Future Climate for Africa (FCFA)

Weather balloon being released in West Africa

Future Climate for Africa (FCFA), is a new five-year international research programme jointly funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and NERC. The Programme will support research to better understand climate variability and change across sub-Saharan Africa. Its focus will be on advancing scientific knowledge, understanding and prediction of African climate variability and change on 5 to 40 year timescales, together with support for better integration of science into longer-term decision making, leading to improved climate risk management and the protection of lives and livelihoods.

FCFA projects will be delivered through collaborative partnerships of the world's best researchers. The programme's success will be measured by the way that its research generates new knowledge which can be used to benefit the poor in a sustainable manner.

Announcement of Opportunity: Future Climate for Africa - Gap Filling Fund

Closing date: 25 Jan

9 Nov 2017

Full proposals are invited for a new funding round as part of the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) research programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and NERC.

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Climate plays a significant role in the lives of many people in Africa; the majority of livelihoods of African people depend on rain-fed agriculture and in some areas, water resources are increasingly stressed. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where vulnerability to weather extremes is rising, and the intensity of climate hazards is expected to rise over the coming decades (IPCC, 2013)[1].

Without climate risk management and adaptation, the progress made against the Millennium Development Goals will increasingly come under threat in Africa (OECD, 2009)[2]. In parallel to reducing climate-related risks today, there is an urgent need to account for future climate risks in long-lived projects, planning and policymaking, as a failure to properly account for long-term climate in decisions now could lock in greater risks and costs further down the line.

High-quality climate information is a crucial foundation for effective climate risk management and adaptation; yet this is not available and not used across many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is the continent with the lowest density of climate observations, and even where records exist, these may be inaccessible. Knowledge of African climate variability is relatively poor with major gaps, Africa's climate is very diverse and variable and driven by processes that are interrelated in many complex ways that are not fully understood (ACPC, 2011)[3]. In addition, global and regional climate model performance is very poor for Africa (IPCC, 2013) and there has been little investment in assessing model performance over Africa.

The aim of the FCFA research programme is therefore to support research to better understand and improve confidence in predictions of climate variability and change across sub-Saharan Africa on timescales to inform adaptation. The programme will have a major focus on climate science and modelling, underpinned by the principles of informing real decisions, emphasis on enhancing the usefulness of climate science and projections, and by adopting a multidisciplinary approach.

Research will be structured around three pillars, which will be complemented by activities focused on building user-demand, knowledge and skills, and strengthening scientific capacity in Africa.

  1. World leading scientific research to build knowledge and enhance prediction: Advancing knowledge of African climate variability and change in areas critical to inform long-lived decisions; develop and evaluate models with an 'African lens'; assess uncertainties and extract useful information.
  2. Research to support better integration of science into decision making: Better understand the barriers to uptake; develop and test tools and methods to better integrate science into decision-making.
  3. Targeted research to bring knowledge into use in real decisions: Working with users, conduct pilot studies to test and demonstrate the application information and tools for real decisions.

FCFA will deliver (i) increased availability and use of high-quality, robust climate information across Africa and greater expertise on how to apply this in practice, (ii) improved long-term decision making and investments by stakeholders in climate-sensitive areas, and (iii) sustained improvements in climate services (eg early warnings, climate scenarios, expertise) across Africa.

This will contribute to poverty alleviation through increasing resilience and reducing the impacts of climate hazards such as flooding and drought and longer term climate change on poor communities.

  1. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  2. OECD, 2009. Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Cooperation: Policy Guidance
  3. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), 2011. Working Paper 1climate Science, Information, and Services in Africa: Status, Gaps and Policy Implications



Can I apply for a grant?

No, there are no current grant funding opportunities for this programme.


£20 million, five-year research programme, joint NERC / DFID.

Programme awards

Award details are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web - external link