The Food Systems Research Networks for Africa (FSNet-Africa) project seeks to strengthen food systems research capabilities and the translation of evidence into implementable policy solutions and practical interventions in support of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for Africa.
The major contribution of FSNet-Africa to addressing the SDG challenges will be the focus on developing a new understanding of the African food system through developing the FSNet-Africa Food Systems Framework and utilising systems-based methodologies to conduct research that enhances understanding of the components of the framework, the interactions between these components, and ultimately the leverage points for food system transformation. The latter will be implemented by an interdisciplinary cohort of early career research fellows (ECRF) who are supported in their research to identify and evaluate climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive, poverty-reducing interventions.
FSNet-Africa is a collaborative project between the University of Pretoria’s (UP) African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems, the University of Leeds (UoL) (United Kingdom), and the Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).
FSNet-Africa is an ARUA – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research Excellence Project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
Our academic partners
FSNet-Africa is partnering with ten African institutions in six African countries: Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The participating institutions in these six focus countries are:
- Ghana: University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
- Kenya: University of Nairobi
- Malawi: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST)
- South Africa: University of Pretoria and University of the Western Cape
- Tanzania: University of Dar es Salaam, and Sokoine University of Agriculture
- Zambia: University of Zambia
FSNet-Africa will create 2-year-long structured opportunities for ECRFs based at our academic partners who obtained their PhDs less than 10 years ago to (i) conduct impact-focused interdisciplinary research related to African food systems, (ii) build lasting research networks, and (iii) develop their skills to translate their research impactfully.
The FSNet-Africa Fellowship Programme is planned for implementation from July 2021 – June 2023.
The three formal components of the fellowships (science, mentorship, and leadership development) will ensure that the ECRFs are positioned in an enabling environment and provided with the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to achieve the project objectives and significantly advance their academic careers. Towards this end, in addition to research funding, fellowships will offer ECRFs the opportunity to participate in a series of structured activities.
As a strategy to embed capacity in African institutions while building strong partnerships, fellows will remain in their universities but spend time at UP and UoL for these structured components of the fellowship.
During the fellowship, each fellow will be assigned at least two mentors – one each from an African university and from UoL. These research triads will be carefully matched to ensure that the triad is an interdisciplinary team, enabling the ECRFs to receive the support they need to develop and implement quality interdisciplinary research projects. The mentorship component will create opportunities for ECRFs and mentors to build meaningful relationships with researchers outside of their own organisation and from diverse geographic areas that can lead to longer term collaborations.
The Science Component of the fellowship will comprise an orientation workshop, funding to implement a research project, and participation in two 4-week summer school intensives held at UP and UoL, respectively. These intensives will provide the fellows with the opportunity to work on their research with their mentors and to participate in capacity development workshops.
The Leadership Component, which includes a 1-week intensive training period during the second year of the fellowship, will give fellows the opportunity to develop skills that are not typically focused on during postgraduate education such as leadership in science-policy communication and leading research designed for impact.
After the fellowship, ECRFs will be required to produce a minimum of three deliverables. Each fellow must (i) present their research project at a Stakeholder Engagement Dialogue, (ii) produce a publishable article, and (iii) produce a policy/practice solution related output (written or other media). Fellows will receive support to produce these outputs throughout the fellowship and at a dedicated Write Shop which will be held at the end of the fellowship.
For more information about the fellowships: click here.
How to become a FSNet-Africa fellow or mentor
Fellowship applications, and the call for expression of interest to be a mentor open on 1 February 2021. Relevant information will be posted in January 2021.
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