There are 575 chemistry professors in the United Kingdom, but Robert Mokoya is unique: he's the only black chemistry professor.
An investigation conducted by Royal Society of Chemistry has unveiled the still pervasive issue of normalized racism among scientists in the UK. A case in point: in the 15 years he’s been a professor at Nottingham University, Mokoya has had all his funding applications for research projects rejected by the UK Research and Innovation Agency, Britain’s main chemistry funding body.
It did not escape Mokoya’s notice that his predicament is atypical compared to his peers. He had research papers published, which should have enabled him to obtain funding for follow-up research. Such was not the case. And he suspected it might be due to his surname.
Mokoya’s situation mirrors the RSC’s findings. Racism is still hard to challenge in their field of work and marginalization has become normalized in universities and industries.
Just as it is in wider society, the science community in the UK still needs to do better when it comes to inclusivity.
Image: Andrew Marlow Hallsworth