Building a vibrant, connected and intergenerational network of scientist leaders
Investing in the next generation of African scientists addressing climate change
On September 16, 2019, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) in collaboration with France’s Agropolis Fondation inaugurated the first cohort of the One Planet Fellowship consisting of 45 outstanding scientists working on a wide range of agricultural research topics. The scientists, referred to as Laureate Candidates, were selected from a pool of 1,523 applicants from 12 countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia.
About the One planet fellowship initiative
The United Nations warns that “climate change is costing communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.” It is imperative that communities find ways of coping with the inevitable effects of climate change
Experts agree that the African continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change and hundreds of millions of lives are at risk of hunger and starvation if Africa is unable to feed its growing population.
Research and innovation in the agricultural sector can help Africa feed a growing population in the context of a changing climate but only if investments are made now to build a pipeline of the next generation of research scientists.
About the one planet fellowship model
Announced at the One Planet Summit in 2017, the One Planet Fellowship is a career-development initiative that brings together an intergenerational network of scientists from across Africa and Europe and to build a robust pipeline of climate science leaders.
AWARD’s focus on gender-responsive agricultural research means that the One Planet Laureates will also gain the skills necessary to do their research in a way that produces relevant solutions that respond to the needs and priorities of a diversity of men and women.
Inspired by the AWARD Fellowship Model, One Planet Fellowship’s interventions target high potential scientists in a career acceleration process aimed at:
- Fostering Leadership Skills
- Strengthening Scientific Research Skills
- Catalyzing Research Partnerships and Networks
Selection of the One planet fellowship Participants
Through a competitive process, high potential African agricultural researchers whose research focus on climate adaptation are selected. Referred to as the One Planet Laureate Candidates, these researchers are paired with more established African researchers who are carefully chosen to match their area of expertise and career goals. These are the One Planet Fellowship Mentors. These Candidate-Mentor pairs commence a year-long mentorship relationship and are supported to build a successful partnership geared toward enhancing the fellows’ career growth. The One Planet Fellowship also supports the pairs to attend a variety of leadership and science research skills courses.
In the second year of the Fellowship, the top-performing Laureate Candidates are supported to enhance their research skills by participating in a research placement at leading European research institutions that have strong emphasis and reputation for climate change science. Here, the Candidates are also carefully paired with outstanding European researchers who serve as supervisors to mutually-agreed research projects aimed at strengthening a specific skill for the Candidate.
In the final year of the Fellowship, the Laureate Candidates select emerging African and European scientists to whom they serve as mentors, creating a mentorship chain of three generations of scientists.