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Climate Research Cohort

Theme: Global challenges

The Commonwealth Climate Research Cohort is seeking 24 talented climate and environment researchers committed to building climate resilience through multidisciplinary research.

The Commonwealth Climate Research Cohort is for passionate climate and environment researchers seeking to enhance their leadership and knowledge exchange skills. This unique cohort will work together, and with experts from across the Commonwealth, to identify opportunities to engage and influence on issues of climate and environment in the lead up to COP26.

Through providing training, access to networks and COP26 travel funding, the ACU and the British Council are working in partnership to support 24 rising stars in climate and environment research who are working towards solutions for climate-vulnerable regions across the Commonwealth.

Applicants to the cohort must be emerging research leaders based at ACU member universities. 

Throughout 2021, successful applicants will benefit from: 

  • Funded attendance at COP26 in Glasgow, UK (travel restriction dependent)
  • Leadership training with a cohort of peers through virtual, expert-led workshops
  • Skills development for knowledge exchange and policy influence
  • The opportunity to conduct a peer-led research-to-action project with seed funding
  • Access to mentorship from an international network of climate and environment researchers through the ACU’s Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network 

To find out more about the programme please contact George Lakey, senior programme officer, at

Apply to be part of the cohort  

Eligibility criteria

Applicants will need to meet the following criteria in order to join the cohort:

  • Based at an ACU member university (see here for a list of ACU members)
  • Have a letter signed by their head of department, supervisor, or other senior member of staff supporting their participation in this project between March-November 2021


  • Hold a PhD at the time of application
  • Be a post-doctoral researcher with no more than eight years of post-doctoral research experience working in the broad field of climate and environment research, who is in a funded research role until at least December 2021


  • Enrolled on a PhD at the time of application
  • Have demonstrable and significant experience in research and leadership in the broad field of climate and environment research, and be in a funded research role until at least December 2021

The Commonwealth Climate Research Cohort is committed to supporting future research leaders and encourages applications from a diverse range of candidates, including those who identify as disabled.

Please click here to read our full disability support statement.

Eligible countries 

  • Applicants must be a resident of an ODA-eligible Commonwealth small state, or resident of another Commonwealth country with a research focus applicable to an ODA-eligible Commonwealth small state (click here for a list of eligible countries)

​Click here to apply

Applications close January 31, 2021 at 23:59 UTC.

The Commonwealth Climate Research Cohort is a partnership project designed and delivered by the British Council and the ACU.

Stories of Change

Read about how climate and environment researchers across the ACU network have harnessed the power of research to create change in their communities.

Pexels Thefacesiseek (Saptarshi) 974406
Dr Hannah Karuri: Hunting down the invisible worms threatening Kenyan crops
Climate change is causing plant-parasitic nematode populations to swell below ground. Controlling the nematodes has become an urgent battle which finds Hannah on the front lines.
Rufino Varea: Turning the tide against marine plastics pollution in Fiji
Rufino Varea is one of the only aspiring eco-toxicologists at his home institution, and he's passionate about linking scientific knowledge with local communities.
Dr Catherine Abiola Akinbami: Building climate resilience one community at a time
Passionate about rural development, Catherine has been working with farming communities to assess the impacts of climate change on local livelihoods and take up adaptive practices.
Mavis Akuffobea-Essilfie: Climate action for women, by women
Around the world, women and girls living in poverty are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Mavis' research in rural Ghana lifts the lives of the most vulnerable.

Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network

With many Commonwealth countries on the frontline of climate change, the ACU Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network is working to build resilience within universities and their wider communities. 

Find out more
Pexels Jose Espinal 1030322
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Theme: Global challenges