One Planet Fellowship is a $20 million initiative dedicated to building a vibrant, highly connected, and intergenerational network of African and European scientist leaders equipped to lead the next-generation research and technology focused on helping Africa’s smallholder farmers adapt to a changing climate.

The One Planet Fellowship was initially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates and BNP Paribas Foundations, and later received the financial support of the European Commission and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for a global budget of $ 20 million for a five-year period.

AWARD (African Women in Agricultural Research and Development) based at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Agropolis Fondation coordinate the implementation of the One Planet Fellowship’s activities and events.

A gender-based and inclusive approach to agriculture and climate change adaptation
Agriculture is the largest employer of women in Africa, with 62% of economically active women working in agriculture across the continent. That figure rises to over 90% in countries like Rwanda, Malawi and Burkina Faso. The consequences of climate change will affect women the most, as they form the backbone of the continent’s agricultural sector and produce as much as 80% of its food. In addition, Africa lacks the robust scientific data needed for governments and local stakeholders to develop adaptive measures.
However, the socio-economic inequality levels remain very high and continue to hamper women’s potential. This is illustrated by the rural wage gap between men and women in Africa, which is estimated at 15 to 60%. These gender gaps do not only affect women, but also other groups of the population (children, youth, and the elderly). They limit the performance of the entire continent—the UN estimates that gender inequality costs Africa $95 billion every year.
On a more promising note, the connection between women and farming also means that agriculture is the key to achieving gender equality in Africa. By leveraging agricultural growth, the continent can drive a new wave of inclusive prosperity for both women and men.
Therefore, experts argue that systematically incorporating gender issues into agricultural research, development and extension systems will contribute significantly to meeting the food needs of Africa’s growing population, while also ensuring that productivity gains in food systems translate to improved welfare for the continent’s most destitute groups.

With a global budget of US$ 20 million, the One Planet Fellowship aims at supporting research on climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector, and especially for Africa’s smallholder farmers. It also seeks to build a vibrant, highly connected, and intergenerational network of African and European scientist leaders equipped to lead this next-generation research.

The One Planet Fellowship therefore intends to be a career-accelerator designed to enhance the capacity of high potential agricultural researchers by building their leadership, scientific research, networking, and mentoring skills.

This initiative is therefore an opportunity for African scientists to share their context-specific knowledge with European scientists. For emerging European scientists, it is an opportunity to gain valuable exposure to the context within which scientific research is conducted on the continent, and for established scientists from Europe and Africa, it will allow investing in building the next generation of scientists working on the nexus between agriculture and climate change.

Most importantly, the One Planet Fellowship will equip the scientists with the necessary skills to deploy a gender lens and analyze the potential of their research to bridge the gender gap in African agriculture, especially when it comes to access to new technology.


Implementation of One Planet Fellowship is led by AWARD in Africa and involves several activities:

  1.  Three rounds of open competition to select One Planet Laureate Candidates
  2. Identification and appointment of mentors
  3. A variety of learning experiences including a three-step mentoring program, science and leadership series, and gender integration in agricultural research for development
  4. Support to build a community of practice of outstanding climate and agricultural researchers in Africa and Europe
  5. Knowledge exchange forums


Coordination of the One Planet Fellowship scientific mobility activities is led by Agropolis Fondation from Europe and involves several activities:

  1. Research placements for Laureate candidates in internationally renowned institutions in Europe
  2. Learning visits, seminars and workshops for Laureate candidates at Agropolis Fondation and partner institutions
  3. Exchange visits for African mentors and European supervisors
laureate candidates

The two first cohorts count 89 scientists:

  • 1st cohort: 24 women and 20 men
  • 2nd cohort: 25 women et 20 men
  • (the 3rd and last call for application closed on 28 February 2021) – The final selection of the third cohort is scheduled for mid-May 2021

To date, the  89 laureate candidates have benefitted from the Fellowship in different ways:

  • The first cohort participated in different activities and events including the Mentoring Orientation Workshop (MOW), mentoring sessions (Laureate candidate-Mentor), the Science week and the Leadership Program for Agricultural Research and Development (LEPARD). They are currently working on their research group proposals and manuscripts for peer review
  • The second cohort has participated in a Mentoring Orientation Workshop (MOW) and has embarked in its first year of mentoring program
The One Planet Fellowship [is] an example of theory meets praxis in the ongoing efforts to equip African farmers to adapt to a changing climate
Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) / Lecture at the Imperial College London at the invitation of Sir Gordon Conway, on "Feminist responses to climate change in Africa"
Governance, follow-up and references
  • Agropolis Foundation: Oliver Oliveros, who had worked for many years with AWARD on different initiatives including the One Planet Fellowship as Deputy Director, Partnerships and international cooperation for Agropolis Fondation, left the Foundation end of 2020. The key contacts for the One Planet Fellowship are now, Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem, Director, Agropolis Fondation,Vincent Fautrel, Head of International Partnerships, and Karine Philippe, Project Officer
  • BNP Paribas Foundation: Jean-Jacques Goron will retire end of June 2021 and Isabelle Giordano will succeed him as General Delegate of the BNP Paribas Foundation and Head of BNP Paribas Group Philanthropy. Emilie Chen, who coordinated the One Planet Fellowship for the Foundation, left end of March 2021 and will be replaced by Delphine Gluzman. The key contacts for the One Planet Fellowship are now Delphine Gluzman and Nathalie Andriamamonjy.


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