Mané Seck, PhD in Physics is enthusiastic about science. Her new research is very topical: it focuses on the development and characterisation of nanomaterials based on gum arabic and almond, aiming to develop green electronics.
”When I became aware of the dangers of electronic waste containing toxic and non-recyclable substances, I decided to work in the field of green electronics in order to contribute to the development of electronic devices that are biodegradable and have no effect on human health and the environment,” Mané says about her motivation to work in the field of green electronics.
In 2022, she made an excellent performance at the international competition ”My thesis in 180 seconds” and won. When she first heard the results of this international competition in which 20 countries participated, she was feeling very proud and happy to see Senegal gaining international recognition. Even the president of Senegal received and rewarded her for this achievement. Winning the competition had a positive impact on Mané’s career, as it led to an invitation to the International Scientific Francophonie Week, held in October 2022 in Cairo, Egypt.
A Senegalese PhD wins international prize
Mané was born in Louga, northwest of Senegal. After having passed her bachelor’s degree, she was admitted to the University of Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis in Senegal in 2010. She studied there until her PhD. In 2017, Mané started a doctoral programme in applied physics, specialising in electronic materials and devices. Her thesis, which she defended in February 2022, aims to develop electronic devices using natural non-toxic and biodegradable materials to combat electronic waste that may contain toxic substances.
During her PhD studies, Mané did research stays in laboratories abroad. She was invited to the Laboratory of Physics of Materials and Nanomaterials Applied to the Environment at the Faculty of Science in Gabes, Tunisia, to the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester, UK, and to the Department of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal in Canada.
In 2020, she won the prize for the best oral presentation at the second West African conference on renewable energy in Senegal. Two years later, she represented her university at the national final of the ”My thesis in 180 seconds” competition and won the jury’s first prize and the public’s prize, which enabled her to represent Senegal at the international final of the competition in Montreal, Canada.
Lack of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
Despite experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) being sought after in future job markets, women make up less than a third of the workforce in these fields. When asked about Mané’s view on this, she says: “I just want to tell them [women] that besides being very important to society, there is nothing more beautiful than STEM. Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, go and embrace it, you’ll love it for sure.”
About the project
Mané Seck was spotted by the VaRRIWA – Valorising Research Results and Innovation in Western Africa project during her coaching session for participating in the final competition of My thesis in 180 seconds. Currently, she is one of the beneficiaries of the VaRRIWA project under the APEX initiative where she is developing an innovative solution for the production of a floatable feed that meets the nutritional needs of tilapia without impacting the aquatic ecosystem.
VaRRIWA project is implemented in the framework of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States’ (OACPS) Research and Innovation Programme, which is financed by the European Union. The OACPS Research and Innovation Programme focuses on strengthening research and innovation capacity in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and unlocking their innovation potential.