A 2009 AWARD Fellow and a three-time Mentor, Bolanle otegbayo, from Nigeria has been promoted to the rank of professor at Bowen University, Nigeria. Professor Otegbayo is a food scientist and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Food Science and Technology at Bowen University in Nigeria. She holds an MSc and a PhD in Food Technology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Her research interest involves investigating the food quality and industrial potential of Nigerian yams to contribute to the expansion and diversification of their use.
The flagship AWARD Fellowship was established to widen the pipeline of agricultural women researchers in leadership. Empirical evidence reveals that women continue to be under-represented in leadership positions in the agricultural research and development sectors.
Women account for only 24 percent of Africa’s agricultural researchers, and in African universities, it is recorded that women represent a mere 6 percent of professors. Africa needs more of such interventions as the promotion of professor Otegbayo, for the continent to exploit all its resources toward the much-needed agricultural-driven development.
Professor Otegbayo was the first AWARD Fellow to be hosted by the Agropolis Fondation for an Advance Science Training (AST) placement at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and The Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), where she worked on the physicochemical, functional and molecular characterization of yam starch for potential commercial uses. AST is a highly competitive program within the flagship AWARD Fellowship offered to the post-masters and post-doctoral AWARD Fellows. The Fellows are selected to participate in research attachments in renowned agricultural research institutions to improve their science skills, increase their network and visibility and pursue transformative research collaborations and partnerships for themselves and their institutions.
In 2015, Professor Otegbayo received the prestigious Programme for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders’ (PEARL II) grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She won the grant following the submission of her project that sought to identify the fundamental food qualities in the yam tubers to develop varieties with superior and preferred food quality attributes that suit the preferences of the Nigerian smallholder farmers, processors and consumers.
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