Inside track on the Royce Intern Experience

Royce Summer Intern Interview: Jerry Mintah

Jerry Mintah, who hails from Ghana, is part way through his journey at the University of Bristol, towards an integrated Master’s degree in Chemistry with a focus on Materials Science. He is dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of materials and their applications and is a rising star in the research field of porous functional nanomaterials used to convert CO2 into useful fuels. Jerry is also a strong advocate for helping younger generations of scientists, through his roles both as a peer mentor and BME success advocate.

In this interview recording, Dr George Miller, Royce Student Engagement Manager, talks to Jerry about his experience of working with the Faul Research Group  alongside his Mentor, PhD candidate Basiram Brahma Narzary, and Supervisor, Professor Charl F. J. Faul, to complete an eight week Royce Summer Internship.

Jerry’s experience was centred around a fascinating project Porous polyimide networks for CO2 capture and conversion, the results of which have the potential to significantly contribute to industrial de-carbonisation, and in turn combat the urgent climate crisis brought about by global warming.

The materials produced during the project have a unique structure that means it can absorb CO2. Equally exciting is that the CO2 captured can be turned into valuable chemicals by the same materials for industrial use and into useful fuels. Optimising the catalytic activity required was a particular challenge says Jerry – but through intense working with research colleagues this was overcome.

The exciting results spoke for themselves and Jerry presented the team’s findings at the Royce Summer Internship Conference, where he won a prize for his presentation – and just over a year  later, the research was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Materials Chemical Frontiers Bifunctional metal-free porous polyimide networks for CO2 capture and conversion receiving much positive feedback from the scientific community. This study was highlighted on the inside front cover of the journal, and is published open access and freely available to download.

The whole experience has sharpened Jerry’s resolve to establish a research career in materials chemistry, synthesizing and characterising new materials that have the potential to be truly game-changing. Jerry says it has also deepened his understanding of Materials Science and Environmental Engineering – and is now looking forward to pursuing a PhD in a field related to Materials Science.

Jerry’s Mentor, whose group Jerry was a part of during the scheme, Professor Charl Faul said:

“This scheme gives fantastic internship opportunities for Undergraduate Students to participate in research, gain experience, contribute to research outputs, and, importantly, it provides them with an opportunity to make informed decisions about their future career paths

“It’s a fantastic scheme, and the benefits for undergraduate students such as Jerry, as the next generation of scientists, are immense.”