Transdisciplinary Research Capacity Development for Early Career Female Academics

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - Future Africa - 1HOPE (International One Planet for One Health Education Initiative): Youth Empowerment and Health/Economic Responses (to COVID-19), YEaH.


UNICEF partnered with the University of Pretoria (UP) to scale up various skill-building and capacities to respond to COVID-19 with a focus on youth. The pandemic came with serious impacts and likely future risks for the next generation in terms of reduced opportunities for employment, exposure to health, and social consequences that cannot be addressed without harnessing the diversity and energy from higher education. UP, through collaboration between seven faculties and research centres, has several important flagship programmes (such as One Health, 1Hope, food nutrition, communication, and entrepreneurship) that can address the challenges that come with COVID-19. Future Africa coordinates this project and is divided into nine clusters with more than 100 scientists actively engaged from various disciplines. The intent is to reach 2000 students between August 2020 and January 2021 by building skills and capacities that will enable the youth to effectively respond to COVID-19. 

The CSR forms part of cluster 3.1 which focuses on promoting transdisciplinary (TD) research, training capacity development for doctoral and early career scholars in Africa. In order to achieve TD research capacity building, two TD research online workshops were held. The first workshop took place in November of 2020, the second in December of 2020 and a third in January of 2021. These workshops were held in collaboration with 1HOPE who seeks to educate the next generation of global citizens about the criticality of ensuring the sustainability of the planet and all species, made especially poignant at this time of global COVID-19 upheaval. The 1HOPE Webinar Series focuses primarily on training and developing resource capacity focused on young career scholars and doctoral students that can drive multi- and trans-disciplinary projects. These free-of-charge workshops were globally attended by various post-graduate students from different universities, doctoral and early career scholars, and experts from various disciplines who contribute to the body of TD knowledge. 

The open learning resources that were developed through the workshops can be accessed by following the links below:

Future Africa – 1HOPE Webinar Series Part 1 (11 November 2020)

Future Africa – 1HOPE Webinar Series Part 2 (2 December 2020)

Future Africa – 1HOPE Webinar Series Part 3 (27 January 2021)

Follow the link below to access the Future Africa - 1HOPE Webinar Series (1-3) recordings.

Follow the link below to access the current Future Africa - 1HOPE webpage on the UNICEF project:

A multi-author article has just been published in Frontiers in Public Health, that may be of interest to all the Webinar Series (Part 1-3) participants. 

Mark Cianfagna, the principal author, is a student in the Master of Science in Global Health program at the University of Geneva working with Dr Rafael Ruiz de Castaneda on a research project related to biodiversity and health education. 

The article is an open-access publication accessible to readers anywhere in the world.

Published by Monique Oosthuizen

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