The One Planet Fellowship: Investing in the next generation of African scientists supporting action on climate change
Sustainable Development Goal 13, climate action, specifically notes the need for effective climate change-related planning and management to include women, youth, local, and other marginalized communities. This need is echoed in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)5 report and related Gender Action Plan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)6, which draws increasing attention to the higher risk of adverse consequences from climate change in local communities dependent on agricultural livelihoods.
The One Planet Fellowship represents AWARD’s most significant expansion to date. The US$19.2 million initiative, managed by AWARD and the Agropolis Fondation, will support up to 630 African and European agricultural scientists over the next four years. The aim is to create a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational network of scientists able to inform inclusive rural development. Modeled on the ground-breaking flagship AWARD Fellowship tailored for African female scientists, the One Planet Fellowship goes several steps further. It is open to both men and women, as well as to young European scientists, forging intercontinental collaborations for climate change research.
AWARD’s One Planet Fellowship aims at building a robust pipeline of scientists working on solutions to help Africa’s smallholder farmers adapt to a changing climate. A coalition of the One Planet Summit7 that works toward accelerating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the One Planet Fellowship seeks to create a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational network of scientists able to inform inclusive rural development.
Modeled on the ground-breaking AWARD Fellowship tailored for African female scientists, the One Planet Fellowship goes several steps further: it is open to both men and women, and young European scientists, forging intercontinental collaborations for climate change research.
The 2019 and 2020 cohorts of One Planet Fellowship participants include 89 laureate candidates and 89 mentors, selected from 14 sub-Saharan African countries (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d‘Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia). These candidates were selected from a pool of 2,426 applicants who responded to two calls for applications.
Each of the successful applicants brings a research specialty vital to building future-proof agricultural systems, such as promoting the adoption of climate-smart technologies or improving African seed systems in the context of climate change.
Laureate candidates will also have a unique opportunity to mentor junior African and European scientists, giving them insights into the priority areas that agricultural science needs to address in Africa and exposure to the unique context and conditions of research on the ground across the continent.
Also, the One Planet Fellowship places a premium on strengthening the gender-responsive research skills of the laureate candidates.
At the launch of the inaugural cohort of the One Planet Fellowship, AWARD Director Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg emphasized the central role of gender responsiveness in climate change research.
“To provide the most robust research to address climate change requires investing in early-career scientists and providing them with the capacity and skills they need to lead the research agendas of the coming decades. For their innovations to be relevant and widely adopted, the next generation of scientists will also need to know how to place gender and social inclusion at the heart of their research.”