We are delighted to announce that David Izuogu has been Highly Commended for a Vice Chancellor's Social Impact Award. These awards, launched this year by student-led Cambridge Hub, recognise the achievement of outstanding students of the University of Cambridge who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving society and the wider world.
From 55 nominations, David was Highly Commended for his work concerning education and access.
Alongside his PhD in Chemistry and his work as WCSA Co-President at Wolfson, David has headed and piloted the first ever Graduate Buddy programme to help new post graduate students settle into Cambridge in his role as the International Officer of the Graduate Union. He has campaigned for graduate rights and mental health provision, and worked with the Careers Service to increase its visibility to students.
David's PhD studies are jointly funded by Cambridge-Africa, Cambridge Trust and the Islamic Development Bank. As a way of giving back for the generous funding that enabled his studies, David founded the Africa of our Dream Initiative, a foundation aiming to provide access to quality education and Medicare in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as empowering women and young people.
With this initiative David has organised a Cambridge-Nigeria Outreach Programme in three different Nigerian universities, started a Science Festival and a Code your way out of poverty project, and forged research links between Cambridge and Africa. The outreach for Nigerian students focused on access to the University of Cambridge, covered the A-Z of the application processes and the various scholarship opportunities available at Cambridge each year for international students. David has even used his own savings to provide bursaries and pay application fees for talented Nigerian students to come to Cambridge.
Passionate about building research and development capacity in Nigeria, David says,
"At Cambridge, I am using computational techniques to investigate materials that hold promise for the future of technology – quantum computing. In many quarters, scholars from Africa who leave the country to study abroad are frustrated when going home to discover little or obsolete equipment to do state-of-the-art research. This has led to many not returning to contribute their quota to national development using whatever skills they have acquired while abroad. I decided to do my part for this problem of brain drain and frustrations faced by African researchers. I hope that the University of Cambridge can serve to train a critical mass of scholars who would act as catalysts of change and agents of scientific and technological advancement for sustained economic development in Africa."
David’s nominator said that "These initiatives are very important precisely because, for many African students, there is a myth constructed around Cambridge that makes the University unreachable to them." The judges were impressed with this outreach work, and noted his strong dedication and passion for the work. They also praised the steps he has taken to leave a sustainable legacy after his time in Cambridge.
The award was presented to David on 5 February at Emmanuel College by Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope.
Warm congratulations to David.