AIMS NEI Fellowship Program for Women in Climate Change Science – First call for application

Climate change represents one of humanity’s greatest challenges of the 21st century. The continued ascent of our species depends to a significant extent on our ability to limit further catastrophic changes to the climate and to adapt to both past and future changes. In many parts of the world, changes in climatic variables – including incessant increases in temperature and declines in precipitation – are already having detrimental impacts on food security, human health, energy, biodiversity, etc. Some of these impacts further alter the climate – e.g. plant biodiversity loss reduces CO2sequestration, contributing to temperature rises – creating positive feedback loops with increasingly perilous consequences for humanity.

It is recognized, including by international institutions like the United Nations, that a sustainable societal response to these challenges requires the collective participation of both men and women. However, women have historically had fewer opportunities than men to play significant roles in society’s quest for solutions to climate change. This is despite the fact that in many parts of the world women’s livelihoods are more dependent on climate-sensitive services afforded by natural ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The AIMS NEI Fellowship Program for Women in Climate Change Science seeks to foster increased female participation in and contribute to a more sustainable societal response to climate change. This Fellowship Program was made possible by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada,, and financial support from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), It is part of a broader effort by AIMS NEI to build the intellectual capital needed to solve the myriad challenges to Africa’s development resulting from climate change.

Applications are invited from outstanding female scientists currently residing anywhere in the world. Successful applicants are expected to execute in a suitable African host institution a self-initiated project with the potential to contribute significantly to the understanding of climate change and its impacts, and/or to the development and implementation of innovative, empirically grounded policies and strategies for mitigation, adaptation, and/or resilience.

Because mathematics is important for establishing rigorous linkages between observations, their explanations, and the evidence needed to support impactful decision-making, preference will be given to applicants proposing projects that make substantive use of the mathematical sciences, be it for modelling climate change, quantifying its impacts, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of interventions, designing experiments, analysing data, or other relevant activities.

Click here to access the full call for applications

To be eligible, applicants must be:

    • female
    • in possession before the fellowship start date of a doctorate in a quantitative discipline, including, but not limited to, applied mathematics, climatology, physics, chemistry, computer science, theoretical biology, and engineering
    • currently employed, on either a permanent or a temporary basis, in a non-profit work environment, including government
    • actively engaged in research, policy, and/or practice relevant to climate change modelling, mitigation, adaptation, and/or resilience
    • the lead and/or senior author of at least one refereed publication on a topic relevant to climate change modelling, mitigation, adaptation, and/or resilience.

To apply, email to (using as subject “MS4CR fellowship application – first and last name of applicant”) the following documents on or before 11:59 pm CAT on 30 November 2017:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • An electronic copy of a representative publication in climate change modelling, mitigation, adaptation and/or resilience on which the applicant is the lead and/or senior author
  • Three confidential letters of support which are to be emailed directly by the applicant’s referees to (using as subject “MS4CR fellowship application support letter – first and last name of applicant”) by the application deadline. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request these letters from the referees. Two of these letters should come from the applicant’s immediate supervisor at her home institution and the named collaborator at her proposed host institution. At least one letter should come from a referee who is qualified to assess the applicant’s experience in climate change research, practice, and/or policy.

Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.

Successful applicants will be required to provide duly signed copies of the following documents:

All complete applications received by the application deadline will be screened for relevance by a Fellowship Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee will send each application to at least two reviewers for reviewing and scoring based on a defined soring sheet. The reviewers’ scores and associated comments will be forwarded to an International Selection Committee. This Selection Committee will select and interview a subset of the applicants, and then choose and recommend to AIMS NEI about four applicants deemed most qualified to receive a WiCCS fellowship. All reviews done by the Selection Committee members and other reviewers will be based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of applicant: academic qualifications; quality of publications; experience in climate change-related work; real-world impact & recognition (e.g. through awards) of prior work.
  • Quality of proposed project: relevance to climate change modelling, practice and policy; strength of connection to the mathematical sciences; experience of applicant in project topic; quality of project design; feasibility; suitability of proposed host institution environment and of named collaborator; quality and realism of budget projections.
  • Potential impact of proposed project on scientific knowledge, practice and policy.

International Selection Committee:

Prof Jean Palutikof (Chair)

    • Founding Director, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Griffith University, Australia; former Head, Technical Support Unit, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability); former Professor and Director, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, UK; lead author and review editor for several IPCC assessment reports.

Prof Babatunde J Abiodun

      • Associate Professor and Coordinator of Atmospheric Science Programme, Department of Environmental & Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Adjunct Professor, University of Missouri, Kansas City, USA; lead author on IPCC’s fifth assessment report, Working Group I (physical scientific basis of climate change); recipient of the prestigious Stanley Jackson Award from the South African Society for Atmospheric Sciences, 2013.

Dr Georgina Cundill

        • Senior Program Officer, International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada. Research Associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. Co-lead of the Collaborative Governance and Management working group, Program for Ecosystem Change and Society. Science committee member for ecoSERVICES, Future Earth; Steering committee for Adaptation Futures 2018.

Dr Fatima Driouech

          • Head, National Climate Centre, National Meteorology Directorate, Morocco; IPCC Vice-Chair, Working Group I; co-Chair, World Meterological Organisation Climate Monitoring and Assessment Program (OPACE 2); lead author on IPCC’s fifth assessment report, Work Group I.

Prof Gina Ziervogel

            • Associate Professor, Department of Environmental & Geographical Science and Research Chair at the African Climate and Development initiative (ACDI), University of Cape Town, South Africa; South Africa’s Distinguished Young Woman Researcher in Humanities and Science, 2015; editorial board member, Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Natural Hazard Science; lead author on IPCC’s Special report on extreme events and disasters.

For more information about the selection process and the committees mentioned above, please consult the following documents:

The fellowship is worth up to USD 35,000. The exact amount of the fellowship will be specified at the time of the award. This amount will be paid to the Fellow in three installments in accordance with a schedule that will be defined at the time of the award. Fellows must submit accurate banking details (using the form provided below) to avoid undue delays in receiving their fellowship payments.

Fellows will be required to submit quarterly reports on their progress using the reporting template provided below. These reports must be co-signed by the named collaborator at the Fellow’s host institution. Fellowship payments will be withheld from Fellows who fail to submit complete and accurate progress reports in a timely manner.

In the event that a Fellow needs to take a break from her tenure of the fellowship to continue at a later time, she must submit a written request to extend her fellowship tenure using the form provided below. Such extensions will be granted only under exceptional circumstances and at no additional cost to AIMS NEI. In such cases, a new agreement letter specifying the fellowship resumption date as well as modified reporting and payment schedules will be issued to the fellow.