Image Description: People and animals at a well in Niger with sparse trees in the background
A team of University of Florida (UF) faculty members has been awarded a grant of $1.6 million to study the impact of climate change in West Africa, the Minerva Research Initiative announced on Friday 24 February 2022. The project, Social & institutional determinants of vulnerability & resilience to climate hazards in the Sahel, was one of seventeen grants selected from 220 applications in this year’s competition.
The research team aims to understand and explain the variations in responses to the effects of climate change in the region. It is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of scholars affiliated with the UF Sahel Research Group, including project P.I. Leonardo A. Villalón, Professor of African Politics and currently Dean of the International Center and Associate Provost, and co-P.Is Sarah McKune (Environmental & Global Health and Center for African Studies) and Renata Serra (African Studies), with contributions by Gregory Kiker (Agricultural and Biologial Engineering) and Steven Radil of the US Air Force Academy.
Image Description: from left to right, Leonardo A. Villalón, Sarah McKune, Renata Serra, Gregory Kiker, and Steven Radil
The Minerva Research Initiative, launched by the US Secretary of Defense in 2008, supports university-based social science research aimed at improving basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.
The three-year research project will focus on the six countries of the Sahel region of West Africa: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. These are among the least developed countries on earth according to United Nations rankings, and highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. In the past decade they have also been subject to intense pressures from many sources, including violent extremist movements. Yet the region also shows continued sources of resilience among its diverse populations, drawing on its historical models of adapting to uncertainty. The research team aims to understand and explain the variations in responses to the effects of climate change in the region. More information on the project can be found on the website of the UF Sahel Research Group.