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What else is new at SAEON?


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2019 FLAIR Fellow Chris Trisos joined the SAEON Fynbos Node as a postdoc in August 2014. He is currently working on forecasting climate change in Africa and his research will be shared online as free, interactive maps.

On April 4, the African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) and the Royal Society announced the African recipients of the £25M FLAIR (Future Leaders – African Independent Research) scheme.

African scientists drawn from across the continent gathered in Naivasha, Kenya from 4 to 5 April 2019, hosted by The AAS, to celebrate the start of their two-year FLAIR research fellowships.

FLAIR is a programme of The AAS and the Royal Society, with support from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). It is designed to help talented early-career researchers, whose science is focused on the needs of the continent, establish independent careers in African institutions and ultimately, their own research groups.

Up to 30 FLAIR fellowships were awarded in 2019. The 2019 FLAIR-funded scientists were selected from a competitive pool of more than 700 applicants. Their research is diverse, ranging from providing renewable energy solutions and addressing climate change, to tackling food security and targeting health and environmental problems that are most acute for people living in African countries.

Two of the 2019 FLAIR Fellows have ties with SAEON’s Fynbos Node – Robert Skelton, currently at the Node, and Chris Trisos, a former postdoc at the Node. The announcement reads as follows:

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Rob Skelton (right) and fellow scientists investigating the drivers of plant response for diverse functional types in the fynbos. Rob’s latest research is a quantitative assessment of the fundamentals of ecosystems, helping to inform climate-change resilience.

Robert Skelton, South African Environmental Observation Network

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the areas most vulnerable to drought and incremental warming, and yet little is known about the capacity for flora to cope. Skelton will perform a quantitative assessment on the fundamentals of ecosystems: plant performance, health and tolerance under drought conditions, helping to inform climate-change resilience.

Christopher Trisos, University of Cape Town

Africa is projected to have as many as 43 million more people pushed in to extreme poverty due to climate change by 2030. Trisos is working on forecasting climate change in Africa and his research will be shared online as free, interactive maps.

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