in 1985.  He then went on to receive a PhD in materials science from Cambridge University in 1988.  After four years of working at the McDonnell Douglas Research Labs (1988-1992) and the Edison Welding Institute (1992), Soboyejo joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University, where he was an Assistant Professor between 1992 and 1996, and an Associate Professor between 1996 and 1999.  From 1997 to 1998, Soboyejo spent a sabbatical year as a Visiting Martin Luther King Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.  His early work at McDonnell Douglas, The Ohio State University and MIT focused mostly on the development of novel and robust aerospace materials.  He also developed fracture mechanics models for the prediction of failure due to fatigue and fracture.  In 1999, Soboyejo moved to Princeton University as a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a Professor of Materials in the Princeton Institute of Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM). At Princeton, he broadened the scope of his work to include the development of biomedical devices (dental implants, cardiovascular stents, and nanotechnology for cancer detection and treatment); novel processes for the fabrication of Light Emitting Devices and solar cells, and mechanics and materials models for the design of robust Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) structures/thin films, porous/cellular materials, ceramic water filters and sustainable building materials.  In 2011, he was appointed as Vice President for Academics, Research and Innovation at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Abuja, Nigeria.  In this role, he introduced interdisciplinary programs in science, technology and innovation.  Subsequently, he served as President and Provost of AUST between 2012 and 2014.  During this period, he developed the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI), which was one of the African Centers of Excellence that was funded by the World Bank.  Soboyejo returned to Princeton as a Professor between 2014 and 2016.  He then moved to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) as the Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering (2016-2018).  As Dean of Engineering, Soboyejo introduced interdisciplinary communities in Materials and Manufacturing, Bio-X and the Smart World.  Since September of 2018, he has served as Senior Vice President and Provost at WPI.  He has also helped to establish the Global School at WPI.  Soboyejo is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, and a Fellow of the African Academy of Science.