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BRECcIA is a four year RCUK  Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) program which aims to develop research capacity across institutions that is self-sustaining and focused on improving food and water security for the poorest of society.

Our vision is to strengthen research capacity and capabilities in institutions in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana to carry out impactful research that leads to positive policy and practice change for sustainable water and food security, which will have benefits for the  270 million people living in the Sub Saharan Africa drylands.

Transforming African Agriculture: Eyes In The Sky, Smart Techs On The Ground

UAS Capacity Building Workshop

11-18 July, 2018, Lusaka, Zambia

Mathews Tsirizeni, LEAD, Malawi

There is a consensus that smallholder farming needs to become more productive, more sustainable and more profitable. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – or drone-based systems – services can contribute towards these goals by bringing some of the tools of precision agriculture to producers, which include large and medium-scale holdings and associations of small-scale farmers growing the same crop in contiguous areas. Typically, UAS services are provided by entrepreneurs who invest in the equipment, learn the skills to use it, conduct or sub-contract data analysis, interpret the findings and advise their customers.

UAS can inform a range of services, including mapping and surveying (e.g. farm boundary delineations, crop area calculations, elaboration of digital elevation models), crop inventory (e.g. count of tree crops, yield estimations), crop scouting (e.g. identification of location-specific crop stress, assessment of biomass development), crop damage assessment (e.g. for insurance purposes), crop management advice (e.g. nitrogen application on selected crops), infrastructure inspection (e.g. irrigation systems, farm to market roads, etc.), and increasing farmers’ credit-worthiness via the integration of farmer profiles with high resolution images, crop diagnostics, and accurate and up-to-date georeferenced data sets. UAS can thus help increase returns to farmers and create new knowledge -intensive employment opportunities in rural areas, offering educated rural youth an alternative to migration.

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BRECcIA job vacancies at University of Southampton

We have an exciting opportunity for researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to join our team and to play a pivotal role in this ground-breaking project.

Applications are invited for post-doctoral fellows in four key areas:

  1. Environmental Anthropology https://jobs.soton.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=995518WR
  2. Earth Observation https://jobs.soton.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=995218WR
  3. Hydrology and Water Resources https://jobs.soton.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=995418WR
  4. Professional Development and Capacity Building https://jobs.soton.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=995618WR

All of the positions will provide the post-holders with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and professional skills set in:  Trans-, multi- and interdisciplinary research projects; collaborative and partnership working; policy-influence; and international development issues.

All posts are initially for 2 years renewable for up to one further year and tenable from 1 June 2018 or soon after.

Post holders will be expected to travel internationally for the project and work closely with an international cohort of researchers based in our partner institutes.

The University of Southampton is a world-renowned Russell Group University with a global reputation for academic excellence. We offer a stimulating, challenging and dynamic working environment for all our staff.  You will work in Geography and Environment, a leading international centre for geographical and environmental research. More specifically, the academic unit is a leading centre for application of Earth observation, GIS, modelling tools and sociological analysis to a range of environmental and human problems, including adaptation of livelihoods to climate change.

For more details and to apply, please follow the links above.

ISNTD interview: Mawuli Dzodzomenyo (Ghana)

Following the inaugural BRECcIA Workshop, Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo of the Ghana School of Public Health attended the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Conference organised by the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases in London.

The society interviewed Mawuli and fellow Ghanaian Dr. George Wak [view here] about neglected tropical disease challenges in Ghana and technology options for improving sanitation.  In linking discussions at this meeting with the goals of BRECcIA, Mawuli is of the view that given that irrigation facilities affect the transmission of waterborne diseases such as schistosomiasis, malaria and filariasis transmitted from water snails and mosquitoes to humans, BRECcIA provides a unique opportunity to link hydrological science to public health. Measures must be taken to control the impact of water investments on disease transmission in arid areas.