Scientific Capacity Development (SCD) study

FCFA Scientific Capacity Development (SCD) study: Analysis of barriers, opportunities and good practice in Africa (Dec 2014 - July 2015).

ACDI is leading a study in scientific capacity development (SCD) in Africa. The SCD study is financially supported by CDKN, on behalf of the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) research program. FCFA is a 5-year program to enhance scientific understanding and prediction of extreme weather and climate in sub-Saharan Africa. A central component of FCFA involves the development of scientific capacity in Africa, and the SCD study will help to inform FCFA’s scientific capacity development work, including recommendations based on a portfolio of potential SCD activities and approaches for FCFA. Other key outputs include a literature review with detailed case studies, database of SCD activities, and an evaluation framework for SCD activities. 

The Scientific Capacity Development (SCD) studies activities in Africa, as part of CDKN’s Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) programme. The purpose of this study is to answer a central question for FCFA in its inception phase: What SCD options work best in specific African contexts?

To answer this question, ACDI will be working in partnership with other organisations involved in SCD activities in Africa: CSAG, INTASAVE, START, and the ELRC at Rhodes University.The study will start off by looking at existing literature and grey literature on SCD in Africa, and use this to create a typology of SCD approaches and an evaluation framework.

However, most SCD activities in Africa are poorly documented in literature or online, and this is where the knowledge and experiences of our partner institutions becomes crucial to identifying and assessing SCD activities taking place across the continent.  Each organisation will contribute their knowledge of SCD taking place and make use of their networks in this field to capture undocumented activities.

After compiling a database of SCD activities, suppliers and recipients, a selection of these across different regions and contexts in Africa will be approached for in-depth interviews. These interviews will be analysed using an evaluation framework to assess successes and barriers to success. The approach will be to analyse the barriers and ways of overcoming barriers from multiple dimensions, including content, resources, people/personalities, institutional factors, cultural and environmental factors, and process-related features.

The expected impact is that FCFA will use the information and recommendations from this study to inform the activities and outputs for all FCFA scientific capacity development work.

Contact person: Leigh Cobban at

Research Team