By 2050 demand for food in Africa is projected to grow by 2.5 to 3 times the level of 2015. At the same time, Africa continues to import a lot of its staple food, with the African Development Bank estimating that over US$35 billion is spent on food imports. This figure is expected to rise to US$125 billion by 2050. For the past decades, growth in agricultural production has arisen as much via increases in land under agriculture as via yield increases.
As a result, agriculture has become the key driver of deforestation in Africa, resulting in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These will ultimately impact on human wellbeing by degrading the natural resource base on which people depend for a living. At the same time, agricultural development can disadvantage poorer, more vulnerable groups - for example, when large-scale agricultural investments threaten their land rights. Future agricultural development will need to address trade-offs between economic, environmental and social outcomes to make progress on Sustainable Development Goals 2 (zero hunger), 10 (reduced inequality) and 15 (protection of terrestrial ecosystems).
A key part of the Sentinel project’s work over the next couple of year aims to build the capacity of African and UK research organisations to design and deliver high quality, relevant and state-of-the-art research. A key part of this endeavour is awarding doctoral research fellowships to 27 PhD students at RUFORUM Member Universities.
The fellowships will focus on issues aligned to Sentinel’s key research areas:
- Understanding agricultural expansion: Historical trends and current status of agricultural expansion (into natural habitats such as forests, shrubland, wetlands, etc.), its major socio-economic, political and biophysical (e.g., climate change) drivers, and the likely future extent, nature and location of agricultural expansion under alternative assumptions and scenarios
- Understanding the socio-economic and environmental impacts of expansion: In particular impacts on the livelihoods, wellbeing and resource access for poor and vulnerable people - both those expanding their agriculture, and those affected by habitat loss in these areas; and impacts on ecosystem functions and services for the wider landscape
- Understanding trade-offs: within and between socio-economic and environmental outcomes under alternative scenarios for agricultural development, and the policies and political economy influencing these.
Sentinel 2nd CALL FOR PROPOSALS
DOCTORAL RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIPS UNDER THE PHD GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS AT RUFORUM MEMBER UNIVERSITIES
Call ID: RU/2018/GTA/DRG/03
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15 February 2019
For full information on how to apply, please view the attached PDF file from RUFORUM below: