Second international academic adventure awaits Engineering alumnus

A second international academic adventure awaits Bovinille Anye Cho in September 2019. Bovinille, who hails from Cameroon, obtained his MEng in Chemical Engineering cum laude in December 2018 at Stellenbosch University and is now ready to tackle his PhD studies at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

This bright student completed his undergraduate engineering studies at the Catholic University Institute of Buea in Cameroon and came to Stellenbosch for his master’s degree on a prestigiously awarded Mandela Rhodes Scholarship (among the only five Cameroonians to have been awarded since its establishment in 2005). The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship programme is a combination of financial support for postgraduate studies and a high-quality leadership development programme, with the intention of building exceptional leadership capacity in Africa.

Bovinille says: “This prestigious bursary allows you to study for an honours or master’s degree at a South African university and I applied to the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Mieke de Jager, postgraduate and research admin manager in the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch, replied to my email query within five minutes and supplied a list of potential supervisors. Her quick response impressed me greatly and was the main reason why I came to Stellenbosch.

“The topic of my master’s thesis was: The development and characterization of a thermosiphon photobioreactor for the cultivation of photosynthetic bacteria. Under the supervision of Dr Robbie Pott, this MEng work yielded an internationally recognised publication in the Chemical Engineering Journal – Elsevier (6.735 Impact Factor) titled “The development of a thermosiphon photobioreactor and analysis using Computational Fluid Dynamics”. After completing my master’s, I worked as a research assistant in the Department of Process Engineering from January this year until mid-July.

He continues: “The external examiner for my master’s thesis, Dr Dongda Zhang from the University of Manchester (UoM), was impressed by my work and gladly accepted to supervise my PhD at UoM in collaborations with international leading groups in South Africa (Stellenbosch University – Dr Robbie Pott), United Kingdom (Imperial College – Dr Antonio del Rio-Chanona) and China (Xiamen University – Prof Keju Jing). I have always wanted to study in the United Kingdom and applied for, and received a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship, funded by the UK Department for International Development. These scholarships are for low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries for a full-time PhD studies at a UK university.

“To come into consideration for such a scholarship, you have to be academically outstanding in terms of your grades, have a publication record, have the ability to develop solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have a track record of leadership, and lastly, have shown a willingness to participate in volunteering activities without being paid.”

Regarding his second international academic adventure in three years, Bovinille exclaims: “I am very excited about studying at the University of Manchester and look forward to my time there. My ultimate goal is to return to my country, Cameroon, and to apply my knowledge there.”


High-value products and biofuel production from photosynthetic microorganisms is a promising research field. A team in the Department of Process Engineering under the supervision of Dr Robbie Pott have been involved in the design, manufacturing and testing of an Outdoor Bubble Column Photobioreactor. At the bioreactor, manufactured in the Process Engineering Workshop, are from the left Hester Stofberg (final year), Bovinille Anye Cho (2018 MEng cum laude graduate), Fred Spackman (visiting researcher from the University of East Anglia, UK) and Jos Weerdenburg (Chief Mechanician).