PRESS RELEASE –

AAS programme intensifies support for research tackling climate change

African researchers selected to study ways to combat climate research

Nairobi, Kenya, 8 February 2017–  The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) have selected 37 African researchers for the third cohort of a programme supporting early career researchers to conduct research and to generate knowledge to help the continent effectively tackle climate change.

The 37, who have been selected to be Visiting Fellows of the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) fellowship programme, are lecturers and researchers drawn from institutions in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania Uganda and Zimbabwe.

CIRCLE Visiting Fellows (CVFs) spend a year in another university or research organisation in Africa conducting research on the impact of climate change, under the supervision of a senior academic. The research focuses on one or more of five thematic areas - agriculture; energy; health and livelihoods; water; and policy.

“Most parts of Africa are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. It is important for the continent to research ways of reducing the impact if we are to effectively adapt. Developing the required skills base to generate the needed knowledge to inform decision making and actions is highly critical,” says Benjamin Gyampoh, CIRCLE Programme Manager. “CIRCLE is geared to training researchers to produce quality research to inform policy and contribute knowledge for countries and communities to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change.”

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress and yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50% in some countries as a result of climate change, according to the United Nation Environment Programme.

The 37 CVFs, who commenced their fellowship in January 2017, are converging in Nairobi, Kenya, at the AAS secretariat for an Induction Workshop from 8- 10 February.

Launched in 2014, CIRCLE has successfully supported Fellows to publish their research ensuring there is a growing body of knowledge the continent can use to develop climate change strategies and interventions. The programme has also achieved a 50:50 gender balance in the recruitment of Fellows, ensuring that female scientists have equal access to opportunities to grow their careers and contribute to developing the continent.

The 37 are exploring projects that range from how climate change will impact different genders, the aged, and the diet and food security of rural communities and how small scale farmers perceive and are adapting to climate change, among others.

By spending a year away from their institutions, CIRCLE provides the Fellows with an opportunity to focus on and publish their research, a time they would otherwise not have because of heavy teaching loads that come with being lecturers at African universities.

The fellowship period helps the researchers to also develop research ideas, network with their peers on the continent and experience research systems and cultures in other institutions and countries which are all very important in developing their careers both as teachers and researchers.

 “I am thrilled to be selected as a CIRCLE Visiting Fellow and am looking forward to maximising this opportunity to undertake research that will help the continent and its people to be better able to adapt to the global environmental changes and improve their livelihoods,” said Mavis Akuffobea of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Ghana, who is undertaking her one-year CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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About CIRCLE

The African Academy of Sciences’ AESA and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) are implementing CIRCLE, which is providing a total of 100 scholarships to 40 postmasters and 60 postdoctoral researchers in Africa in three cohorts to study the impact of climate change over a period of five years. CIRCLE is a programme to develop the skills and research results for early career African researchers in the field of climate ch​ange.

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About the African Academy of Sciences

THE AAS is a pan African organisation headquartered in Kenya, which aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.

It has a tripartite mandate of pursuing excellence by recognising scholars and achievers; providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies; and implementing key science, technology and innovation programmes. Its programmes are implemented through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), an initiative of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency. AESA is an agenda setting and funding platform established to address Africa’s health and development challenges. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, AESA focuses on people, places, and programmes in Africa to accelerate world-class research, foster innovation and promote scientific leadership.

About the Association of Commonwealth Universities

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is the world's first and oldest international university network, established in 1913.

A UK-registered charity, the ACU has over 500 member institutions in over 50 countries across the Commonwealth. The ACU bring together many of the most prestigious and well-funded universities internationally with relatively new institutions in some of the world’s least developed countries. 

Media contacts

Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
d.ndlovu@aasciences.ac.ke         +254 727 660 760 | +254 20 806 0674