Professor (Mrs.) Ibok Oduro is a Professor of Postharvest Technology at the Department of Food Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.
She had her BSc. (1985) and MSc. (1987) degrees in Chemistry at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. Upon graduating, she worked as a Research Assistant at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria from 1988 to 1991. At IITA she worked with breeders /geneticists in characterization of cassava germplasm based on isozyme analysis using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis techniques. Also provided technical and administrative support for the organization of the Annual Root and Tuber Crop Collaborators’ Meeting where achievements and new developments in research-for-development on Root and Tuber crops were shared towards strengthening collaboration among research partners. Her research experience at IITA-Nigeria and Forestry Research Institute of Ghana led to her career goal of improving food and nutrition security.
She later obtained her Doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Postharvest Technology at the University of Cranfield, UK (1996), with British Chevening Scholarship (1993-1995) support. Prof. Oduro has also participated in several professional workshops and trainings. These include: Executive Programme in Entrepreneurial University Transformation at Maastricht University, Netherlands; AWARD Women’s Leadership and Management Course in Nairobi, Kenya and Novartis Scientific Exchange Fellowship Program by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and Seeding Labs, USA. She is a recipient of Seeding Labs Instrumental Access Transfer Grant (2013).
Prof. I. Oduro has over 20 years of practical and theoretical experience in food processing, postharvest management, value addition, product development, and sensory analysis. She has been lecturing in the Departments of Food Science & Technology as well as Biochemistry & Biotechnology, KNUST since June 1996. She has supervised over 120 undergraduate students and 60 postgraduate students/theses. She has over 100 publications and 6 book chapters to her credit.
Prof. Oduro is the Former First Female Provost of the College of Science, KNUST, and also the first female Provost in the University. She has served as Dean for the Faculty of Bioscience (2015 – 2016), Vice Dean for Faculty of Biosciences (2008-2010), the Head of Department for Food Science & Technology (2014-2016) and Biochemistry & Biotechnology (2007-2009, 2010-2014). She also served as the Vice Dean for International Student Affairs (2002-2004) and Vice Dean of Students (2004-2006). She was the Hall Warden of Hall Seven now Chancellor’s Hall (GUSSS Hotel) March 2006 – September 2007. She serves on several educational and government institutions. She is an Imminent Council Member of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana. Prof Oduro is a remarkable leader and scholar recognized both locally and internationally. She is a member of the International Leadership Foundation (ILF), the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OSWD), the African Scientific Institute (ASI), and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEMGH). Prof. I. Oduro serves as an Editor of the Journal of Science and Technology, (JUST) and a reviewer for several journals in the field of her expertise. She is also an External Assessor for several Universities/Institutions Nationally and Internationally.
She is dedicated to promoting indigenous and underutilized food crops in West Africa and her work aims at converting scientific findings into practical solutions. Her interest has not only been the development of competitive products but also empowering her students to commercialize research outputs.
She has authored and co-authored a plethora of published scientific research papers which have included studying the feasibility and development of novel food products with practical applications for the food industry. Over the course of her career, Prof Oduro has contributed through her research and education to the development and establishment of several SMEs in Ghana. These include former SMEGA winners; QUAMA Food Processing Co. Ltd (Overall Best SME in Ghana, 2016; Best Food Processing SME, 2015 and 2016) and Sweetpot yogurt (Winner of rising star category, SMEGA 2017). As part of a community development agenda, Prof Oduro supported a student-generated idea to upgrade a small-scale gari processing business and improve the quality of their product. She recognizes the potential of young people to grow the business sector in Ghana and continues to assist in mentoring and nurturing young professionals to take up entrepreneurial roles. As such, she is a strong advocate for problem-based learning, student-centered pedagogies, and entrepreneurship.
She is also passionate about values-based leadership development and works with different leaders to effect transformation. Currently, she is the chairperson for the Board of International Leadership Foundation (ILF) Ghana, and a faciltator for Executive Diploma in Leadership (EDL) program for Southern and Eastern Africa, pilot by International Leadership University, Ghana. In addition to her teaching and research duties, she doubles as a counsellor and mentor for her colleagues, women, and the youth, imparting astute moral principles, and currently a Food System Research Network for Africa (FSNet, Africa) Mentor supporting early career scientists.