Dr. Ezekiel Njeru Mugendi of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology is among the first cohort of awardees under the Future Leaders –African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship that seeks to support early career researchers to build their career and become leaders in their respective fields. The fellowship award of GBP 300,000 will support Dr. Njerui’s project titled “Using root-associated microorganisms to enhance sustainable crop production and resilience of smallholder agroecosystems to climate change.”

The projectaims to identify and promote the use of beneficial root-associated microorganisms as an alternate low-cost fertilizer to enhance crop production, yield quality and stress tolerance among small scale farmers in semi-arid areas. Although many root-associated microorganisms are of high ecological importance, little is known about their biodiversity and utilization in smallholder farms. Dr. Njeru will map the biodiversity patterns of the native root-associated microorganisms in Embu, Kitui and Tharaka Nithi Counties of Kenya and effective native isolates that promote sustainable food production and are resilient to climate change drivers will be promoted for adoption and uptake among the small scale farmers. Read more