Tailored Opportunities: Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020 – COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

What?                                                                                                                                                                The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has threatened the health, economic and social development gained in Africa over the years. Africa has remained to depend for its medical equipment, diagnostic reagents and tools, protective gear and medicines. There has been shortage of medical supplies for COVID-19 due to the limited supply globally. This situation has challenged Africa to think inward. Moreover, WHO has warned African countries to boost their healthcare capabilities to hinder dissemination of the infections. Therefore, the continent must stimulate its full entrepreneurial talent to respond the challenges posed by COVID-19 and optimize global knowledge. Accordingly, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners have invited interested stakeholder to submit their innovations at the first Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020 that focused on COVID-19. This challenge will mainly focus on identifying business opportunities on the following five areas: Affordable rapid testing; Enhance medical devices and personal protection gear design and fabrication; Alternative tools for efficient and effective contact tracing and isolation; Development and production of potential drugs and vaccines in Africa.                                                                                                                                               Who?                                                                                                                                                  This innovation challenge is open for all firms, individuals, research centers, innovation hubs, universities and institutes, government leaders and agencies and business leaders of all size and ages.                                                                                                                                                 When?                                                                                                                                                            The deadline for this application is 17:00 hrs East African Time on 05 June 2020 How?                                                                                                                                                           Send your submissions to: Mr. Gedion Workneh at: workneh@un.org and Mr. Asfaw Yitna, at yitna@un.org                                                                                                 Benefits?                                                                                                                                                 The top 20 innovations selected in each of the 5 categories will be profiled on the ECA and partners’ websites at the Tech Market and Exhibition for Entrepreneurs and Investors; and the top 10 in each category will be given the opportunity to convince and get the support of governments, investors and potential partners and collaborators.

Tailored opportunities: Call for Papers on Restoring African Drylands


The European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN) News 60 will focus on dryland landscape restoration, from government and private sector reforestation to farmer managed natural regeneration, improvements to grasslands and rainfed agriculture, changes in tenure and governance, management of exotic species and bush encroachment. It will look at how to ensure smallholder and community participation and financing, while assessing the myriad roles of varied policies, current and potential roles of the private sector and non-governmental organisations, and how different relationships with local people and associations influence the eventual impacts. The environmental impacts of landscape-level restoration appear to be clear, the social impacts less so, and these will also be further analysed in the light of the above contexts. 

While acknowledging that dryland restoration efforts are occurring globally, this edition will focus on African experiences and especially those from the Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa, though those from elsewhere that could bring such cases into context will also be considered. This ETFRN News will highlight lessons learned in the broadest sense, identifying barriers and knowledge gaps, and opportunities that would promote effective scaling out of what could guarantee the most positive social, environmental and economic impacts. It will build on the current momentum for landscape restoration, supporting and complementing national initiatives, and the commitments of governments to international goals agreed through conventions and declarations.


Anyone with a story to tell about restoration on the drylands of Africa

onsider the following questions that this edition will look at answering…

1. What factors (technical, social, policy, economic, financial) contributed to the success or failure of the dryland restoration approach/mechanism/experience, and in what ways?

2. To what extent were different stakeholders consulted, involved and who benefitted, including local communities, gender and youth aspects?

3. Is landscape restoration providing any broader benefits, e.g. improving community resilience, food, fodder, fuel and water security, and to reducing poverty, out-migration, conflict and extremism?

4. How can effective restoration initiatives be better financed, and what other measures are needed to maximise scaling out to the level required to meet national and international goals?

5. At a global level, how can the current international attention for dryland forest and landscape restoration be better translated into successes on the ground?


Deadline for submition of a half page abstract is 30 April 2020


If you have a story to tell on dryland restoration in Africa and would like to share it, send a short outline (half page to a page) to the co-editors Nick Pasiecznik (nick.pasiecznik@tropenbos.org) and Chris Reij (chris.reij@wri.org)

Details on this opportunity can be found here http://www.etfrn.org/news/25/call_for_contributions_etfrn_news_60:_restoring_african_drylands

Tailored opportunities: Ph.D. Level Graduate Assistantship in Watershed Modeling (via AGU) Auburn University Auburn, AL, United States


Ph.D. level graduate research assistantship is available in Earth Systems Sciences, Auburn University, to work on a multidisciplinary project to study the impacts of climate change-driven land conversion on coastal water resources (quality and quantity) in the Florida Panhandle area


 Prospective candidates should be highly motivated and have a strong background in hydrology and water quality. Experience in watershed modeling, especially with the Soil Water Assessment Tool, is required. Knowledge and experience in computer programming, GIS and remote sensing is highly desirable.


Deadline is 12 April 2020


Interested candidates should email a cover letter stating their research interests, CV, unofficial university transcripts, TOEFL/GRE scores (if applicable), and the names and contact information of three references to Dr. Latif Kalin at latif@auburn.edu.

Tailored opportunities: Free online training on Satellite Remote Sensing for Agricultural Applications


ince the launch of NASA’s first Landsat mission in 1972, satellite imagery has been used for global agricultural monitoring, providing one of the longest operational applications for the Landsat program. Although satellite observations of land began with agricultural monitoring, only in recent years has agricultural remote sensing seen reinvigoration among space agencies, national ministries of agriculture, and global initiatives. To monitor agricultural systems, NASA utilizes satellite observations to assess a wide variety of geophysical and biophysical parameters, including: precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and vegetation health.

Past ARSET webinars on land and water resources covered remote sensing-derived parameters relevant to agriculture within a broader scope. This 4-part introductory webinar will focus on data products, data access, and case-studies demonstrating how remote sensing data can be used for decision-making among the agriculture and food security communities.

This training will address how to use remote sensing data for agriculture monitoring, specifically drought and crop monitoring. The webinar will also provide end-users the ability to evaluate which regions of the world agricultural productivity is above or below long-term trends. This informs decisions pertaining to market stability and humanitarian relief.Learning Objectives: 

By the end of this training, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify which satellites and sensors can be used for agricultural applications
  • Understand the limitations of remote sensing and modeled data for agriculture and food security
  • Acquire specific remote sensing data products that are appropriate for their work
  • Apply remote sensing techniques to crop monitoring, drought, and humanitarian relief

Course Format: 

  • Four online, 1.5-hour parts with sessions offered twice a day
  • A certificate of completion will also be available to participants who attend all sessions and complete the homework assignment, which will be based on the webinar sessions. Note: certificates of completion only indicate the attendee participated in all aspects of the training, they do not imply proficiency on the subject matter, nor should they be seen as a professional certification. 


Prerequisite: Anyone with a background experience on GIS or remote sensing or who have taken this training.


Date Range: April 14, 2020. April 21, 2020. April 28, 2020. May 5, 2020.Times: 10:00-11:30 ET and 16:00-17:30 ET


Registration information are available here and here

More details on this opportunity is available here.

If you need help in responding to this opportunity, please write your question in the comment box below.

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Tailored Opportunities: TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits Programme


The aim of the visit is to initiate research collaboration between African and German scientists with the ultimate goal of developing longer-term links, perhaps through other Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, or German Research Foundation) programs


Postdoctoral researchers from sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa, can go on a cooperation visit lasting three months to an institute in Germany.

Applicants must hold PhD degree in any academic field obtained not earlier than 2015. Women scientists are especially encouraged to apply.


The deadline for this application is 18 May 2020


Applicants must complete the online application form by clicking on the ‘Apply now’ button. The following documents should be uploaded in the online application.

  • CV of maximum two pages including list of 6 publications.
  • Recent invitation letter from a German host. Please click here for useful information on how to identify the best German host in your field.
    Two letters of references from senior scientists familiar with your work
  • Copy of PhD certificate, evidence of proficiency in either English or German
  • Supporting statement from the head  or director of the applicant’s home institute


DFG will cover health insurance, travel expenses and provide subsistence costs for the stay in Germany. The administration and financial operation of TWAS is undertaken by UNESCO in accordance with an agreement signed by the two organizations.

For more information please visit the link: https://twas.org/opportunity/twas-dfg-cooperation-visits-programme

Contact email: exchanges@twas.org

Tailored opportunities: Short term scientific training for PhD students


The Climate, Food and Farming – Global Research Alliance Development Scholarship (CLIFF-GRADS) Programme invites applications from Ph.D. students from developing countries[1] for short term scientific training and research on the measurement, modelling and mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or carbon storage in agricultural systems relevant to developing countries (this may be in the context of enhancing food security). Research is conducted in association with scientists from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).


Individuals applying for the programme must be citizens of developing countries,  undertaking their PhD at a university in a developing country and must not have previously been awarded a CLIFF-GRADS grant. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.


The deadline for Round 4 CLIFF-GRADS student applications is the 1st April 2020.


Applicants must complete the CLIFF-GRADS Round 4 online application form and submit the following necessary documentation merged into a single PDF file. Applications must be in English; any applications in any other language will not be accepted. Required documents include:

  • 1-2 page motivation letter (review call document for specifics)
  • 1-page academic curriculum vitae (CV/Resume) that includes your contact details
  • Letter of support from your PhD supervisor at your current host university

Applications can be made on this online platform.

For more details on this opportunity click here.

Tailored Opportunities: Female Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 2020


CIFOR-ICRAF is committed in developing a diverse and strong pool of research scientists, both for strengthening our institutions and for the increasing needs of the world. The Female Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Programme is offering four Post-doc positions to female scientists in various fields of research study. Female Post-doc Fellows will be assigned a senior scientific supervisor and be a member of one or more Themes/Teams or Regions/Hubs at CIFOR-ICRAF. The Post-doc Fellows will be expected to undertake an approved research study which will include publishing of their results and presentation at international fora.


Female postgraduates are expected to hold a Doctoral degree in a field related to agriculture, agroforestry, forestry and fields related to sustainable land management. Preference will be given to applicants below the age of forty-five years and those from developing and/or investor countries.


 The deadline of this application is 28 February 2020


 Go to http://worldagroforestry.org/working-for-icraf/vacancies

CV, Cover Letter and application form should be in PDF and Labelled with the applicants First and Second Names. Please note that only short-listed applicants meeting requirements will be contacted.


The request from the programme for each Fellow should cover salary, benefits, transport, computing needs, publishing, office needs and travel expenses.

For more information, please visit this link: https://www.cifor.org/career/2004/female-postdoctoral-research-fellowships-2020/