About the One Planet Fellowship Initiative

The United Nations warns that “climate change is costing communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

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. 

That is why African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and Agropolis Fondation supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), France’s BNP Paribas Foundation, the European Union, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) have partnered to implement the One Planet Fellowship. 

The One Planet Fellowship seeks to build a vibrant, highly connected, and intergenerational network of African and European scientist leaders equipped to lead next-generation research focused on helping Africa’s smallholder farmers adapt to a changing climate. 

One Planet Fellowship is a $20 million initiative dedicated to supporting research on climate change adaptation. 

Announced at the One Planet Summit in 2017, The One Planet Fellowship is a career-accelerator designed to enhance the capacity of high potential agricultural researchers focused on climate change adaptation, by building their leadership, scientific research, networking, and mentoring skills. 

The One Planet Fellowship Model

The One Planet Fellowship brings together an intergenerational network of scientists from across Africa and Europe and contributes towards building a robust pipeline of climate science leaders.

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

It brings together an intergenerational network of scientists from across Africa and Europe;strengthens the leadership skills of emerging climate scientists from both continents; and contributes towards building a robust pipeline of climate science leaders.

Selection of Participants

Through a competitive process, high potential African agricultural researchers whose research focuses on climate change 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 Laureate Mentor-Mentee pairs commence a year-long mentorship relationship and are supported to build a successful partnership geared toward enhancing the fellows’ career growth. The pairs are also supported to attend a variety of leadership and science research skills courses.  

In the second year of the Fellowship, the Laureate Candidates select emerging African scientists and emerging European scientists to whom they serve as mentors, creating a mentorship chain of three generations of scientists. 

In the third and final year of the Fellowship, the top performing One Planet Laureate Candidates are supported to enhance their research skills by participating in a research placement at a leading European research institution that has a 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 One Planet Fellow. 

 

To know more on One Planet Fellowship download Fellowship Brochure
Our Approach

Since 2008, AWARD has, through individually tailored two-year fellowships, worked to strengthen the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to alleviating poverty and increasing food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the One Planet Fellowship, the AWARD Fellowship Model is scaled up and out, so that the replicability of an intervention that was originally designed to empower African women scientists is tested robustly. 

The One Planet Fellowship is an opportunity for African scientists to share their context-specific knowledge with European scientists, for emerging European scientists to gain valuable exposure to the context within which scientific research is conducted on the continent, and for established scientists from Europe and Africa to invest in building the next generation of climate scientists. 

Most importantly, The One Planet Fellowship will build scientists’ skill in deploying a gender lens to analyse the potential of their research to bridge the gender gap in African agriculture, especially when it comes to access to new technology. 

Credit: AWARD

Implementation of One Planet Fellowship is led by AWARD and Agropolis Fondation and involves several activities:

  1. Open competition to select One Planet Laureate Candidates
  2. Identification and appointment of mentors
  3. A three-step mentoring program
  4. A variety of learning experiences including building science writing skills, leadership skills, mentoring skills and gender integration in agricultural research
  5. Support to build a community of practice of outstanding climate adaptation researchers in Africa and Europe
  6. Knowledge exchange forums
Partners
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to address the challenges and local realities faced by farming families in the developing world, and to date it has committed more than US$2 billion to agricultural development efforts. Among those many programs is a cooperation with the French-government partner, Agropolis Fondation and together they fund a fellowship program for outstanding agricultural researchers in sub-Saharan Africa called The AWARD Fellowship. Most of the Foundation’s recent work with AWARD has shifted to focus on institutional transformation for gender responsive agricultural research in Africa and involves men as well as women.
The BNP Paribas Foundation supports a Climate Initiative philanthropic program to enhance and promote scientific knowledge on climate change to enable decision-makers and all citizens to change their behavior. Between 2017 and 2019, 8 international projects covering various climate-related problems will be funded with a €6 million budget, involving 178 researchers, professors and engineers from 73 universities and research organizations throughout the world, including Senegal, Cameroon, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Uganda, South Africa and Mali. Funded research projects include evolution and impacts of extreme weather events, carbon soil sequestration and also adaptation policy governance. Further, since this year, the Group BNP Paribas will become carbon neutral and will offset its unavoidable CO2 emissions through a partnership with Wildlife Works, a pioneering company in forest protection in Africa that empowers local communities to divert them from changing the forest into cropping land.
The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Preventing dangerous climate change is a key priority for the European Union and they are working hard to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise. Through the DeSIRA initiative, the EU intends to enhance cooperation between the EU and its Member States with African partners on climate-resilient and development-smart innovation in agriculture for sustainable rural transformation.
The International Development Research Center (IDRC) funds research in developing countries to promote growth, reduce poverty, and drive large-scale positive change. IDRC works at increasing opportunities and making a real difference in people’s lives. Together with their development partners, they multiply the impact of their investment and bring innovations to more people in more countries around the world. IDRC offer fellowships and awards to nurture a new generation of development leaders.
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) works toward inclusive, agriculture-driven prosperity for Africa by strengthening the production and dissemination of more gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation. We invest in African scientists, research institutions, and agribusinesses so that they can deliver agricultural innovations that better respond to the needs and priorities of a diversity of women and men across Africa’s agricultural value chains. Since 2008, AWARD has, through individually tailored two-year fellowships, worked to strengthen the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to alleviating poverty and increasing food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
Agropolis Fondation promotes and supports high-level research and higher education in agricultural sciences and sustainable development. It connects the world-class Montpellier scientific community with an international network of over 400 foreign partner institutions, including the AWARD program presented above. In the past 10 years Agropolis Fondation granted €40 million to scientific projects on cultivated plant diversity, biology and breeding, crop protection, sustainable agriculture and food systems, agro-ecological transition, adaptation to climate change, food processing and quality, socio-economics and public policies.

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