ACDI draws together a network of researchers at UCT and beyond to engage with ACDI in various ways, from teaching and student project supervision, to research and knowledge influencing. 

ACDI’s offers both institutional and individual membership. The aim is to be inclusive, in the spirit of collaboration and community-building, rather than exclusive. Institutional membership involves both recognised research groupings, academic departments and other university entities whose area of work intersects strongly with ACDI, and who have a history of active membership of ACDI.

ACDI’s core team acts as a hub, which aims to provide the services that enable the network to be more than the sum of its parts. The team comprises the Director, administrative support staff, and communications team. Additionally, the HQ includes a number of students, Postdoctoral researchers, and project managers who work on ACDI-led projects in collaboration with the ACDI network, as well as the ACDI Masters Convener, who coordinates all aspects of the flagship ACDI Masters in Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Research Staff

  • Jiska De Groot, Senior Researcher

    Expertise: Energy, poverty and development

    Jiska is an energy and development geographer based at the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative. She holds a PhD in Human Geography focused on renewable energy and stakeholder engagement, an MSc in International Development Studies and a MA in Cultural Anthropology. In her current position as Senior Researcher at the University of Cape Town, her work focuses on the human dimension of sustainable energy access, energy poverty, gender and capacity building. She has a strong interest in conducting research that is policy-and practice-relevant with a focus on achieving local development benefits, whilst assisting with local change processes. Jiska currently leads the research support programme of the FCDO-funded Transforming Energy Access Programme, the establishment of a network of southern expertise for the energy access sector and provides Gender and social inclusion support to a range of international energy and climate change programmes.

  • Petra Holden, Researcher

    Dr Petra Holden is a transdisciplinary conservation scientist specialises in research on nature-based solutions. Crossing natural and social sciences, her work intersects social equity, water security, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and climate change. Her past research includes attributing the impacts of climate change on water security and quantifying how well nature-based solutions can offset anthropogenic climate change impacts. Currently, her focus is on research to inform nature-based solutions that are more equitable and sustainable at local levels while accounting for changes in the climate. In 2023, Petra’s work on nature-based solutions was recognised on an international stage through receiving the Frontiers Planet Prize, which awards research that contributes towards solutions to planetary environmental challenges. Petra also provides nature-based solution science advisory support to policy and practice. This includes serving on an international global advisory panel for gender inclusive nature-based solutions and as an advisor to the South African National Biodiversity Institute for supporting the access of international climate finance for nature-based solution projects and programmes.

    For more information on Petra’s research see Google Scholar,  ORCID and the TES NbS project.

  • Glynis Humphrey, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Glynis is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the African Climate Development Institute (ACDI) in the TES NbS project. Her current research project is centered on understanding the socio-economic benefits and constraints of Nature-Based Solutions in achieving social equity in southern Africa. Glynis core interests are in people (indigenous knowledge), biodiversity, climate, fire, ecosystem services, and the use of trans and inter-disciplinary research to address adaptive management and conservation policies.

    Glynis’s postdoctoral project at the Plant Conservation Unit (UCT) involved investigating woody cover change in relation to climate, fire, and land use history in north-east Namibia using remote sensing, GIS and repeat photographs. Her PhD (2018) research focussed on the use inter-disciplinary methods to investigate the spatial and temporal fire regime patterns and knowledge exchange between rural livelihood sustainability and governance to address fire management policy in Namibia.

    Between her studies, Glynis worked in the field in South Africa, Peru, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Professional experiences include work as a conservation ecologist in Botswana, field guiding, wild-life research and monitoring in South Africa, environmental consulting specializing in arid-zone ecological restoration and environmental assessments in Namibia, and community-based integrated fire management project in South Africa and Tanzania. Glynis has a PhD (Plant Conservation Unit, UCT), and MSc in Conservation biology (Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town), and a BSc. (Hons) in Environmental Science (Rhodes University). ORCID

  • Tawanda Jimu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Tawanda Jimu joined the ACDI as a post-doctoral researcher. His work is part of the UCT Khusela Ikamva sustainable campus project. Tawanda’s research focusses on sustainability transitions and management, human dimensions of small-scale fisheries in both inland and coastal contexts. His previous work has been interdisciplinary in nature and it covered concepts and insights from regional fish trade, sustainable management of natural resources, integrated resource governance, fisheries resources conflicts, and the links between poverty, inequality, land and agrarian studies.

    Tawanda holds a PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies (Stellenbosch), MPhil in Poverty, Land and Agrarian studies (PLAAS, University of the Western Cape), Development Studies (UNISA) and Bachelor’s degree (UZ). He is also a SAP Certified Application Associate in Financial Accounting. Prior to joining ACDI he worked on a WorldFish Africa fish trade project, and other regional and international programs.

  • Kagiso Keatimilwe, Researcher

    In his role at the ACDI, Kagiso Keatimilwe is responsible for maintaining relationships with partners, identifying funding opportunities and leading the development of large research proposals. He has previously worked in the Botswana public service, United Nations Development Programme, as well as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where he gained knowledge of environmental issues, experience in design and implementation of environmental projects, as well as building and maintaining collaborative research relationships. He has also been involved in civic activities in Botswana, particularly in education and culture. Kagiso holds an Honours degree in Town Planning as well as a Masters degree in Natural Resources Planning.


  • Nadine Methner, Research Officer

    Nadine Methner is a Research Fellow at the ACDI. Nadine’s research interests focus on: strengthening the evidence base for ecosystem based adaptation in relation to climate risks and livelihoods resilience; analysis and advancement of the Water-Energy-Food-Biodiversity-Land Nexus in the context of sustainable livelihoods; identifying processes and patterns of interactions in complex governance systems; strengthening the adaptive capacity of local and regional organizations through joined knowledge integration, collective learning and collaboration; integrative systems thinking and cross-scale analyses; and democratisation of scientific knowledge and policy decision making processes.

    Nadine is particularly interested in engaging in and advancing of transdisciplinary research aimed at societal transformation in the context of climate change and persistent levels of inequality. 

    Tel: +27(0)21 650 2915 ·

  • Andreas Luiz Schwarz Meyer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Expertise: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Global Change Biology, Macroecology

    Andreas is a biodiversity scientist whose research focuses on understanding the impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems, and people. He employs computational tools to predict when and where climate risks to biodiversity and people will emerge, and uses this information to support informed decision-making and adaptive management for both nature and people. His work also involves exploring the potential risks to biodiversity from emerging approaches such as carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation modification. Andreas is also interested in understanding how climate mobility and biodiversity conservation will interact in Africa, and how adaptive management strategies can address the challenges posed by this interaction. Other research interests include macroecology and evolutionary biology.Andreas holds a PhD in Zoology from Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil, with a stay at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, USA.

  • Assumpta Onyeagoziri, Postdoctoral Researcher

    Assumpta is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the TES NbS (Towards Equitable and Sustainable Nature-based Solutions in Southern Africa’s Water Towers) project. She is working on processed-based biogeochemical, land surface and/or hydrological modelling. Specifically modelling nature-based solutions for trade-offs and long-term resilience.

    She has a background in Mathematics and the mathematical modelling of ecological systems. She completed her PhD at Stellenbosch University, where she researched the complexity and stability of mutualistic local and meta-networks. Also, she completed her MSc at Stellenbosch University and focused on the structural emergence in pollination networks of Galápagos Islands. Before then, she attended the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, South Africa, where she obtained a Masters degree in Mathematical Sciences. She obtained her B.Sc (Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Ilorin.

    In December 2020, she was awarded `Outstanding Community Women Leader / Role Model' by Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA) Western Cape Chapter. Also in 2019, she received the Nigeria Community Excellence Award `Outstanding Nigerian Female Achievement in South Africa' by the Nigerian Voice Newspaper South Africa.


  • Romaric C. Odoulami, Junior Researcher

    Image removed.Romaric, through his research, aims to enhance human development outcomes in the context of climate change. His research interest is around assessing changes in regional climate risks arising from human influence on the climate in Africa. He focuses on quantifying changes in the risk of weather and climate extremes in Africa using the attribution science concept and climate modelling. His current research involves assessing the influence of human-induced warming on climate/weather parameters used in insurance risk modelling and the cost of insurance. His focus is primarily on agricultural insurance in Africa. Other research interests of his include improving knowledge on the possible impact of solar geoengineering on the future climate in Africa.

    He completed a PhD in Meteorology and Climate Science in 2016 and has a strong background in Agricultural Sciences. For his PhD research, he used climate models to examine the potential impacts of large-scale forestation on climate extremes over West Africa.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2909       Email:         ORCID        Google Scholar

  • Britta Rennkamp, Senior Researcher

    Expertise: Climate policy, energy policy, sustainable development, energy transitions, political economy, science and technology studies, innovation policy

    Britta's research focuses on climate policy and technology in developing countries and the links between poverty, inequality, energy and mitigation of climate change. In her previous work she analysed renewable energy and nuclear programmes, carbon taxation, green industrial and innovation policies. Britta has published various papers and book chapters on the overall question on integrating policies on emissions reductions, energy supply and development in Africa and Latin America. 

    Britta Rennkamp holds a PhD in Political Science, and a Diplom/MSc in Regional Sciences – Political Sciences, Economics, Latin American History, Spanish and Portuguese language and literature. She has ten years of international work experience in sustainable development research, consulting and teaching, which she acquired in Brazil, Germany and South Africa. Read more.

  • Stella Shumba, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Dorcas Stella Shumba is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ACDI and Carnegie Fellow under the Developing Emerging Academic Leaders (DEAL) Fellowship Program. Her research assesses the recent advances in, and challenges for, weather index insurance in managing climate change risk among smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. She collaborates with Professor Mark New, who is the Primary Investigator. Her research interests overall include climate change and farming, climate change adaptation, climate finance, and the nexus between risk, resilience and sustainable development. She is involved in climate advocacy as a Green Ambassador for Climate Change in Africa. To improve her capacity for effective participation and involvement in national, regional and global climate change policy processes and decision making, she recently completed a Climate Leadership and Diplomacy Course offered by the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support Centre (AGNES) and will soon be taking part in a Science Diplomacy Course offered by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). In her advisory roles, Stella serves as an Advisory Board Member (Environment & Corporate Social Responsibility) for the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO Steel), and Climate Change Consultant contributing towards the drafting of a World Bank sponsored Climate Change Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR) for Zimbabwe. Before taking up the Carnegie Fellowship, Stella was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at the Women’s University of Africa in Zimbabwe. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from Massey University in New Zealand.

  • Darlington Sibanda, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Darlington is part of a team of researchers from University of Cape Town and Arizona State University (USA) who are currently working on a research project titled Accelerating Climate Adaptation via Meso-Level Integration (ACAMI) funded by Gates Foundation. The project seeks to analyse the role played by intermediary organisations in climate change adaptation with a special focus on small scale producers in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. He is also part of a team a team of researchers in the process of completing a UKRI-funded project titled Transforming Social Inequalities Through Inclusive Climate Action (TSITICA). . He is a Co-Chair of Adaptation Network (AN)of South Africa’s Policy and Climate Finance Committee. Darlington also remains an active member Alumni of the Africa Centres of Excellence funded by DAAD. Previously, he worked at the Institute for Poverty Land & Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) on Water Research Commission-funded Projects. Darlington has a PHD in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies from the University of the Western Cape. Darlington also worked for the Western Cape Education Department and Ministry of Education (Zimbabwe).


  • Debbie Sparks, Senior Researcher

    Image removed.Designation: Senior Researcher
    Expertise: Climate change, climate change mitigation, youth, training, capacity building

    Debbie Sparks is a Senior Researcher at ACDI and has more than 20 years of experience working in the broad climate change arena. Her current research interests are on climate change and youth. Her expertise and strengths include research in the fields of energy and climate change, capacity building, curriculum design, teaching and training. Debbie has co-convened the ACDI Masters' module on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation since its inception. She delivers training and assistance to developing countries under the UNFCCC's Technology Needs Assessment project. Debbie holds a MSc and PhD in Environmental and Geographical Science from the University of Cape Town.

    Email:    |   Google Scholar

  • Anna Taylor, Researcher

    Expertise: climate adaptation, urban governance, African cities, vulnerability assessment, risk communication, groundwater governance and adaptive management, transdisciplinarity, embedded
    research, case study research, organizational ethnography

    Anna is a geographer / environmental scientist specializing in urban climate adaptation, with a particular interest in transformative ways of governing water-related risks and vulnerabilities associated with climate change and urbanization. She engages in transdisciplinary research on climate resilient, sustainable urbanism, public decision making and multi-level governance. The research directions she is actively pursuing are: (1) understanding the institutional and organizational requirements for climate resilient urban (ground)water governance; and (2) developing a transdisciplinary methodology for climate-sensitive decision analysis. Anna has 15 years of experience working on research and consulting projects of various shapes and sizes, all related in some way to climate risks and adaptation. Anna’s PhD and post-doctoral work focused on climate adaptation in urban contexts, notably in Cape Town, Windhoek, Durban, Harare and Lusaka through the Mistra Urban Futures, CLIMWAYS, FRACTAL, LIRA 2030 and GreenGov projects. She completed her PhD entitled ‘Urban climate adaptation as a process of organisational decision making’ in 2017, investigating three cases of urban climate adaptation in the City of Cape Town.

    Prior to joining ACDI, Anna worked with the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) and the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at UCT. She continues to work on collaborative projects with CSAG and ACC colleagues. Before joining UCT, Anna worked for the Stockholm Environment Institute, at their office in Oxford, UK.


  • Christopher Trisos, Senior Researcher

    Christopher's research focus is on the intersection of climate change, biodiversity and human well-being. He directs the Climate Risk Lab. The lab builds tools to predict when and where climate change risks appear, and how society can respond to climate risks in a way that is rapid, just and equitable.

    He is a Co-ordinating Lead Author for climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability for the Africa region of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 6th Assessment Report and a member of the Core Writing Team of the IPCC Synthesis Report. He has also consulted on climate change risk and adaptation for the World Bank.

    Before moving to ACDI, Christopher spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at University of Maryland, where his research focused on biodiversity, climate change and geoengineering. He completed his doctorate at Oxford. He teaches a graduate course on interdisciplinary and actionable science.



    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2918 ·

  • Mark New, Researcher

    Mark NewDesignation: Professor, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department

    Expertise: Climate Impacts Modelling; Climate Change Attribution; Loss and Damage; Adaptation Finance

    Mark New is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT. He is also Director of the ARUA (African Research Universities Alliance) Centre of Excellence for Climate and Development, in which UCT partners with the University of Ghana and Nairobi University, to drive pan-African research and teaching on climate change in Africa. In 2023, Mark received the Frontiers Planet Prize, which awards research that contributes towards solutions to planetary environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water overuse. He has also been awarded the for Piers Sellers Prize for world leading contributions to solution-focused climate research, has twice been named in Apolitical’s list of the 100 most influential people in climate policy, and is the leading African scientist on the Reuters “Hot List” of influential climate scientists. In addition to his senior management positions, Mark has over twenty-five years’ experience in climate change research, teaching and project management. His research has encompassed detection of climate change trends, climate modelling and scenarios, assessment of uncertainty in climate projections and impacts, attribution of climate change impacts, and climate change adaptation. His current research focuses on climate change risk and climate adaptation, an African focus, including: (i) improved understanding of climate processes, climate projections, climate risk and attribution; (ii) climate impacts and adaptation, especially with regard to water, agriculture and food security, and compound impacts across sectors; (iii) barriers and enablers of climate adaptation and resilience. He has also contributed to scholarship and teaching on engaged research and transdisciplinary leadership. Mark has been principal investigator on over twenty research projects, including ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) a 10M Dollar project from 2014-2018 that worked across 10 countries in Africa and Asia and SAF-ADAPT (the South Africa – Flanders Adaptation Research and Training Collaboration) an $3M project aimed at building research capacity on climate change adaptation in South Africa. He has served in a range of science and policy coordination, advisory and editorial roles, including as (i) Editor for Global Environmental Change and Environmental Research Letters, (ii) as an author on a number of IPCC reports, most recently as Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 17 of the current Working Group II Sixth Assessment, (iii) a Science Committee member for the World Adaptation Science Programme, and (iv) a member of the Science Review Group for the UK Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services; and (v) an advisor to the SA National Biodiversity Institute’s Green Climate Fund project pipeline. Read more

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2920

    Email: Please contact Mark New directly for research related matters:


  • Joyce Kimutai, PhD student

    Image removed.Joyce Kimutai joined ACDI as a Masters research student in July 2018 as part of the AXA Research Chair Programme in African Climate Risk. She is now pursuing her PhD at the ACDI. Joyce Kimutai is a Climate Scientist affiliated with Kenya Meteorological Services and the Grantham Institute of Climate Change. Her research has increasingly focused on analysing the role of anthropogenic climate change in extreme weather/climate events and raising climate risk awareness among decision-makers in East Africa. She is currently the alternate IPCC Focal point for Kenya and negotiates for Kenya on agenda items under Science, Review and Systematic observations, Global Stocktake, and loss & damage at UNFCCC COP sessions. She participated as one of the Lead authors for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land in the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6).

  • Tiro Nkemelang, PhD student

    Tiro joined ACDI in July 2018 as a PhD student after being awarded the Doctorate Scholarship in the Attribution of Impacts of Climatic Extremes in Southern Africa under the AXA Research Chair Programme in African Climate Risk. He is working with a team of researchers from the University of Cape Town and University of Oxford that looks to locate the fingerprint of anthropogenic climate change on weather and climate extremes in agricultural and hydrological systems in Southern Africa. Tiro’s research focuses on impact attribution on agricultural and hydrological systems in Southern Africa. Tiro completed his MSc Climate Change and Development in 2018 from UCT’s Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences under the ACDI’s ASSAR scholarship. He holds a BSc (Hons) Meteorology degree from the University of Reading (UK). He has worked as an Associate Researcher in the Climate Change Division at the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) and as a Meteorologist with the Botswana Meteorological Services.

  • Lavinia Perumal, PhD student

    Lavinia is a PhD candidate working on assessing the ways in which future infrastructure developments will change natural ecosystems across SSA. Lavinia completed her BSc undergraduate and Honours degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Environmental Science and Geography department. In 2014 Lavinia moved to Rhodes University in Grahamstown to complete her master’s degree at the Botany department. Besides her PhD, Lavinia has several roles and spaces within which she works. She works with several transdisciplinary organizations and teams as a project coordinator and facilitator. Lavinia is also a Design Thinking coach helping people turn their ideas into actions. She’s interested in using her skills to teach, learn and turn information into valuable knowledge that can address some of the challenges facing society.

  • Tania Duba, PhD student

    Supervisors: Chris Jack, Anna Taylor, Juliet Hermes

    Tania Duba is a PhD candidate working on investigating the influence of a participatory scenario planning process on climate risk perceptions in the small-scale fisheries sector. With a strong academic background in oceanography and a keen interest in unravelling the complexities of climate change, climate extremes, climate impact, and climate adaptation, she is committed to making meaningful contributions to the coastal climate science field and small-scale fisheries livelihood. Tania completed her MSc in environmental and geographical science in 2019 and holds a BSC (Hons) in oceanography from UCT. Alongside her PhD, Tania contributes in her affiliated institutions such as CSAG and SAEON as a research assistant and public engagement facilitator.


Individual members are known as Associates, and are people at UCT who actively engage with ACDI through research, teaching, student supervision or other activities. Associates may or may not be jointly-affiliated to an institutional member. Associates will have research and teaching interests that overlap substantially with the ACDI intellectual domains.

  • Babatunde Abiodun, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Associate Professor, Department of Environmental & Geographical Science, UCT
    Expertise: African climate variability and change; landcover - climate linkages

    Associated Professor Babatunde J. Abiodun

    Babatunde Abiodun is from Nigeria. He is a member of CSAG and lecturer for the EGS department. He teaches climatology, climate modeling, atmospheric sciences, and a postgraduate research methods course. Babatunde's research interest is in development, evaluation, and application of dynamic atmospheric models. He works with various types of atmospheric models (i.e. boundary layer models, meso-scale models, regional climate models, global climate models, and air pollution models), but focuses on a model that has capability for horizontal grid adaptation (called CAM-EULAG). He evaluates atmospheric models, using them to study atmospheric systems (or conditions) that induce extreme events (like droughts, extreme rainfall, heat waves, and air-pollution episodes) in Africa. He also uses these models for predicting seasonal climates, projecting future climates under different emission scenarios, and understanding potential impacts of land-cover changes on regional climates. Read more.


  • Rebeca Biancardi Aleu, Department of Geological Sciences

    Image removed.Rebeca holds a master’s degree (MSc) in African Politics from SOAS, University of London and a bachelor’s degree (BA with honours) in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her masters’ dissertation is a political analysis of the DR Congo’s Electoral Glissement and Presidential Term Limits.

    Before joining ACDI, she worked as a Guest researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Sweden on the ongoing project Enhancing trust in government for effective water governance (EnTruGo) – jointly coordinated by SEI HQ, African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI), Wageningen University (WUR) and The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The objective of her study was to examine how participatory processes in water governance affect Indigenous and marginalised groups and how, in turn, these affect their relationship with the state.

    In 2019 she worked as an intern and researcher at the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) in South Africa. She was part of the IFAD multi-country climate risk analysis investigating the effects of national policies and plans on climate sensitive sectors in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, eSwatini and Lesotho. During her studies, she worked as a human rights researcher at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in London, United Kingdom.

  • Leslie Ann Ashburner, Transforming Energy Access – Learning Partnership (TEA-LP)

    Designation: Project Lead at Transforming Energy Access – Learning Partnership (TEA-LP)
    Expertise: Capacity development in Higher Education, low carbon development in Africa.

    Leslie is currently leading on a UK Aid funded, 5-year programme to build post-graduate capacity for the clean energy access sector in Africa. The Transforming Energy Access – Learning Partnership supports African universities to design and implement multi-disciplinary curricula, responsive to the needs of the energy access sector, linking entrepreneurial, management and community engagement skills with hard skills related to clean energy.

    Leslie has a Master’s degree in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Since 2015, she has worked as a project manager at UCT, with a focus on developing African higher education capacity for climate change responses. Previous projects include coordinating the development of a southern African Master’s curriculum in climate change and sustainable development, and the delivery of the Adaptation Futures 2018 conference in Cape Town. 

    Read more.


  • Katye Altieri, Department of Oceanography

    Designation: Lecturer, Department of ceanography
    Expertise: Air pollution, climate change, energy and development

    Dr Katye Alteri

    Katye is a Lecturer in the Oceanography Department at the University of Cape Town. She was formerly a Senior Researcher at the Energy Research Centre at UCT, MPP at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Visiting Research Fellow at Brown University, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University, NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow, and PhD student at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University

    Katye's research interests in the broad area of climate change and sustainable development focus on low-carbon developmental pathways, and the relationship between climate change, air pollution, energy production and human health. Recent work includes understanding the potential air pollutant emissions from the development of unconventional natural gas resources in the Karoo, the air quality co-benefits of South African climate change policies, and the health benefits of improved access to clean energy. In addition, work on the international Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project focused on achieving development and mitigation objectives through decarbonization development pathways in South Africa. She is also interested in developing air pollution reduction and climate change mitigation strategies to incentivize economic development along low-carbon energy pathways in South Africa. Read more.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 1222

  • Res Altwegg, Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (SEEC)

    Designation: Associate Professor, Department of Statistical Sciences
    Expertise: Statistical ecology; wildlife demography

    Associate Professor Res Altwegg

    Res Altwegg is an associate professor at UCT's Department of Statistical Sciences.

    "Decision making in conservation often depends on observational data sets where key processes cannot be observed directly. We are estimating wildlife demography from capture-mark-recapture data using models that explicitly account for the observation process," Res explains about his work at SEEC. Current projects focus on the declining African penguin and the rare but increasing peregrine falcon, among many other species. 

    Res has been studying the connection between life-history evolution and population/community ecology. Conceptually, he strives to combine field observations with controlled experiments and theoretical concepts, and aims to directly connect theory and data through statistical methods, and often uses the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) to evaluate how well his data support different models corresponding to different biological hypotheses.

    One of the main projects Res has worked on, aims to understand the range dynamics of Southern African birds. Many of these birds are presently expanding their range, while others are losing ground. He has been examining the demography of these species to learn what may drive their local population dynamics, and developing methods to quantify range changes more reliably. This work is in collaboration with Dr Birgit Erni at the Department of Statistical Science (UCT) and his colleagues in the Global Change Research Group at SANBI, Dr Guy Midgley and Dr Phoebe Barnard.

    For his PhD, Res investigated predator-induced plasticity in the life history of water frogs (Rana lessonae / esculenta). Using artificial ponds and terrestrial outdoor enclosures, he was able to manipulate the growth environment and examine the reaction of these animals during two different stages in their complex life cycle. For his Diploma (MSc), he investigated dispersal between local populations within a metapopulation of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), and examined how the decision to disperse depended on an individual's age, sex, and morphological characteristics. Read more. 

    Tel: +27 21 650 5750 ·

  • Phoebe Barnard, Honorary Research Associate

    Designation: Chief Executive Officer, Stable Planet Alliance and Affiliate Full Professor, University of Washington
    Expertise: Societal and environmental futures; climate and ecosystem restoration; youth leadership collaboration; species vulnerability to environmental and climate change.

    Pheobe Barnard

    Phoebe is a passionate champion of agency and positive societal change in distressingly turbulent times. Core coauthor of World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency (2020) and lead author of World Scientists’ Warnings into Action: Local to Global (2021), she is focused on accelerating and aligning global action towards a regenerative future and a kinder, wiser, humbler civilization. Phoebe is now based in the USA as founding CEO of the Stable Planet Alliance, a global coalition of organizations and people working to bend the curve on human planetary impact; affiliate full professor of the University of Washington; and honorary research associate of the ACDI and FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at UCT.

    Phoebe has worked on diverse sustainability and biodiversity issues, large and small -- from ecoregional and national biodiversity and climate change strategic planning, policy and implementation, and the global status and trends of ecosystems and their ability to support human health, livelihoods and wellbeing (on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment board), to ecological vulnerability and adaptation studies on endemic species of the fynbos biome (while based at SANBI and UCT). Phoebe now concentrates on policy change, human behaviour change and media, including filmmaking, as a way to hasten humanity’s degrowth and mindset shift, and to get as many species as possible to get through the gauntlet of the next few hundred years of dangerous climate change. Read more.


  • Anton Cartwright, African Centre for Cities (ACC)

    Designation: Founder of PACE (NPO), Researcher at Credible Carbon and African Centre for Cities
    Expertise: Economics of climate change, low carbon urban development in Africa, climate change risk.

    Anton Cartwright

    Anton is an economist with Masters degrees in Development Economics and Environmental Change and Management respectively. Anton is currently completing his PhD at the University of Cape Town exploring the interface between economic theory and the green economy. Anton's work focuses on the application of economics to Africa’s urban transition, green finance, environmental degradation and poverty alleviation and the implication of these issues for the discipline of economics itself.

    As an economist Anton has consulted on Africa's emerging green economy, sustainable urbanisation, climate change adaptation, carbon mitigation policies, bioenergy, sustainable trade and integrated water resource management. In 2010 he joined ACC to head their Climate Change City Lab, a role that saw him become the Mistra Urban Futures Researcher on the green economy in Cape Town. Anton continues to be a senior associate of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and is a founding member of PACE, a not-for profit organisation developing poverty-alleviating carbon trading projects in southern Africa. Read more.


  • Megan Cole, Future Water

    Designation: Research Fellow at the Future Water Institute and the Minerals to Metals Initiative
    Expertise: Sustainable development indicators and policy; sustainability and the mining industry; water inequality and water-use efficiency; quantitative analysis; spatial mapping in GIS

    Megan Cole

    Dr Megan Cole is a Research Fellow at the Future Water Institute and the Minerals to Metals Initiative at UCT. She has a DPhil from the University of Oxford (Sustainability Science), a MScEng from the University of the Witwatersrand (Rock Engineering) and a BScHons from the University of Cape Town (Geology). Prior to her DPhil she worked in the mining industry, working as a geologist, geotechnical engineer and research manager for Anglo Platinum, and she worked on climate change strategy and research in developing countries at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. Her DPhil research downscaled the planetary boundaries and ‘safe and just space’ framework (or ‘doughnut’) to the national and provincial levels for the first time, explored the challenges of disaggregating national environmental and social data for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to sub-national levels, and analysed water inequality and water-use efficiency at the local level, making recommendations on SDG 6 indicators. Her post-doctoral research explored new territory in operationalising the SDGs in the mining industry by mapping and measuring the socio-economic vulnerability of all mining communities across South Africa. This included classifying types of mining communities, and a case study on gold mining. Her current research includes developing a National Mine Closure Risk and Opportunity Framework and Atlas; assessing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks in the mining industry; analysing coal mine closure, community vulnerability and local governance in the context of the just transition in South Africa; and measuring the social impact of mining company spend on local socio-economic development projects.


  • Oliver Crespo, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Research Officer, Climate System Analysis Group
    Expertise: Agronomy, algorithms and crop modelling for climate change optimization; environmental science

    Dr Olivier Crespo

    Olivier is working towards a better understanding of short and long-term climate change issues in connection with agricultural, and especially smallholder community farming systems, in Africa. His research interests include resources allocation and management, climate change, and optimal adaptation under uncertainty.

    The ACDI is affiliated with CSAG through multiple research projects. Within these projects, Olivier participates in improving global agricultural modeling, aiding better understanding of climate impacts on the agricultural sector, and enhancing adaptation capacity in developing and developed countries.Through one such project; the WRC project, Olivier recently took steps to develop crop forecasts for two locations in South Africa, aimed at "better" learning from seasonal forecasts and improved agricultural decision making on monthly to yearly time scales. Read more.



  • James Cullis, Honorary Research Associate

    James Cullis is a water resources engineer with over 20 years of experience particularly in Africa, but also in the UK, US, Australia and even Antarctica. He is particularly interested in addressing global water challenges in support of sustainable economic development and adaptation to climate change. His broad range of expertise includes hydrology and hydrological analysis, environmental flow requirements, hydro-economics, engineering design, infrastructure planning and feasibility studies, climate change risks and adaptation. He also maintains strong links to research and academia both in Africa and globally.

  • Guy Cunliffe, Transforming Energy Access – Learning Partnership (TEA-LP)

    Designation: Research Officer/Project Coordinator

    Expertise: Sustainable Energy and Development, Energy Access, Energy Efficiency, Climate Policy

    Guy Cunliffe

    Guy is currently working at the ACDI on the Transforming Energy Access Learning Partnership programme. He is the Project Coordinator, and his role comprises preparing and assisting TEA-LP partner universities with their curriculum design and accreditation deliverables, as well as workshop coordination and communications with partners and stakeholders.

    Guy’s broader research interests include climate change mitigation, adaptation and equity, and South African energy policy and development. In 2018, in collaboration with prominent climate equity experts from four different countries, Guy completed a study on the role of domestic equity in the preparation of NDCs for Canada, the EU, Kenya and South Africa. Previously Guy worked at the Energy Research Centre as a member of the Energy Efficiency team, focusing on Measurement and Verification of EEDSM projects. Guy was also a student at UCT, having completed his MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering in 2017, following a BSc in Mech Eng (also at UCT) in 2013.


  • Leigh Cobban, ARUA-CD

    Expertise: Climate change education, climate change graduate pathways, climate change vulnerability & adaptation, sustainable development, project coordination and development

    Leigh is an independent researcher and facilitator associated with ACDI. She holds an MSc in Environmental Science. Leigh's work includes supporting new curriculum development, helping to conceptualise and develop new programs, and building ACDI’s understanding of best practice in climate change education in Africa and the global South through research.

    She has worked on or developed over a dozen projects in these areas, including a scientific capacity development study to inform capacity development in the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) project, and the development of an innovative Masters curriculum in Climate Change and Sustainable Development for Southern Africa. In the ARUA-CD, Leigh has worked with the Curriculum Working Group.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3846 ·

  • Johan Enqvist, Honorary Research Affiliate

    Expertise: Civic engagement, environmental stewardship, human–nature relationships, inter- and transdisciplinary research, natural resource management, network analysis, sense of place, urban social-ecological systems, water governance

    Johan Enqvist has worked with ACDI since February 2018. He is currently an Honorary Research Affiliate, leading the project Drought as a Leverage Point For Urban Climate Adaptation, funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) through Stockholm Resilience Centre. The project aims to explore in what ways Cape Town’s recent water crisis impacted residents’ water saving attitudes and behaviours, and what happens to this impact after the crisis is over. Johan’s first two years at ACDI was as a postdoctoral fellow in the AXA-funded project Urban Governance for Resilience in the Global South. This project explored the governance of urban resilience and water security in Cape Town, and characterized what priorities the City and various other actors and stakeholders have regarding resilience-building and social justice.

    Johan is interested in how people living in cities relate to nature and the ecosystems that support them, especially understanding what enables and encourages more sustainable behaviour. He completed his PhD in Sustainability Science in 2017 at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden. His doctoral project focused on the notion of stewardship, as expressed through civic engagement for protecting urban ecosystems. Johan holds an MSc in Ecosystems, Governance, and Resilience from Stockholm University and a BSc in Environment and Development from Södertörn University. Throughout his training, he has focused on people's efforts collaborate to manage and protect green (and blue) areas close to where they live. He has conducted fieldwork in Cape Town (2019), New York, USA (2016), in Bengaluru, India (2011-2012 and in 2013), in Zanzibar, Tanzania (2011), and in Babati, Tanzania (2010).

    Email: · ORCID number: 0000-0002-6300-0572 · Google scholar  · ResearchGate profile

  • Lindsay Gilson, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU)

    Designation: Associate Professor and Deputy Director: Plant Conservation Unit
    Expertise: Applied palaeoecology, conservation and ecosystem management; theoretical ecology: resilience, thresholds, heterogeneity, variability, complexity and non-equilibrium; linking ecological and social systems

    Associate Professor Lindsey GillsonLindsey Gillson is Associate Professor and Deputy Director at the Plant Conservation Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town. Her interests include landscape ecology, conservation biology and applied palaeoecology. Her research focusses on long-term ecosystem dynamics, and the implications for conservation, sustainability and ecosystem services. She has a focus on African ecosystems, especially savannas, and is interested in multidisciplinary studies of these complex socio-ecological systems. She is author of “Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Change: Using palaeoecology to manage dynamic landscapes in the Anthropocene.

    Understanding landscape change over time is essential in predicting and managing ecosystem services sustainably in the future. Climate change interacts with multiple other drivers, including land-use, fire and herbivory, and palaeoecological studies can help in unravelling these complexities. It is especially important to understand how, when and why ecosystems reach tipping points, when sudden changes can have dramatic impacts on biodiversity and socio-ecological systems.

    As part of the ACDI-funded project “Benchmarks for the Future” students James MacPherson, Cherie Forbes, and Abraham Dabengwa undertook palaeoecological studies near biome boundaries, enabling their resilience (or otherwise) to be studied over long-time periods. This project complements ongoing work by Professor Timm Hoffman and his team, who use repeat photography to investigate landscape changes in southern Africa over the past century. Further projects involve the “main-streaming” of palaeoecological data into long-term studies of sustainability and ecosystem management. As well as this research, Lindsey Gillson contributes to ACDI masters teaching through through introductory core lectures on biodiversity and climate change. She also runs an optional, two week module on biodiversity and climate change, and is a member of the ACDI Steering Committee. Read more.

  • Ralph Hamann, Graduate School of Business (GSB)

    Designation: Research Director: UCT Graduate School of Business
    Expertise: Sustainable enterprise; corporate citizenship and social responsibility; organizational strategy; cross-sector collaboration

    Professor Ralph Hamann

    Ralph leads a team of researchers looking at why and how organisations contribute to transformations to sustainability. His students and post-docs have been investigating the embedding of sustainability culture in large corporations, organisational sensemaking of their social-ecological context, and cross-sector collaboration. Ralph's other research interests have included organisational and governance responses to complex social and environmental problems, and his research group focuses on themes including business and climate change, company-community relations, food security, and cross-sector collaboration. Ralph is also a founding Director of FutureMeasure, a company that provides a web-based sustainability performance management system (developed initially for Woolworths); a co-founder of the Southern Africa Food Lab, a multi-stakeholder initiative in support of food security; and a Director of the Cape Town Partnership, known for its contributions to urban development strategies and initiatives. Read more.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 406 1503 · Email:

  • Bruce Hewitson, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Director: Climate Systems Analysis Group
    Expertise: Regional climate change; climate modeling; downscaling; analysis methodologies; capacity building; impacts and adaptation; climate services; climate ethics.

    Professor Bruce Hewitson

    Bruce's research interests include climate modeling, climate change, and interesting analysis methodologies. He's also interested in developing appropriate technology for Africa and scientific capacity building.




  • Chris Jack, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Principal Scientific Officer, Climate System Analysis Group
    Expertise: Climate modeling; climate knowledge systems; urban climate change adaptation

    Dr Britta Rennkamp

    Chris is Principal Scientific Officer in the EGS department at UCT, primarily employed within the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG). Over the past 15 years Chris has become increasingly involved in climate research, completing his doctorate in regional atmospheric moisture dynamics in 2011. Over the same period, Chris has worked on a large portfolio of climate services/consultancy activities including capacity development and stakeholder engagement where he has frequently played the role of climate science lead author and expert. He supervises and mentors students.

    Chris has extensive experience and involvement in research and currently plays significant leadership roles in large climate research projects such as FRACTAL His experience in consulting and capacity building has helepd him to understand the challenges of informing decision making in different real-world contexts, including dealing directly with data challenges, capacity constraints and struggles with uncertainty.

    Chris also works on urban climate change adaptation, supporting the development of integrated knowledge systems around both urban contexts and climate change in developing nation contexts. This research will inform and guide policy and development in relation to cities and climate change. Read more.

    Tel: +27 21 650 4636 · Email:

  • Astrid Jarre, Marine Research Institute (MaRe)

    Designation: Associate Professor, Marine Research Institute (MaRe)
    Expertise: Marine ecology and fisheries

    Associate Professor Astrid Jarre

    With a professional background in marine systems ecology, Astrid has been specializing in an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAF) since the late 1980s. Her research emphasis has been on exploited marine systems experiencing pronounced environmental signals, and in developing societies. Astrid's research interests include the development of ecosystem indicators for fisheries management, multivariate data analysis and systems modelling, as well as mediated modelling. She has senior experience in developing scientific advice for management of human activities in the ocean.

    Holding the South African Research Chair in Marine Ecology and Fisheries, Her current research focuses on developing methodology for multiple-criteria decision support for human activities in marine social-ecological systems under global change, notably in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

    Read more.


  • Brian King, Honorary Research Associate

    Designation: Director of Resident Graduate Programs, Associate Professor, Penn State Department of Geography, Affiliate Professor of International Affairs

    Brian King's research examines the production of livelihoods and environmental change in the developing world. This work evaluates the relationships between health and environment, focusing in particular on the effects of HIV/AIDS upon social and environmental systems. He is the PI on a NSF CAREER grant Political Ecologies of Health: Coupling Livelihood and Environment Responses to HIV/AIDS ($485,292, September 1, 2011 – August 31, 2017, GSS 1056683).  This CAREER program is conducting intensive research in South Africa working in close collaboration with research institutes and governmental agencies to examine how livelihood systems adjust in response to HIV/AIDS, how livelihood responses to HIV/AIDS rework access patterns and the rules governing resource use, and whether intra-household and intra-community variations shape livelihood responses to HIV/AIDS. This work asserts that attending to health-environment interactions is needed to understand how disease results in transformations to social and environmental systems, and how these systems in turn shape the trajectories of disease and the possibilities for sustainable disease management.


  • Peter Johnston, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Climate Scientist & Researcher
    Expertise: Agriculture, climate change vulnerability and adaptation

    Dr Peter Johnston

    Peter Johnston is a climate scientist at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on the applications and impacts of climate variability and change on various user sectors. He specialises in agriculture and water related activities with special emphasis on vulnerability and adaptation options.

    Peter has worked closely with the Western Cape Government in developing a climate change vulnerability study and this was followed by a strategy and action plan. He has also been involved in the African Centre for Cities looking at adaptation frameworks for both Cape Town and Johannesburg. His research includes the application of models to determine the sustainable long term water use in the larger Berg river catchment area of the SW Cape in South Africa, and an investigation into adaptation options for agricultural under climate change scenarios for commercial and small scale farmers.

    His work with ACDI is focused on the climate risks and decision-making time frames associated with agriculture, including the SmartAgri project and the SASCAL project focusing on value-chains in Mozambique. He has supervised and worked with ACDI students and researchers over the years. Peter has given many public presentations to governmental, educational, agricultural, water related and general interest groups. He is also the co-author of several school science and geography text books., and was lead author for the South African chapter of Southern African Agriculture and Climate Change (2013).


  • Kamoru Abiodun Lawal, Honorary Researcher

    Kamoru obtained his PhD in Atmospheric Science (with a specialisation in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), Seasonal Climate Prediction and Regional Climate Modeling) at the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, at the University of Cape Town. His PhD thesis used discrepancy in a large ensemble of climate simulations as a tool to investigate variability in dominant seasonal rainfall and temperature patterns (i.e. classes) over West and Southern Africa, to examine the capability of climate models in reproducing the variability, and to study the limits of predictability of the seasonal climates over South Africa.

    Kamoru also studied meteorology (B. Tech and M. Tech) at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as an Aeronautical Meteorologist, Research Officer, and briefly as the Head of the Research and Training Directorate of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. He has taught various meteorological courses at the Regional Meteorological Training Centre (RMTC), an affiliate of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), situated in Lagos.

    Skillful and competent in computer programming languages and scripting in UNIX, Kamoru's passion is to impart knowledge to younger generations. He is presently investigating the interactions between teleconnection patterns and fire, as well as carrying out the performance evaluations of weather@home 2 models (HadAM3P and HadRm3P) over West African sub-region.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2909 · Email:

  • Megan Lukas-Sithole, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Future Water Institute

    Megan Lukas-Sithole joined the ACDI in July 2019 as the Chapter Scientist for Chapter 17 (Decision-Making Options for Managing Risk) of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report. For her PhD, she did an ethnographic study on the everyday sustainability practices of people living in Nyanga, Cape Town. Prior to her PhD, Megan worked at the City of Cape Town in the field of Environmental Management. Her qualifications include a BSc in Environmental and Geographical Science (UCT), PG Dip in Environmental Law (UCT), and MPhil in Environmental Management (Stellenbosch University).


  • Chris Lennard, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Research Officer, Climate Systems Analysis Group
    Expertise: Climate modelling and forecasting

    Dr. Chris Lennard

    Although now a climatologist, Chris is a lapsed zoologist who has also dabbled in the dark art of oceanography. As such he holds an undergraduate degree in Zoology and post graduate degrees in Ocean and Atmospheric Science (B.Sc. Hons), Zoology (M.Sc.) and Climatology (Ph.D.). He has also lectured into a number of climate related courses at UCT. Read more.






  • Kelvin Mulungu, Researcher

    Kelvin Mulungu joined the ACDI in December 2020. He holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University in the US. He was a sustainability leadership fellow at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability during the 2019-2020 academic year and a PhD student research fellow at the Africa Rice Center in 2019. He obtained a Collaborative MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Egerton University in Kenya and University of Pretoria in South Africa. Before starting his PhD, he worked for a CGIAR project in Zambia as Research Manager for an agriculture for nutrition and health project. He also worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Zambia Institute of Economic and Social Research. His research interests include nutrition, gender in agriculture, climate change, and natural resource economics. For his PhD dissertation, he studied the effectiveness of forests as natural insurance for nutrition, how weather shocks affect risk attitudes of smallholder farmers and hence their investment decisions, and provided an alternative explanation for the ‘hungry farmer paradox’.


  • Nondumiso Mginywa, Research Associate

    Nondumiso studied Journalism and Media Studies and Anthropology at Rhodes University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Education, from UNISA. In 2016 she did a Foundation course in Design Thinking offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking at UCT. For four semesters she has coached four groups of postgraduate students at UCT in Design Thinking. She is currently finishing her Masters in Adult Education. Her broad interests are Design Thinking as a tool for social change and Professionalization of Adult Educators in South Africa.

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2556 ·



  • Mark New, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department

    Mark NewDesignation: Professor, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department

    Expertise: Climate Impacts Modelling; Climate Change Attribution; Loss and Damage; Adaptation Finance

    Mark New is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT. He is also Director of the ARUA (African Research Universities Alliance) Centre of Excellence for Climate and Development, in which UCT partners with the University of Ghana and Nairobi University, to drive pan-African research and teaching on climate change in Africa. In 2023, Mark received the Frontiers Planet Prize, which awards research that contributes towards solutions to planetary environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water overuse. He has also been awarded the for Piers Sellers Prize for world leading contributions to solution-focused climate research, has twice been named in Apolitical’s list of the 100 most influential people in climate policy, and is the leading African scientist on the Reuters “Hot List” of influential climate scientists. In addition to his senior management positions, Mark has over twenty-five years’ experience in climate change research, teaching and project management. His research has encompassed detection of climate change trends, climate modelling and scenarios, assessment of uncertainty in climate projections and impacts, attribution of climate change impacts, and climate change adaptation. His current research focuses on climate change risk and climate adaptation, an African focus, including: (i) improved understanding of climate processes, climate projections, climate risk and attribution; (ii) climate impacts and adaptation, especially with regard to water, agriculture and food security, and compound impacts across sectors; (iii) barriers and enablers of climate adaptation and resilience. He has also contributed to scholarship and teaching on engaged research and transdisciplinary leadership. Mark has been principal investigator on over twenty research projects, including ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) a 10M Dollar project from 2014-2018 that worked across 10 countries in Africa and Asia and SAF-ADAPT (the South Africa – Flanders Adaptation Research and Training Collaboration) an $3M project aimed at building research capacity on climate change adaptation in South Africa. He has served in a range of science and policy coordination, advisory and editorial roles, including as (i) Editor for Global Environmental Change and Environmental Research Letters, (ii) as an author on a number of IPCC reports, most recently as Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 17 of the current Working Group II Sixth Assessment, (iii) a Science Committee member for the World Adaptation Science Programme, and (iv) a member of the Science Review Group for the UK Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services; and (v) an advisor to the SA National Biodiversity Institute’s Green Climate Fund project pipeline. Read more

    Tel: +27 (0)21 650 2920

    Email: Please contact Mark New directly for research related matters:

  • Lorena Pasquini, Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG)

     Dr Lorena Pasquini

    Expertise: Environmental change and management, climate adaptation, environmental governance, climate change engagement, behaviour change and communication

    Lorena works across the ACDI, the Climate Systems Analysis Group, the African Centre for Cities and the Global Risk Governance Programme (Faculty of Law). She is a Researcher on the Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) Programme, and a Co-Investigator on the Fulcrum Institutions for Sustainability Programme. She is also a World Social Science Fellow in Sustainable Urbanization (International Social Science Council). Her current research focuses on the governance of environmental change issues at local government level, and on engagement, behaviour change and communication of climate change. She has a doctorate from the University of Sheffield (UK), and has a strong background of both research and practice in interdisciplinary issues located at the society/environment nexus. She has worked as a researcher, consultant and practitioner on a variety of conservation, environmental change and management, climate adaptation, environmental governance and development issues. In the past Lorena worked for one of South Africa’s leading Expanded Public Works Programmes, where she developed first-hand experience of the realities of adapting the country to the impacts of climate change. 

  • Chris Reason, Department of Oceanography

    Designation: Professor and Head of the Oceanography Department, UCT
    Expertise: Climate variability; meteorology; oceanography; severe weather; ocean-atmosphere interactions; ocean and atmospheric modelling

    Chris is involved with research relating to Southern Hemisphere climate variability, southern African rainfall variability, mesoscale and coastal meteorology, tropical meteorology and oceanography, severe weather, ocean-atmosphere interactions, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans, Southern Ocean, ocean and atmospheric modelling. Read more.

    Tel: 021 650 5311 · Email:


  • Andrea Rother, Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR)

    Designation: Head: Health Risk Management Programme, UCT Medical School
    Expertise: Impact of chemicals on climate change and health, chemical/pesticide risk management/governance, risk communication, risk perceptions, capacity building for regulators; impact of climate change on worker health, agriculture, vector borne diseases.

    Associate Professor Andrea Rother

    Andrea Rother is the Head of the Environmental Health Division and Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at UCT. She is also deputy director of the Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR) in the School.

    As an environmental sociologist and environmental/public health professional her expertise is in the areas of chemical/pesticide risk management, risk communication, health literacy, exposure assessment, intervention development and policy analysis. Andrea is extensively involved in national and international policy development around reducing chemical and pesticide health and environmental health risks, an area she has been working in for over 25 years. She is currently leading the development of an FAO guidance document on Highly Hazardous Pesticides.

    Andrea also has wide-ranging experience in facilitation and capacity building, particularly in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. She also convenes a postgraduate diploma in pesticide risk management which has a large e-learning component for building the capacity of professionals in Low and Middle Income Countries. Andrea also facilitates an e-networking forum and bi-monthly virtual seminar with regulators, students, and international experts particular in new and complex areas (e.g., regulating pesticides taking climate change into account, regulating nanoparticles, regulating endocrine disrupting chemicals).

    Her current climate change projects and PhD student research are on the impact of climate change on heat stress for herbicide sprayers removing alien invasive vegetation, and assessing the factors influencing negative impacts from climate change and exposures to endocrine disrupting pesticides. Read more.

  • Olivia Rumble, Institute of Marine and Environmental Law (IMEL)

    Designation: Senior Lecturer, Institute of Marine and Environmental Law at the University of Cape Town

    Olivia Rumble is a Senior Lecturer in IMEL. She holds a PPE from the University of Stellenbosch as well as an LLB and LLM in Environmental Law with distinction, from the University of Cape Town. She has a particular interest in, and has published widely on the topic of climate change law, and has been appointed to assist the Department of Environmental Affairs in drafting South Africa’s Climate Change Bill. Prior to joining the Institute, Olivia was a Senior Associate at ENSafrica, where she specialised in environmental law for seven years. She is currently a director at Climate Legal, a specialist climate change and environmental law consultancy. Olivia is a former clerk of the Constitutional Court and has worked with various NGOs on the intersection of environmental law and human rights.  She has extensive experience in the laws relating to water resources, waste management, atmospheric emissions and South Africa’s broad suite of environmental laws. Olivia has advised national government departments and regional bodies on domestic and transboundary water law reform as well as nuclear energy regulatory reform. Her research interests include climate change law and governance, carbon taxes, pollution and energy law. Read more.


  • Nicholas Simpson, Honourary Research Associate

    Nick’s current research concentrates on the complexity of climate risk, climate change literacy and perception, adaptation feasibility assessment, resilience, energy access, and climate security. He is a Lead Author of the Africa chapter of the IPCC 6th Assessment, and the Lead Author of the ICOMOS-IPCC-UNESCO White Paper on climate risk to heritage globally, and an African Academy of Science Affiliate Member (2021-2025). The Simpson et al. framework for complex climate change risk has extended and revised the IPCC risk framework to better conceptualise risk from response to climate and has led to high profile invitations to speak at events such as the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice Research Dialogue of the Thirteenth Meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2021). Nick’s resilience orientated research has extended security studies to the governance the novel harmscapes of climate change. This work has enhanced our understanding of the concept of resilience and how it informs responses to unanticipated and severe Anthropocene events; such as the Cape Town drought. His PhD concentrated on participatory sustainable decision-making and established theoretical and practice ready consilience between the capabilities approach and environmental assessment with an emphasis on better understanding of impacts on human wellbeing. His research in Africa also focuses on the very bottom end of the economic spectrum, aiming to support the creation and improvement of livelihoods and small businesses of those most at risk from climate change. This work has identified and published 'design principles' that inform the conceptualisation and evaluation of projects to aid in the replication of emerging sustainability-orientated work for humanitarian NGOs.

    Nick’s ORCiD     Google Scholar Profile     Email:

  • Sheona Shackleton, Honorary Professor

    Expertise: Adaptation, ecosystem services, rural livelihoods, equity, landscapes

    Prof Sheona Shackleton holds two Honorary Professorships, one with the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town (where she was former Deputy Director) and one with the Department of Environmental Science at Rhodes University, both in South Africa. Sheona has worked at the interface between rural development, livelihoods, natural resource use and management, ecosystem services, landscape resilience and climate change adaptation over the past 40 plus years. Most of her research has been inter- and transdisciplinary, and thus highly engaged and action-orientated. Recent work has explored what is needed for successful transdisciplinary research that is equitable, fair and effective in addressing global sustainability challenges. She has extensive project management experience, especially in team contexts, has published widely, and is well connected internationally.

  • Clifford Shearing, Public Law

    Designation: Leads the Global Risk Governance Programme
    Expertise: Environmental and physical security, with a focus on the development of theoretical understandings that can be used to enhance the quality of security and justice governance

    Professor Clifford Shearing

    Prof. Clifford Shearing leads the Global Risk Governance Programme. He holds professorships at the Law Faculty, University of Cape Town; Griffith Institute of Criminology, Griffith University, Australia; the School of Criminology, University of Montreal and the Durban University of Technology, as well as a visiting position at the University of New South Wales.  Clifford obtained a PhD in Sociology at the University of Toronto in 1977. He is an NRF A-rated researcher.

    Clifford is a well-established and internationally recognised scholar in the field of policing and security. His research and writing has focused on the development of theoretical understandings that can be used to enhance the quality of security and justice governance. A focus of his work has been contributing to the development of institutions and processes that enhance the ability of poor collectivities to both direct and add value to their security and justice. He has also been developing research on environmental security. Read more.

    Tel: +27 21 650 3072 / 3451 · Email:


  • Anna Steynor, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Science Engagement Lead: Climate Systems Analysis Group
    Expertise: Climate services, adaptation, scientific capacity building, user engagement in developing decision-relevant climate information

    Anna Steynor

    Anna is the lead on climate services in the Climate System Analysis Group. Her background is in applied climate science with a current research focus on the engagement of users and decision-makers in the use of climate information. Through Anna’s expertise in stakeholder engagement and climate services, she plays a key role in implementing and managing ‘research into use’ projects at CSAG as well as implementing capacity building initiatives. Her research interests include, Climate services, User engagement in developing decision-relevant climate information, and science into use. Anna also has more than five years of previous experience working at the UK Climate Impacts Programme.

    As an ACDI associate, Anna has worked with ACDI on many collaborative projects. Some examples of these projects include an analysis of the barriers and opportunities for Scientific Capacity Development in Africa, the development of South Africa’s Third National Communication and the development of climate profiles for African countries.

  • Jessica Thorn, CR4D Fellow

    Designation: ACDI African Women in Climate Change Science and CR4D Fellow, Research Associate in the Department of Geography and Environment, University of York

    Expertise: Social-ecological systems; biodiversity and ecosystem services; green urban infrastructure; development corridors; global environmental change; participatory modelling; climate variability and risk; adaptation; wellbeing; climate-smart agriculture.

    Jessica is a Namibian ecologist with a background in human geography, holding a CR4D and African Women in Climate Change fellowship at ACDI. She is also a research associate at the University of York, University of Nairobi, and African Conservation Centre. She uses probabilistic social-ecological modelling and scenario analysis to measure impacts of development on land use change. Currently, Jessica is working on an ESRC-funded collaborative capacity building project, using participatory scenario planning to measure potential impacts of Chinese foreign direct investment in transportation corridors in East Africa. She is also leading an IDRC-funded project predicting the synergies and trade-offs of ecological infrastructure in peri-urban areas. Most recently, she assessed the potential impact of climatic and demographic change on local actor decisions and land use in mountain social-ecological systems, and biodiversity and ecosystem services in smallholder agricultural landscapes. Jessica completed her BSocSci(Hons) at UCT, MSc and DPhil at Oxford, and postdoctoral studies at Colorado State University and ETH Zurich.

    Jessica has been involved in various NSF, NERC, NRF, DFID, CGAIR, IDRC, ESRC, and USAID funded projects, conducting field research in Nepal, India, Vietnam, Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Switzerland and Peru. Her professional activities have been affiliated with the UN (e.g., Environment Programme and International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction), governments (e.g., South Africa, Ghana), NGOs (e.g., Conservation International, WWF), working closely with local stakeholders across sectors and scales to generate new information. Jessica has similarly conducted research for the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Centre for International Forestry Research, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics, and Brown University. Jessica sits on advisory boards for five CBOs, is an elected member of the Global Environmental Facility, has advocated for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNFCCC COP, and is a contributing author to The Economic of Ecosystems and Biodiversity reports. She has taught on international courses in Global Biodiversity Trade and Indigenous Communities, Field Ecology, Wildland Ecosystems, Urban Geography, Global Challenges for the 21st Century, and Cities of the South and is currently supervising one PhD student and three MSc students. or 

    Tel: (Kenya) +254 746 723 537 · (UK) +44 7578 883 391 and +44 1904 324 212

    Project websites: Development Corridor Partnerships · York Institute for Tropical Systems · Urban Ecolutions

  • Emily Tyler, Honorary Research Affiliate

    Expertise: low carbon policy, energy policy, economics, critical complexity, complex systems thinking, transdisciplinarity

    An economist by training, Emily has focused on climate mitigation in a development context for over 18 years and brings both an economics and complex systems perspective to the policy and practical challenges she encounters in this space. Engaging predominantly with the sustainability transitions and critical complexity theory literatures, Emily’s research agenda considers the ability of these and other theories to gain insight into and support just energy transitions in the South African context, with implications for - and learning from - similar transitions underway globally. 

    Whilst South Africa is Emily’s home and work focus, she has an appreciation for the international context of domestic climate and energy policymaking through her engagement in international partnerships and work in the EU, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked across a wide range of related issues, including: corporate carbon strategies, climate finance, UNFCCC mechanisms applied to developing countries, South African carbon pricing policies, low carbon transition planning, energy policy, carbon budgeting, and power sector employment.

    Emily works predominantly in a consulting capacity and is frequently engaged in transdisciplinary research initiatives relating to her field.

    Tel: +27 (0) 72 225 5619 · ·

  • Harald Winkler, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment

    Designation: Professor, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
    Expertise: Climate change mitigation; energy and climate policy; energy and environmental economics; sustainable development; mitigation

    Professor Harald Winkler

    Harald Winkler is a Professor within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Cape Town. He is rated as an “internationally acclaimed researcher” (B2) by SA’s National Research Foundation, is a member of editorial boards of five international journals, has been a member of the SA delegation to the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and been a lead author lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group III on mitigation. Harald’s research interests are focused around climate policy, at international and national level. He led the research work underpinning South Africa’s Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS). From 2010 to 2015, a significant focus of his work with other developing countries to share the LTMS experience in a programme called MAPS – Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (see He developed the proposal of sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMs). Current focus areas and research interests include: the future of the climate regime and implementation of the Paris Agreement, Equity and climate change, including work on ‘equitable access to sustainable development’, equity in nationally determined contributions and ‘zero poverty zero emissions’ pathways, Sustainable energy paths for South Africa, particularly in energy use and supply,  Comparative analysis of mitigation actions in cities and  in developing countries. Harald has taught and supervised postgraduates since 2000, including teaching in the ACDI courses. and with his ERC colleagues ensures there is a focus on energy and mitigation. Harald was also part of the Steering Committee that set up ACDI.


  • Piotr Wolski, Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG)

    Designation: Research Officer, Climate Systems Analysis Group
    Expertise: Climate change and hydrology

    Piotr Wolski

    In principle, Piotr is a hydrologist, but in terms of his recent research and activities, he seem to be sitting on a fence, between water and climate. So, he can define himself as a hydro-climatologist. Since joining CSAG formally in 2012, Piotr has been using climate model outputs for hydrological analyses in the context of climate change impact assessment, attribution and seasonal forecasting. He has also been running attribution experiments. Piotr also works on various aspects of visualization and presentation of climate data, that include articulation of uncertainties, developing visualizations such as "plume plots", and analytical tools such as "SOM-space trajectories", and doing all sorts of analyses that often include bootstrapping. It thus seems that in broader context, he revels in figuring out how the uncertainties and errors propagate through the various processing steps that are involved in translating climate data into (hopefully) useful information. Read more.


  • Vernon Visser, Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (SEEC)

    Designation: Research Officer, Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation (SEEC), and ACDI Senior Researcher
    Expertise: Species distribution modelling (particularly grasses); occupancy modelling population ecology; Bayesian methods decision analysis; spatial statistics and remote sensing.

    Dr Vernon Visser

    Vernon is currently a research officer within SEEC. Prior to joining SEEC, Vernon held post-docs at the Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University and at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Vernon also completed his PhD in grassland ecology at the University of Sheffield. He has run courses on species distribution modelling in R on behalf of SANBI, the Centre for Invasion Biology, and the South African Association for Marine Biological Research. He is also chair of the Alien Grass Working Group, an initiative of SANBI’s Directorate for Biological Invasions.

    Vernon has strong expertise in species distribution modelling, occupancy modelling,  population  ecology,  Bayesian   methods,  decision analysis, spatial statistics and remote sensing.  His work at the ACDI focuses on the effects of rainfall timing changes (seasonality, intensity and variability) on ecosystems and human livelihoods, centering on grasses, changes in broad-scale vegetation patterns, fire frequencies and agricultural potential. Underpinning this are observed changes in rainfall. Outputs of this research will help people make informed decisions and help them adapt to a changing climate.