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Climate Services Academy Training (CSAT)



Project Team

Dr Katja Samuel, Prof Ros Cornforth, Dr Lucy Wallace, Dr Celia Petty, Dr Andrew Ainslie, Dr Sarah Cardey


NADMO, Ghana; DCCMS Malawi; UCAD, Senegal; UNHRO, Uganda




Uganda; Malawi; Ghana; Senegal


Evidence Synthesis, Training, PGR




The Climate Services Academy (CSAT) at the Walker Institute is a new initiative which is training PGR students in Evidence Synthesis, to inform policy and business decision-making. Climate change is already affecting the decisions of millions of people in both developed and developing countries. However, whilst climate science, agronomy, and social science are generating new insights and data streams, there are currently no training courses available which build capacity to connect these in practical, policy-focused ways.

CSAT encompasses a programme of training, immersive placement and legacy through a knowledge exchange network, to enable students to gain a practical real-world experience of the synthesis of research into evidence to inform decision-making. The format of the course, provides a unique opportunity for the students to experience first-hand the environments in which key decisions are made, and how evidence is utilised by different stakeholder groups.
By the end of the programme, participants will have developed skills surrounding the communication of technical climate information to facilitate collaboration with professionals in other fields to promote policy objectives including resilience to climate change. Importantly, participants will be exposed to and involved in knowledge exchange throughout this process, and addressing the issues surrounding this will inform their future professional practice.

Combining training with practical experience
Specially designed interactive training will be delivered by the NGO Evidence for Development and Walker Institute, and placements will take place in Ghana, Sengal, Uganda and Malawi. The impact of the programme will be enhanced by the combination of training with practical experience: the UK based training provides the tools and knowledge, the immersive experience enables students to apply these in real situations, to gain first hand insight into the challenges of translating synthesised knowledge into evidence-based practice, and to reflect on strategies they might adopt in their professional careers to address these challenges.

This programme will support 8 PGR in the UK, who will travel in pairs to each of the four placement countries. Each PGR will be partnered with 2 PGR/ECR in their placement country, so they can benefit from shared-learning experiences and widen their networks. Each UK student, and their 2 in-country peers will spend 1 week in each of an identified Business and Government user-organisation.

Both the UK and international elements of this programme are designed to individually enhance the skills of the participants, however joining them together will provide an unrivalled experience, which should profoundly influence and enhance the future practice of those involved, and enabling them to make a tangible difference in a rapidly changing global development context.

CSAT 2018 / 2019
The first CSAT took place in early 2018. It was open to PGRs at the point of submission (within six months or six months post-submission), and NERC-funded PGR were given priority. The focus of this training was on the synthesis, and interpretation of climate information to strengthen resilience and reduce the risk of extreme events on food production and food security.

For more information, and to apply for 2018/2019 courses, please email