The aim of the “European Academic Network for Capacity Development in Climate Change Adaptations in Africa” (NetCDA) is to strengthen academic education on climate change adaptation strategies in Africa in close collaboration with the graduate school programme of the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). A core principle of the international cooperation between the research institutions is to strengthen joint structures. Long term, NetCDA aims to initiate a strong European-African network of researchers involved in capacity development in Africa. This network is intended to be a hub for the development of new and innovative ideas for capacity development measures in Africa and a contact point for researchers who are interested in getting involved.

The Origin: WASCAL

Since 2010, WASCAL is dedicated to capacity development and strengthening the research infrastructure related to climate change. The academic education of young professionals in association with the German counterparts is also a pivotal component of their work.

In 2012, WASCAL launched its first Doctoral Training Programme (DRP) under the Graduate Schools Program (GSP). As one of the three main pillars of WASCAL, the GSP quickly developed into a remarkable success that was recognised in all participating countries. Compared to other graduate programmes in West Africa, the main difference and advantage of the GSP lies in its strong international focus. This focus is not only reflected in the fact that each of the 10 DRPs supported by WASCAL has one PhD student from each of the 11 WASCAL member countries, but also in the lecturers and supervisors who come from various African countries and from overseas, especially from Germany.

German partners

German partner universities have been involved in the DRPs since the beginning. Of the partners of the NetCDA consortium, most have a long history of working with the DRPs. Others can build upon extensive experience in capacity development in West Africa, which makes them suitable German partners of WASCAL DRPs. A central aim is to have a partner institution in Germany for each WASCAL DRP school. The tasks of the German partners include support in teaching, the development of the academic curriculum and organisational matters, and in the supervision of students.

The Goals of NetCDA

NetCDA takes a long-term approach to strengthening academic education on climate change adaptation strategies in Africa and a network of researchers involved in related academic education. A sustainable implementation shall be achieved in three steps: 

  1. In the short term, PhD students of the graduate schools of the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) will be supported to continue and successfully complete their work.
  2. In the medium term, the German network of WASCAL graduate schools will be strengthened.
  3. In the long term, an academic network will be initiated that brings together climate change researchers from Europe and Africa who are active in education.



Important milestones include the development of a guideline for future cooperations between WASCAL GSP and German partners on new graduate batches of WASCAL. Further, an association, NetCDA, shall be initiated until the end of the project in 2025. A strong external / public presentation of the activities of NetCDA, the involved partners and students, will be developed, which shall be implemented with a sustainable infrastructure. This includes, for instance, representation via the website and social media, as well as the knowledge development of network members in science communication.



NetCDA is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research through the project carrier at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) under the grant number 01LG2301A. The project will run from 1.01.2024 until 31.12.2025.


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