Call for Applications: ABCD Future Environmental Leaders Scholarships 2022

I. What is the Global Water and Climate Adaptation Centre – Aachen, Bangkok, Chennai, Dresden (ABCD-Centre)?

With the ABCD-Centre, the project partners RWTH Aachen University, Asian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, United Nations University – Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) and Technische Universität Dresden are joining forces in an effort to address the global challenge of water security and climate change adaptation in a systematic manner.

The ABCD-Centre is engaged in three intertwined research clusters:
– Cluster I: “Water Security, Water Resources Management, Secure Water Supply and Water Treatment”
– Cluster II: “Ecosystem Resilience and Nature-Based Adaptation Measures”
– Cluster III: “Transfer Strategies for Climate Adaptation: Traditional Knowledge, Local Economies and Societal Acceptance”.

A key objective of the ABCD-Centre is the research-oriented scientific training of Future Environmental Leaders, who will enable the transfer of research into practice. In addition, innovative third-party funded research projects in the field of water and climate change adaptation are a desired outcome. It is in this context that the ABCD-Centre awards the ABCD Future Environmental Leaders Scholarships to doctoral students from the Global South to conduct research stays at RWTH Aachen University, at Technische Universität Dresden or at UNU-FLORES in Dresden, Germany.

II. Current opportunity: Three ABCD Future Environmental Leaders Scholarships 2022

The ABCD-Centre currently accepts applications for three scholarships for a duration of 12 months for doctoral students from the Global South who will later transfer their research findings into practice. Specifically, a research stay is possible at:

– RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany or at
– Technische Universität Dresden, Germany or at
– UNU FLORES (UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources) Dresden, Germany

Research stays are funded from January 1st, 2022 until December 31st, 2022. In line with the funding rules and regulations of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), it is possible to start the scholarship in a virtual manner in case a physical start in Germany is not possible due to the global Covid-19-pandemic. To allow for this, each case has to be considered individually in view of the circumstances that make a physical stay impossible.
Applications are requested for a research project relating to any of the thematic focus areas of the three ABCD Clusters I, II and III. Even if it is an open-topic call with respect to the wide range of the three research clusters, the recent call prioritizes proposals which address the following topics:

➢ Topic A) “Modelling Water Infrastructure, Innovative Methods in Digitalization for Digital Twins, Habitat Modelling”
➢ Topic B) “Innovative Monitoring for Ecosystem Resilience and Nature-Based Adaptation Measures”
➢ Topic C) “ Climate-Driven Water Extremes in Urban Areas”

Who can apply?

Doctoral students (registered as full-time PhD-students in their respective universities) from the Global South1 who are in the first half of their PhD program, whereas the start of the program should not be more than three years ago. The so-called sandwich model applies, i.e. the first part (e.g. 1 year) of the doctoral project is typically spent at the home institution in the Global South, the second part is spent in Germany, and the third part is spent at the home institution again, where the doctoral degree is finally awarded.

III. What do the ABCD Future Environmental Leaders Scholarships entail?

The scholarship usually consists of a mobility component, a component for accommodation and living expenses and a component for insurances. Possible are:

– a monthly amount for accommodation and living expenses: 1.200 €;
– a monthly amount for insurances: max. 105 €;
– a one-time amount for travel expenses: max. 1.000 €;

In addition, materials and equipment for the implementation of the research project can be funded up to an amount of 5.000 € via the host institution.

IV. Application process

Please send your application with the documents mentioned below in one pdf file to:
Application deadline: Extended to February 28th 2022.
Period of funding for a research stay in Germany: January 1st, 2022 – December 31st, 2022.

At the time of the application, the supervisor at the (sending) home university and the doctoral student have to agree on:

1. A specific research topic in line with the topics of the clusters esp. in the current call (see above);
2. A detailed timeline of the entire doctoral project at the home institution;
3. The modalities of supervision in the form of a supervision agreement. At the time of the start of the scholarship, this agreement has to be signed by the (sending) supervising senior scientist in the home country, by the (receiving) supervising senior scientist in Germany and by the doctoral student.
4. Description of the research project to be conducted in Germany including a timetable (4-6 pages) and an idea for future third-party funded research projects based on the doctoral thesis
5. Description of planned contributions to the outreach activities of the ABCD-Centre, e.g. – plans to:
1 List of eligible countries, see this link:

o co-organize events with other PhD-students,
o write policy papers or,
o create media content or,
o engage in local stakeholder dialogues;

Furthermore, the following documents are required

1. An invitation letter from a host scientist from one of the three institutions stating the conditions of supervision. The host scientist should be working in one of the thematic focus areas mentioned above.
2. Personal motivation for a research stay (2-3 pages);
3. Example of a written scientific paper;
4. Recent Curriculum Vitae;
5. Two recent letters of recommendation from the home institution for the specific research project;
6. Statement on the ability to work online due to possible need for remote work.
7. Enrolment certificate and current transcript of records (not older than six months) from the home institution;
8. Passport copy

V. Selection process

The ABCD-Centre normally announces a positive selection result within two weeks after the application deadline. Please refrain from inquiries until then.

➢ The selection is based on merit. A very good academic record and a high personal motivation of the doctoral student are required. The academic quality of the proposal is the most important selection criterion.
➢ The selection will be done by the Steering Committee of the ABCD-Centre.
➢ The ABCD-Centre advocates equal opportunities and diversity.
➢ Preference is given to doctoral students who have a research plan to spend the maximum period of 12 months at a German partner institution.
➢ Preference is given to doctoral students who are willing to contribute to the ABCD-Centre’s outreach agenda and are interested in translating their research findings into policy papers.
➢ Very good English skills, communication skills and the ability to live and do research in Germany are required.

VI. Important information
➢ A mandatory scholarship and experience report (3-4 pages) has to be handed in at the latest 3 months before the end of the scholarship.
➢ Please contact your local International Office and a local DAAD office for general enquiries for your stay in Germany.
➢ The rules and regulations by the DAAD and the German Federal Foreign Office under the programme “Global Centres for Climate and Environment” as well as of the host institutions apply.
➢ After the selection the scholarship recipient has to sign a scholarship contract with the host institution, e.g. naming the start and end date, naming the monthly scholarship rates, stating the rights of both the scholarship recipient and the host institution, including the rules of conduct of the host institution.

Download the PDF: Click here