Researchers at the University of Gloucestershire have secured funding from the UK’s Newton Fund to work with researchers from Egypt and South Africa on understanding water and food security issues. The support comes from a British Council Researcher Links award.
Drs Kenny Lynch and Julie Ingram will lead a workshop in September with colleagues from Stellenbosch University and the American University Cairo to develop understanding of how new methods in ecosystems services can help secure our water and food security. The workshop will take place at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.
“Human well-being depends on the services provided by nature, but these are under increasing threat from climate change, land degradation and resource depletion” explained Dr Ingram, an expert in knowledge and innovation systems at the Countryside and Community Research Institute.
“These ecosystem services (supporting, regulating, provisioning and cultural) underpin food and water security and are essential to people’s livelihoods, especially in Africa.”
The workshop aims to equip early career researchers from South Africa, Egypt and the UK with the conceptual and analytical tools for evaluating ecosystems services and for demonstrating their importance when considering development actions.
Dr Lynch said, “The challenges of evaluating and managing these services in natural and agricultural systems are complex, and beyond the scope of a single field of research such as Economics, Geography, Soil Science or Biology. Instead they require interdisciplinary evaluation methods which combine scientific and social science approaches.”
“The aim is to develop a cohort of young researchers, able to evaluate these issues, and ensure this kind of research is effective, relevant and applicable to poorer populations whose livelihoods are dependent on their environments and the services they provide,” said Dr Lynch, a geographer who teaches on the University’s geography degree.
The Gloucestershire team will be working with Professor Adriaan Van Niekerk, a geographer specializing in mapping environmental change and conservation at Stellenbosch University, and Professor Richard Tutwiler, a leading drylands researcher based at the American University in Cairo.
They will invite applications from leading young researchers from all three countries. The workshop will give the researchers a chance to share their research findings, discuss ideas for future research, meet experienced researchers and take part in some site visits to research locations where food and water security are being actively researched.
Dr Lynch stated, “We are hoping that the participating researchers may come up with ideas for future groundbreaking research that may have national and international impacts.”
Information for Editors:
The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance programme, providing opportunities to researchers for collaboration in 16 developing partner countries. Through the Newton Fund, the UK will use its strength in research and innovation to promote economic development and social welfare of partner countries.
The fund is managed by the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and will disburse £735 million between 2014 and 2021, which will be matched by partner countries, and covers three broad categories of activity: (i) People: capacity building, people exchange and joint centres; (ii) Research: research collaborations on development topics; and (iii) Translation: innovation partnerships.Download application form for early career researchers to participate in workshop
Newton Researcher Links is part of the Newton Fund with focus on selected countries. It consists of workshops and travel grants, with a focus on early career researchers.
The workshops provide unique opportunities for sharing research expertise and networking. During the workshops early career researchers will have the opportunity to present their research in the form of a poster/short oral presentation and discuss this with established researchers from the UK and partner countries. There will be a focus on building up links for future collaborations and participants selected on the basis of their research potential and ability to build longer term links.
For More Information, please see http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/science/newton
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.
We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.
We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m. The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.
South Africa: Janine Carlse Janine.firstname.lastname@example.org
Egypt: Shahira Emara: email@example.com
UK : Dr Kenny Lynch, firstname.lastname@example.org
All other contacts can be obtained from Dr Kenny Lynch.