David Chukwuma Izuogu

David Chukwuma Izuogu came to Cambridge in October 2017 as a member of the third cohort of Cambridge-Africa Scholars. He is studying for a PhD in computational chemistry at Wolfson College, jointly funded by the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Trust and the Islamic Development Bank.

David’s journey has been a long one, with a diversion via Hokkaido, Japan. It started with support from his late aunt, Mrs Ngozi Izuogu, who helped fund his first year of studies in Pure and Industrial Chemistry at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

He then took it upon himself to fund his studies by selling solution manuals to fellow chemistry undergraduates at UNN. Despite the efforts required to generate these funds, he still managed to come out top of the class.

A major turning point in David’s life came when he won a JASSO Scholarship, funded by the Japanese government, for an exchange programme at Hokkaido University  As David explains:

“This incident changed my entire life, inspired me to think beyond the present, gave me control of what I have become today, and I am grateful I had such an opportunity.”

As a consequence, he was able to study for a Master’s degree with another scholarship, MEXT, funded by the government of Japan.

“Looking back to how I started, and where I am today as a Cambridge Trust Scholar, I can only imagine what I would have become without funding at different stages of my academic journey. As a way of giving back to the community for this help, and the funding I have received, I am motivated to be a bridge for others to reach their aspirations as well as motivation for those who wouldn’t imagine daring to test those high limits. I am now pursuing this dream through my Foundation: Africa of Our Dream Initiative.

“The Foundation’s Vision and Mission are to build a new Africa where individuals will thrive and have access to the necessary things of life by promoting, supporting and investing in health, education and opportunities as well as human capital development for sustained prosperity,” David explains.

“At Cambridge, I am using computational techniques to investigate materials that hold promise for the future of technology – quantum computing. 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.”

Last September, David and his Foundation team travelled to Nigeria on an Outreach Programme and visited three universities: University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Covenant University, Ota; and Redeemer’s University, Ede. Through a series of meetings, presentations and radio broadcasts, they reached 1200 students and 1500 members of staff across these institutions. Over 98% of the students participating in the outreach events said that they would not have considered applying to Cambridge but would now do so.