PROCOL Kenya First Workshop: Public Understandings of Climate Change in Eastern Africa

Date: November 3rd 2018

Time: 10:00 - 15:00 EAT

The event

This workshop explores common misconceptions between scientific, institutional and public understandings of climate change and examines how more effective methods of communication and behaviour change may be developed. It focuses on sharing knowledge and approaches across the sciences, and on breaking down differences of understanding.

The workshop will focus on three panel discussoins with leading UCL, UK and East African figures. Panellists will present short "think pieces" designed to stimulate debate with the audience.

Attendance is open to all on a first-come-first-served basis.

Why this workshop?

Africa is generally recognised as the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Understanding and responding to these vulnerabilites requires knowledge and cooperation across sectors, disciplines, institutions and diverse audiences. Effective climate research must engage with policymakers, businesses and different public groups.

However, genuinely trans-disciplinary perspectives and research teams remain rare, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Regional understandings of the nature and impact of climate change remain limited with local academics and policymakers often lacking the research data and tools to inform effective responses. Current drives towards change are often led by disconnected, project-level approaches with disconnected funding agendas. In addition, environmental science in sub-Saharan Africa has at times been associated with top-down and repressive policies and practices which marginalise African citizens.

Climate change knowledge, capacity and responses remain patchy.

Future responses to climate change must avoid longstanding associates between science and colonial/post-colonial power dynamics. There is a need for fresh approaches that involve the co-production of knowledge and action across the sciences, with stakeholders from government, civil society and business. Communicating the nature of research and developing common understandings of climate change are essential to this.

This event will be run by Professor Jacqueline McGladeDr Matthew Davies, Dr Freda M'Mborgori, and Professor Henrietta Moore. It is being organised by the Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL and the British Institute in Eastern Africa, with funds from the UCL Global Engagement Office.

IGP hosts Nexus Network event on trans-disciplinary research


The IGP hosted a Nexus Network workshop on the capacity of research communities to deliver inter and transdisciplinary research. The workshop was an opportunity for those engaged in such research to explore and pilot innovative methods for evaluating their own researcher capabilities, and the capacities of their research networks.

Professor Henrietta Moore gave the welcoming address exploring questions of inter- and trans-disciplinary as they relate to the nexus of food, water, energy and environment and linked these to the need for the co-design of more prosperous futures. Dr Davies spoke on the nature of the IGPs trans-disciplinary work in Marakwet Kenya.


Inter- and trans-disciplinary research practices are often explicitly encouraged by funders seeking to steer research towards addressing ‘grand challenges’. Strategies employed by funding agencies, such as SDGs, Horizon2020; Belmont Forum, GCRF and NSF Grand Challenges, often include efforts to increase and enhance the interdisciplinary research capacity of research organisations, as well as the individual and collective interdisciplinary capabilities of their researchers.

Acknowledging such incentives and strategies of funding bodies, this workshop brought attention to the nature of the relationships developed from research orientated towards ‘global challenges’ and assess the attendant changes to both the capacity of research communities and the capabilities of individual and collective researchers to engage in these relationships productively.


Participants in this workshop piloted a mixed-methods evaluation framework, developed and tested by researchers based at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, to assess their own research projects. This evaluative framework allows researchers to understand how the diversity of their collaborative trans-disciplinary interactions has changed during the course of their project, and to measure and compare these changes for the organisational benefit of future research.