Second group of 29 young climate researchers selected

Twenty-nine early career scientists from 24 African universities and research institutes have been awarded fellowships to study the impacts of climate change on the continent, under the CIRCLE – Climate Impacts Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement – initiative.

The new fellows are the second group to receive the up to 100 fellowships – 60 for PhDs and 40 for masters degrees – to be awarded to strengthen institutional research and develop the skills of young African researchers in the field of climate change and its local impacts on development.

CIRCLE is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development with £4.5 million (US$6.5 million) in funding over five years. The African Academy of Sciences and the Association of Commonwealth Universities in the UK are jointly managing and implementing the initiative.

The fellows spend a year at a university other than their own, researching the impacts of climate change in five main thematic areas – agriculture, water, health and livelihoods, energy and policy.

An induction workshop for the new fellows is running from 8-16 February as part of a series at the African Academy of Sciences secretariat in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. The first group of 34 CIRCLE fellows participated in a completion workshop from 8-10 February.

The fellows

There were more than 150 applications for the first batch of fellowships, with 34 researchers from nine African countries finally selected.

Fellows are expected to have innovative research proposals that build on the latest international research and provide new insights and solutions to local climate-related developments and challenges.

According to the African Academy of Sciences, by the end of last year the first cohort had produced 30 publications from CIRCLE-funded research, comprising research articles in peer reviewed journals, review articles, blog posts, conference proceedings and book chapters.

The programme also enabled CIRCLE visiting fellows to produce 14 publications that were not from CIRCLE-funded research results.

Dr Benjamin Gyampoh, CIRCLE programme manager at the African Academy of Sciences, said that, of the 63 fellowships awarded to date, 52% of the fellows were male and 48% female.

He said a scientific proposal development workshop was held this month to train early career female scientists on how to apply for CIRCLE visiting fellowships.

“This is being done to ensure that we have a 50-50 ratio of male and female CIRCLE visiting fellows by the close of awarding 100 fellowships,” Gyampoh said.