/ 31 January 2024

Academic honoured with international fellowship

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North-West University (NWU) academic Prof Olubukola Oluranti Babalola has been awarded an honorary fellowship by the International Science Council in Paris, France.

This fellowship is the highest accolade the ISC can bestow on an individual, and acknowledges their exceptional efforts in advancing science as a global public good.

The ISC is a non-governmental organisation with a unique global membership that brings together more than 245 international scientific unions and associations, including academies, research councils, federations and societies.

ISC fellows include eminent scientists, engineers and thought-leaders from the science-policy sphere who have made remarkable contributions to furthering understanding of and engagement with science.

The ISC lauded Prof Babalola for her outstanding commitment to fostering scientific understanding for the betterment of society.

Her influence extends from the corridors of academia to the field of sustainable agriculture, leaving an indelible mark on the pursuit of scientific excellence and global well-being.

About Prof Babalola

Prof Babalola is the director of the NWU’s Food Security and Safety research niche area and leads the Microbial Biotechnology subject group. Under her guidance, the group has produced 25 master’s and 35 PhD students, showcasing her commitment to nurturing the next generation of scientific leaders.

She is also the vice-president of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), which oversees operations spanning 46 African countries.

With a career boasting over 350 research outputs, Prof Babalola’s laboratory, aptly named the Babalola Lab, focuses on expanding the knowledge of rhizosphere microbiology. The lab’s research includes integrating beneficial microbiomes into agricultural production, enhancing plant growth, nutrient efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance (such as drought) and disease resistance. These efforts align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger, using food crops like maize and energy crops like soybeans and sunflower as model crops for their ground-breaking studies.