CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship (CVF)

Coping with the effects of climate change requires strategic approaches by building capacity in multi- and trans-disciplinary areas. It is for this reason that the CIRCLE programme offered fellowships in selected multidisciplinary thematic fields.

Between 2014-2017, a total of 100 early career researchers were awarded a one-year CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship. Our partner, The African Academy of Sciences (AAS), managed all fellows for the duration of their fellowship year.

Fellowships were awarded to 39 Masters-qualified researchers and 61 PhD-qualified researchers in the field of climate change, with exactly 50% of awards made to female academics. Proposals covered a range of multidisciplinary research including water, energy, agriculture, political economy, and health and livelihoods.

CIRCLE Fellow Dr Mercy Derkyi

Strengthening capacity of African scientists to undertake research on climate change and its local impacts on development

Through the fellowship programme, CIRCLE has provided opportunities to the fellows to develop their skills and boost their research profile both in academic and non-academic spheres. This included guidance on publishing and conference selection.

  • 72 CVFs have made a total of 142 conference presentations about their CIRCLE research;
  • 78 CVFs have submitted a total of 425 articles, manuscripts and book chapters for publication;
  • 349 articles submitted to peer reviewed journals, including 143 articles on CIRCLE research;
  • 226 articles have been published in peer review journals, including 72 on CIRCLE research;
  • 80 CVFs have been involved in 255 applications for further research funding;
  • 78 funding applications have been successful and over USD $3.5m in funding secured.

In early 2018, 46 CIRCLE alumni responded to a follow-up survey on their progress since completing their fellowship. 70% reported that the level of discussion and communications over support for early career researchers had increased in their institution over the last 12 months. 72% reported that the actual support provided for early career researchers had also increased.

Institutions involved in the Institutional Strengthening Programme (ISP) have been encouraged to include CVFs in their implementation teams, and 67% of ISP Implementation Teams now include CVFs as active members, offering opportunities to extend the benefit of their learning from their fellowship to strengthen the capacity of their peers.

The Research Uptake Fund

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) funds research to contribute to its overarching goal of poverty reduction. Under the DFID definition, research uptake includes: all the activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy-makers, practitioners and other development actors. Engaging stakeholders throughout the research process is important to ensure stakeholders understand and are involved in the research process and research is relevant to in-country needs and priorities.

Purpose of the fund

The Research Uptake Fund was created to provide funds to CIRCLE fellows and alumni to undertake activities that will facilitate the use of their CIRCLE-funded research by policymakers and practitioners/users and other relevant stakeholder groups.

The fund also supported engagement with stakeholders throughout the research cycle and ensured that CIRCLE research responded to a set of well-defined research questions and developmental needs.

Research uptake activities eligible for the fund covered the following requirements:

  • Support the supply of research by ensuring research questions are relevant through engaging with potential users, communicating research effectively, synthesising and repackaging research for different audiences;
  • Support ongoing needs assessment activities that inform and shape research and ensure that it is responding to a well-defined and evidenced need;
  • Support the demand for research by building the capacity and commitment of research users to access, evaluate, synthesise and use research evidence. This starts with a focus on a particular practices, policies or decision-making processes and considering how it can be informed, influenced and/or supported by research evidence;
  • Build exposure for CVFs’ research and communicate the findings to different stakeholders, to promote engagement with, responsiveness to and use of research findings;

The types of activities the CIRCLE Research Uptake Fund supported included:

  • Holding workshops, policy forums, etc. with researchers, uptake practitioners, research users/beneficiaries, policy makers, and other stakeholders for discussions around the CVF’s research
  • Holding conferences to promote exposure to and use of the research by various stakeholders
  • Developing publicity material
  • Consultations and surveys with stakeholders
  • Developing training materials and tool kits from the CVF’s research

Success of the fund

Over the course of the CIRCLE programme, three calls for Research Uptake Funding have taken place. A total of 130 applications were received, of which 66 were successful. A total of $157,931 was awarded to our Fellows to carry out a range of activities to share their research and increase the impact of their work.

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ACUAfrican Academy of Sciences UK AID - Department for International Development

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