Meet WCAIR Trainee Ben Harley

To celebrate Ghana Independence Day  (March 6th) we are featuring WCAIR Trainee Ben Harley. Ben joined us in August 2018 and is spending a year at WCAIR developing his skills in medicinal chemistry. Initially supervised by WCAIR trainer Lauren Webster, Ben is now embedded in the Tuberculosis (TB) drug discovery team contributing to the synthesis of compounds which may one day become new medicines.

From Takoradi, Western Region, Ben said, “I’m here in Dundee to learn everything I can about drug discovery and this is giving me experience that I could not get at home in Ghana.

“The laboratories here are amazing. Even labs in London cannot compare to what is here at the University of Dundee. There are many limitations when conducting research in Ghana, but here in Dundee we have all of the equipment and the skills that are needed to help us work effectively.”

Recruited through the British Council’s IAESTE scheme, Ben had only recently finished his PhD at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology when he arrived in Scotland in August. Having previously studied in London, he said that the city of Dundee, as well as the modern university campus, had encouraged him to continue his education in Scotland. The University has a large number of students from Africa, and recently launched a dedicated Ghanaian Society, allowing students to socialise and keep up with trends back home.

“The people of Dundee are very welcoming and the city has a very nice feel about it,” Ben said.
“It’s not as busy as London, but there are plenty of good shops and you can also get to the countryside very easily. I am a fan of the show Outlander, so before I return home I want to visit some of the places where it is filmed.

“ I never feel isolated here and I’m working alongside other African people, which has been really nice for me. I worship at the Methodist Church and they are a lovely group of people. The first Sunday that I went to church I was made to feel very welcome and they have already invited me to join their choir.

“I’m so happy to be here. It is wonderful to learn more about science here at the University of Dundee, but it is also important to me to learn more about the world and see new places. Science and technology is key to Ghana’s development, and the experience that I am having here will help me in my work when I return home.”

Read more about the WCAIR Training programme