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Graduate student research opportunity in climate risk management


Through a new call of proposals, the Climate Centre, START and UNISDR are seeking to support graduate students whose research projects have synergies with out collective project, entitled "Forecast-based humanitarian decisions: Designing tools and processes to link knowledge with action".

The action research project is a joint undertaking, supported by the Climate and Development Network (CDKN). The project aims to improve knowledge about how climate threats and risks should be taken into account to improve humanitarian decisions, i.e. routinely taking humanitarian action before a disaster or health emergency happens, making full use of scientific information on all timescales. The goal of the project is to embed science into humanitarian work by creating tools for smart forecast-based decisions and by managing climate risks and promoting effective responses for development and adaptation. The project will focus on Africa and invites individual or group application from graduate students that are interested in improving the prospects for climate resilience across sectors, time scales, and spatial scales of decision making.

The support will enable action-oriented, collaborative research, and help create a strong network of young researchers interested in climate, development, and humanitarian work. A core innovation of the project's work is the development of participatory games that build on research findings to simulate system complexity by capturing the links between information, decisions and consequences – focusing on how science-based forecasts can inform action. For more information about the conceptual framework, see concept note. More information about the larger action research project can be found below. A list of ongoing initiatives that are particularly relevant to the conceptual framework is listed below, however, students are encouraged to define their own field of work.

Admission Requirement

Please respect the above-mentioned page limits – excess text may result in disqualification of submissions. We are especially interested in proposals from students who are either African citizens or being trained in East African countries, as well as from women students. Students outside of Africa may be considered dependent on availability. Please submit your proposals to Sarah Schweizer at START at

Geographical coverage



Names of successful candidates will be announced in mid-April 2012 and they will be invited to join a launch workshop in Nairobi during the last week of May 2012. Funded research will take place between June and November 2012 (minimum duration of two months), and by end of December the final deliverables will be due (manuscript with research findings). An optional follow-up workshop will take place in October or November 2012.

Application procedure

Students who are interested in this research opportunity should submit the following materials to START:

• A proposal that clearly articulates:
• Goal and importance of the proposed research (1 page);
• Research design, empirical data collection strategy, and method to analyze data (1 page);
• Expected outputs, timeline, a dissemination plan, and the synergies between proposed research projects and our larger action research effort (1 page);
• For proposals with more than one student, allocation of tasks within the team (half page);
• Brief budget statement in the range of $1,000 – $3,000 USD (half page); and
• Names of three referees – including the professor that will oversee the academic work.
• And an updated Curriculum Vitae or résumé (1 page per student)


Selected students will receive financial support in the range of $1,000 – $3,000 USD for carrying out research, be networked with other students focusing on related issues, and benefit from working with prominent scholars and practitioners in the fields of humanitarian work, climate adaptation, and climate-resilient development. We anticipate supporting up to 15 student projects through this call for research proposals.

Tuition & cost


Deadline for application

30 Mar 2012


Sarah Schweizer at START:

Last updated

26 Mar 2012

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  • Type University programme
  • Level Masters

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