An African Academy of Sciences (AAS) initiative to develop the skills and improve the research output of early career African climate change scientists has helped a Ugandan masters graduate find time to write and publish two papers and lay the foundation for a PhD.

Alex Zizinga

Alex Zizinga, a graduate research assistant from Makerere University, is one of 34 post-masters and postdoctoral researchers who were awarded a CIRCLE visiting fellowship in 2015.

CIRCLE is the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement initiative that the AAS is implementing in partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The UK Department for International Development is supporting the five year initiative.

Like many of his CIRCLE visiting fellows, he is spending a year at another institution– his is the Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam–studying the impact of climate change.

Zizinga is researching how a combination of organic and inorganic sources of plant nutrients¬–namely mulching, a covering of soil surface using different materials to improve soil conditions and prevent the loss of soil moisture, and farm yard manure, which includes animal urine and dung– can improve crop yields for small scale farmers in Albertine Graben, Uganda.

The time he is spending at the University of Dar es Salaam is proving to be worthwhile. Not only has it provided him with an opportunity to meet his peers who are also CIRCLE fellows– two from Tanzania and one from Ghana– but it has freed up his time to write and publish two papers.

“CIRCLE is providing opportunities for networking and building relationships that are important for my career. Here I can find potential future partners to do research with and spending time to focus more in my field of study,” he says.

The two papers that he co-authored, which focus on ways for  farmers in south western Uganda to adapt and cope  to climate change and   soil and nutrient losses under cultivated bush and climbing beans on terraced humid highland slopes of south western Uganda have been published in the open access journal Science Domain International.

He is also hoping to publish more articles when he finishes his research for the CIRLCE initiative. With renewed confidence in his career, the 30-year old Zizinga is already setting his eyes on a PhD.

“If you have published people take you seriously and it says you know what you are doing in the field. I would like to build on this work and study for a PhD.”

The sky is the limit for this CIRCLE visiting fellow.