Digital pixelated forest

Meet the mentors

Theme: Global challenges

Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort

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Dr Paulette Bynoe, University of Guyana

Dr Bynoe has around 24 years of professional accomplishment as an inter-disciplinary trained Environmental Scientist who has taught post-graduate and courses in community disaster risk management, environmental impact assessment, environmental research methods, and environmental resources policy.  Her research interests are in environmental education, natural resources and environmental policy, sustainable livelihoods and climate change and disaster vulnerability. In 2015, she was awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement for her contribution to environmental education and training, and research that informs policies on natural resources management.

Dr Bynoe has, and continues to serve, in various capacities regionally and internationally, including as a Member of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean Technical Committee and Steering Committee Member, Vice Chair of the CDEMA Education-Sub-Sector, Lead Climate Change Negotiator for Guyana from 2016 to 2019, G77 and China Lead Negotiator for 2020, AOSIS Coordinator for High Level Climate Actions. She was also recently nominated as the Caribbean Representative on the Global Water Partnership Steering Committee.

Dr Bynoe holds a PhD in Geography (University of Sussex, UK), an MPhil in Environmental Education (University of Bradford), and a BA in Geography (University of Guyana). She is a Senior Lecturer, Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the former Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Guyana.

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Jeremy Collymore, University of West Indies, Jamaica

Jeremy Collymore brings a blend of academia, policy and operations to his DRM and Resilience services. He has extensive experience in engaging high level decision makers including, Heads of Governments, sector leaders and professional associations; and in mentoring. His work in championing Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) is well recognized in the Caribbean and beyond, and includes the Barbados Service Star Medal, the Department of Geography, UWI, Golden Anniversary Trail Blazer Award and the International Award of the US National Hurricane Conference.

He has served on many regional and international think tanks and advisory groups which seek to promote disaster risk management and resilience.      

Jeremy is an Honorary Research Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), UWI. A Geographer, who specializes in Disaster Risk (DRM) and Resilience he served as the Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) from 1991 until 2013.  His other major appointments included Advisor Disaster Resilience, Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies (UWI). Lecturer and Visiting Lecturer, Department of Geography, UWI, Jamaica; Assistant to the Director in the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, UWI, Barbados, Disaster Specialist in UNDRO (now UN OCHA) on the Pan Caribbean Disaster and Prevention Project, Antigua and Barbuda. 

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Professor Paromita Chakraborty, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, India

Professor Chakraborty is the principal investigator for several national and international projects including ongoing projects with premier institutes of the USA, Norway, Switzerland and Japan. She is an accomplished academician who took the scientific world towards good science with her passion and innovative mind. She is an associate editor for the Arabian Journal of Geosciences. Apart from publishing several papers in high impact international journals, she holds a patent for recycled polymer pencil from waste plastic. Her recent investigation on concurrence of SARS-CoV-2 and chemical markers in community wastewater garnered attention among the stakeholders.

She is an Associate Professor at SRM Research Institute and department of Civil Engineering in SRM Institute of Science and Technology. As a leader of Environmental Science and Technology Research Group, she relentlessly pursues high quality research on fate and transport of legacy and emerging contaminants under varied climate regimes in India and other parts of Asia. Her group is also working on cost-effective remediation and waste recycling techniques for the betterment of society.

A few national and international awards Professor Chakraborty has received include Hiyoshi Environment Award 2020, prestigious Water Advanced Research and Innovation Fellowship 2016, Early Career Chemist, 2015 and numerous Travel Grants by the American Chemical Society and other research organizations. She believes science should be instrumental in solving societal issues. Her start-up “Nuevo Chakra” is engaged in novel cost-effective techniques for waste recycling and sustainable management.

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Dr Darren Fa, University of Gibraltar

Dr Darren Fa completed his PhD in Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 during which time he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Darren was part of the team that developed and implemented the roadmap for the creation of the University of Gibraltar, which he joined as Director of Academic Programmes and Research in 2014.

In this role, he is responsible for all the academic research that takes place under the aegis of the University, and is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee as well as its Academic Board. He is also directly responsible for the development and delivery of a number of its academic programmes including its MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change and the University’s flagship PhD programme.

Darren is a member of HMGoG’s statutory Nature Conservancy Council, a director of the Gibraltar Museum’s Gibraltar Caves Project as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum. He is a registered Scientific Diver and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education, a Chartered Biologist by the Royal Society of Biology and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London.

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Dr Jamie Hinks, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE)

Dr Jamie Hinks is a Principal Scientist at the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE). SCELSE is a research centre of excellence in Singapore and is hosted jointly by Nanyang Technological University and National University Singapore.

He is a collaborative and interdisciplinary environmental microbiologist whose research centers on exploiting microbes in sustainable systems. He completed his PhD at Newcastle University, UK in 2012 where he studied Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). At the time MFCs were positioned as devices capable of directly recovering electricity from the organic content in wastewater. He began at SCELSE immediately after completing his PhD and has worked on a range of topics including biofuels, novel antibiotics, and unattended biosensors for water quality monitoring. His most recent research funding awards will see him lead projects that include the development of single cell protein from methanotrophs and the degradation of waste plastics in the deep sea.

Prior to academia, Jamie worked in Environmental consultancy. He is interested in translational science and has developed several patents. He sits on the editorial panel of two journals, has regular reviewing assignments for over 14 titles, and often acts as rapporteur and reviewer for EU funding programs.

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Professor Benjamin Horton, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Professor Benjamin Horton is the Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. His research concerns sea-level change. He aims to understand the mechanisms that have determined sea-level changes in the past, which will shape changes in the future. Professor Horton has won a number of research awards from European Geosciences Union, American Geophysical Union and Geological Society of America. Professor Horton is an editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report. Professor Horton has published over 230 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Professor Athar Hussain, COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan  

Prof. Dr Athar's current research interests include the investigation of low frequency variability in mid-latitudes, and global and local climate change diagnosis and attributions, using both dataset based statistical techniques and by using dynamical methods. In recent past, he has studied in detail the state of climate in the Alaska region of USA and in Arabian Peninsula. Dr. Athar obtained his PhD in Atmospheric Science in 2008 from University of Missouri, Columbia, USA. His first PhD was in Physics in 1996 from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. 

He is serving as Professor of Meteorology at COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) since 2014 and COMSATS Science Ambassador in the field of Climate Change since February 2015. Dr. Athar is also serving as Head of Centre for Climate Research and Development at CUI. 

He has considerable research and teaching experience in Japan, Taiwan, USA, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and several countries in Europe. He has delivered a large number of seminars based on his research at institutes such as FNAL and ASPEN (USA), CERN (Switzerland), DESY (Germany), LAPP (France), KIAS (Korea), and KEK and YITP (Japan). 

He has published more than 50 peer reviewed articles in various disciplines in physical and basic science, and has supervised several MS and PhD theses. Two of his recently completed projects were related to Geospatial Monitoring of Maize Crop in Okara District in Pakistan, co-sponsored by Pioneer Pakistan Seed Limited, and Modeling of Parthenium Risk Maps Using Low Dimensional Data, funded by Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), UK. 

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Dr Haseeb Irfanullah, University of Liberal Arts (ULAB), Bangladesh

Haseeb is a visiting research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of the ULAB. He teaches there and strategizes the implementation of centre’s research, learning and teaching priorities. He also works as an independent consultant in the areas of environment, climate change, and research system. Haseeb often introduces himself as a biologist-turned development facilitator, with modest interest in research and climate change. At the current stage of his 21-year professional evolution, he finds his niche in nature-people-knowledge nexus.

Haseeb and his co-workers have so far published 37 peer-reviewed journal papers; have authored, edited and contributed to more than 45 books and other publications; and have written about 120 articles and thought pieces on diverse topics, including climate change.

Haseeb has long been involved in working with early-career researchers through mentoring programmes of INASP (UK)’s AuthorAID (2009−), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) (Bangladesh)’s Gobeshona (2015−2017), Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (UK) (2017−), and Society for Scholarly Publishing (USA) (2019−).

As a Commonwealth Scholar, Haseeb completed his PhD in aquatic ecology at the University of Liverpool (UK) in 2004.

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Professor Goretti Nassanga, Makerere University, Uganda

Professor Nassanga has had a long and rich experience in media (1979-present), starting off as a journalist and moving into training in 1990. Her areas of expertise and research include: development communication; women and media; community media; environment/climate communication; media ethics, policy and  regulation; global communication; population and health communication; new media and ICT; and peace journalism.

She has carried out research in several areas relating to media and has been a consultant at national, regional and international levels. Professor Nassanga is widely published in local and peer reviewed international journals. She is one of the founding members of the Uganda Media Women’s Association and is a former Chairperson of the Uganda Media Council. On 8 March 2020, Professor Nassanga was nominated one of the top ten trail-blazing women of Uganda at celebrations marking 25 years of gender activism, on International Women’s Day. In 2017, she received the highly prestigious Media Life Time Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Uganda’s media industry.

Professor Nassanga was the first Professor of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, and the first Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication, where she continues to lecture and conduct research. 

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Professor Abiodun Ogundeji, University of the Free State, South Africa

Professor Abiodun Ogundeji's current research focuses on climate change and adaptation in the agricultural sector, focusing on small-scale farmers.  He is currently working on a project titled 'Development of scenarios for future agricultural water use in South Africa', a project sponsored by the Water Research Commission of South Africa.

Professor Ogundeji is an Applied Economist. He obtained his PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. He is currently an Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at the same University. He presents classes and supervises masters, PhD, and Postdoctoral candidates. He is also a guest lecturer at  the Disaster Management Training and Education Centre (DiMTEC), where he presents classes on the economic impact assessment of disasters.

As a researcher, he works with international and local organizations as a project leader and principal investigator.  He was a research fellow at the social protection department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He has published over 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals, made several conference presentations, supervised 14 Masters candidates, and promoted 5 PhD candidates in Agricultural Economics and Disaster Risk Management.

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Professor Dr Johnny Ogunji, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike (AE-FUNAI), Nigeria

Prof Dr Johnny Ogunji studied Fisheries and Aquaculture and obtained a PhD at Humboldt University Berlin Germany. He has been a Professor of Fish Nutrition since 2008. He is a Post Doctoral Fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) Germany. He is a member of Fisheries Society of Nigeria and World Aquaculture Society. He is a Fellow Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN). He has conducted a lot of researches on alternative protein sources that can be used to replace fish meal in diet of fish and livestock.

From 2014-2016, Johnny was the Coordinator of the Association of Commonwealth (ACU) –  Early Careers: Structured Training for African Researchers (STARS). From 2014 – 2020  he also served as the Coordinator and Lead person for Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement In Sub-Saharan Africa Programme (CIRCLE) projects in Ebonyi State University. Currently, he is serving as a member of CIRCLE evaluation steering committee.

Johnny can be adjudged an experienced researcher and mentor. His core areas of research are in Fish Nutrition, Climate Change and Biotechnology. He has over 70 papers in very reputable journals to his credit. He is married and has 4 children.

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Dr Wilson Okaka, Kyambogo University, Uganda

Professor Wilson Okaka's research interests focus on mainstreaming climate change and gender equality in university higher education curriculum. He was trained in Uganda, UK, Italy, Sweden, and the USA, and has presented conference papers, published abstracts, books, book chapters, conference proceedings, and invited articles throughout his career. He has also performed academic editing and proofreading services, served in editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, undertaken international academic mentorship, external examinations, and peer reviews for journals. He was also an international VSO volunteer in South Asia as a communication strategy advisor, EDI of the World Bank consultant, and environment researcher by SIDA, IUCEA, AICAD (Nairobi, Kenya), AICAD (Uganda), and JICA .

Professor Okaka taught Georgetown University's TOEFL course at African Virtual University (AVU). He was a consultant for Uganda Science Journalists Association (USJA) on: Understanding Climate Change Through Journalism and Science Communication.  He is listed in African Scientists Directory and Climate Change Experts Profile by Climate for Development (Clim-Dev) initiative of the  collaborations among the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Union Commission (AUC), and African Development Bank. Dr. Okaka has been to countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East, and Americas.

He currently teaches research and communication at Kyambogo University in Kampala, Uganda.

David Oloke

Dr David Oloke, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Dr Oloke’s research focuses on sustainable engineering and the built environment. His work ranges from the development of sustainable materials, to design, construction management, and the alteration and refurbishment of buildings to make them more sustainable in space utilisation, operation and maintenance. In the last 10 years, David has supervised/mentored various researchers addressing a wide range of built environment climate change issues under various schemes, such as the EU Climate KIC Pioneers in Practice, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission,  and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, amongst others. 

As an academic, David has been responsible for the design and delivery of several research projects that have produced 22 PhD students and 5 post-doctoral candidates. David’s work has been published over 100 times in international refereed journals, conferences, and workshops. He has been an external examiner and keynote speaker on these matters in the UK and several countries.

David is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Chartered Construction Manager with several years of Academic and Consultancy experience of Civil Engineering and Construction Management. He is also a Professional Educator and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. As a consultant, David has been part of sustainable solutions for the development and regeneration of the built environment worth over £200m.

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Dr Naeem Shahzad, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan 

Dr Naeem Shahzad is an expert in, disaster management, climate change and environment. His current focus of research is on climate change and disaster risk reduction and has led number of Masters level research on related topics.

He is PhD in Environmental Engineering and possesses Post Graduate Certification in Disaster Management. Presently he is serving as Head of Department Disaster Management at National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. He is involved with this program since its inception and launch in 2012, and his University is pioneer in starting this program in Pakistan. He has authored number of International and National high impact journals and presented his research work in numerous International Conferences both inland and abroad. Besides, he has attended number of International trainings and workshops under both UN and non UN organizations.

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Professor Simron Singh, University of Waterloo, Canada

Simron J. Singh is one of the pioneers in conducting socio-metabolic research (or resource-use studies) on small islands. As a systems thinker, and an industrial ecologist, he tracks material and energy flows through island systems: what and how much resources are locally produced, imported, transformed, used, stocked, and discarded. His research aims to inform science and policy on ways small island economies can achieve resource and infrastructure security to meet socio-economic goals while building system resilience against the impacts of climate change.

He is founder and lead of the research program “Metabolism of Islands”, Chairs the inaugural board of “Island Industrial Ecology”, and leads the working group “Metabolic Risk on Islands” within the Emergent Risks and Extreme Events (or Risk-KAN), a joint initiative of Future Earth, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP). His work has received massive media attention, including interviews in Science, the New Scientist, and Current Anthropology, and is the subject of a full-length documentary called Aftermath – the second flood that was reviewed in Nature. Please visit Researchgate to access his publication record.

Simron is a Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

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Professor Lindsay C. Stringer, University of York, UK

Lindsay C. Stringer is Professor of Environment and Development at the University of York, UK. Her research is interdisciplinary and focuses on human-environment relationships, particularly the links between livelihoods, policy and environmental changes (including climate change). Her research projects usually involve big multi- or inter-disciplinary teams that bring together researchers from around the world, from disciplines including geography, ecology, biology, economics, development studies, politics, business and management, international relations, agricultural sciences and engineering.

Lindsay is motivated by making a difference, and to do this, she builds strong relationships with research users, from the local to international levels. She has been a Coordinating Lead Author for both the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In 2017, Lindsay won a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society, and in 2013, was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize. In 2015, she was presented with a Women of Achievement Award. She has extensive international mentoring experience and has supervised 22 PhD students to successful completion, as well as mentoring 14 postdocs and mentoring IPBES Young Fellows for the IPBES Africa Regional Assessment.

Lindsay is a keen traveller and has visited 113 countries. 

Professor Aliyu Barau, Beyero University Kano, Nigeria

Professor Steven Hung-Lam Yim, the Chinese University of Hong Kong


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Theme: Global challenges