The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) invites applications for three AIMS-Canada Research Chairs in Climate Change Science to be based at AIMS Rwanda. Each Chair will be provided up to USD 970,000 over a four-year period and tasked with executing a world-class research program able to contribute significantly towards building both the human capital and the scientific knowledgebase required to solve important climate change-related problems in Africa and beyond.
This Research Chairs Program was made possible by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, www.idrc.ca, and financial support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), www.international.gc.ca. It is administered by the AIMS Global Secretariat within the framework of the Mathematical Science for Climate Change Resilience Program.
We invite applications from outstanding African and non-African scientists whose research seeks to elucidate the scale and causes of climate change; predict climatic conditions, especially at small temporal and spatial scales; and develop and apply novel strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Preference will be given to applicants whose proposed research addresses issues relating to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including, but not limited to, the following:
SDG #2 (zero hunger): An estimated 25% of Africa’s population, projected to double by 2050, is currently malnourished. Agricultural production and postharvest preservation mechanisms must improve dramatically to provide enough food for this growing population. This requires agricultural practices that are resilient to climate change. We welcome applications from scientists able to develop the conceptual and technological foundations of such climate-smart agricultural practices, especially novel practices that are suitable for pilot testing in Africa in collaboration with partners based in Rwanda and other countries.
SDG #3 (good health and well-being): Climate change is altering the risk of disease in animals and plants. In Africa, it has caused new pests and disease vectors for livestock, crops, and humans to emerge and spread. Rising temperatures and heat waves are rendering parts of the continent unsuitable for human survival and contributing to the phenomenon of “climate refugees” – the scale of which is predicted to grow significantly in the coming decades. We welcome applications from scientists who are addressing these and related problems, at both foundational and applied levels.
SDG #11 (sustainable cities and communities): Rapid population growth and urbanization in Africa are contributing to climate change through: altered land use with its attendant loss of biodiversity and reduction of CO2 sequestration from the atmosphere; increased greenhouse emissions from human activities like energy production and transportation; etc. Altered land-use further reduces the resilience of populations to the impacts of climate change. Research is needed to improve our understanding of the scale of these problems in Africa and to develop effective, locally-adapted, and timely solutions. We welcome applications from researchers who are addressing these and other, related problems.
The above SDGs and others not mentioned are interlinked in various ways. For example, all three SDGs mentioned are linked by, among other things, the problem of finding affordable, efficient, and durable sources of clean energy, which has important implications for mitigating climate change. Hence, multiple SDGs can be simultaneously addressed through solutions to cross-cutting, climate change-related problems.
- A doctorate in a quantitative discipline including, but not limited to, applied mathematics, climatology, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistical ecology, or engineering.
- Significant evidence of excellent, self-initiated and self-directed research in climate change science.
- At least two (2) years of postdoctoral experience.
- Experience supervising Master’s and/or PhD students.
- Ability to take up the Chair by the end of 2018.
How to apply
Email the following documents in a single attachment to
firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject line “MS4CR chair application – first and last name of applicant”) by 23:59 CAT on 14 July 2018:
- a completed personal details form
- a completed research proposal form
- a curriculum vitae
- a letter of motivation
- an electronic copy of three representative publications in climate change science where the applicant is the lead and/or senior author.
Three referees should email confidential letters of support directly to
email@example.com (with the subject line “MS4CR chair application support letter – first and last name of candidate”) on or before the application deadline. Applicants should provide their referees with a copy of the Terms of Reference for Chairs and the Instructions for Referees.
Only complete applications received by the application deadline will be considered. Short-listed applicants will be interviewed by an International Selection Committee.
Before applying, candidates are strongly advised to read carefully and ensure they can abide by the following terms:
For questions about the terms and conditions of these research chairs, contact: Dr Wilfred Ndifon (firstname.lastname@example.org). For all other questions, contact: Dr Rosita Yocgo (email@example.com).
All complete applications received by the application deadline will be screened for relevance by an Oversight Committee and subsequently sent to at least two reviewers, which may include members of the Committee, for reviewing and scoring based on a defined template. The reviewers’ scores and comments shall be forwarded to an International Selection Committee (ISC), whose members include the distinguished mathematical scientists Simon Levin (Distinguished University Professor, Princeton) and Fred Roberts (Distinguished Professor, Rutgers). The ISC shall create a short-list of about seven applicants to be invited for in-person interviews. These interviews shall be conducted by the Committee at the premises of AIMS Rwanda and the Committee shall select three applicants deemed most qualified to be awarded a Chair.
All reviews done by Committee members and other reviewers shall be based on the following criteria among others:
- Quality of applicant: academic qualifications; quality of publications; experience in climate change-related research; real-world impact and recognition (e.g. through awards) of prior work.
- Quality of proposed research: relevance to climate change modelling, practice and policy; strength of connection to the mathematical sciences; experience of applicant in research topic; quality of research design; feasibility; suitability of proposed research environment(s); quality and realism of budget projections.
- Potential impact of proposed research on scientific knowledge, practice and policy.
For more information about the selection process and the committees mentioned above, please consult the following documents:
The total amount of direct financial support available to each Chair is approximately USD 970 000 over a four year period. This amount will cover:
- relocation of the Chair and up to two family members to Rwanda (bulk pack of USD 6,745);
- the Chair’s salary;
- fellowships for up to five postdoctoral fellows;
- bursaries for a maximum of six Master’s and four PhD students;
- attendance at national, regional and international conferences;
- hosting of conferences, workshops or summer schools at AIMS Rwanda;
- hosting of collaborators at AIMS Rwanda; and
- public dissemination of research results.
Members of the Chair’s research group may be eligible to apply to AIMS for additional funding in the form of small research grants, mobility grants, and highly prestigious research fellowships for women in climate change science:
- The Chair is tenable for a period of four years commencing on the agreed start date, which shall be specified in the Chair’s contract with AIMS.
- AIMS may decide to terminate the Chair if the Steering Committee deems the Chair’s performance to be significantly below expectations.
- AIMS shall provide administrative support to enable the Chair to apply for external grants. Depending on the value and duration of grants thus received, AIMS may decide to extend the Chair’s tenure.
- The Chair may not seek alternate employment before the last twelve months of his/her tenure.
- The Chair’s performance will be reviewed annually by a Steering Committee constituted by AIMS. The Chair will be made aware of the criteria employed in the review process.
- The review will not be done in an adversarial manner; rather, the goal will be to support the continued growth of the Chair’s research while acknowledging that the Chair is a strategic asset to both AIMS and the people of Africa.
Refer to the Terms of Reference for Chairs for additional information.