Global Change & Sustainability Research Institute (GCSRI)

The GCSRI has at its core four programmes that are the first steps to becoming an integrating, multi-disciplinary research platform.  Various members of GCSRI are working with the Director to obtain additional funding to expand the activities of the Institute.  So far, R28 million has been secured for the four core prorgammes over the next 5 years.

Research chair: Global Change and Sustainability

With generous funding from Exxaro, the Director: GCSRI is also the research chair in Global Change and Sustainability.

Climate Leadership Programme

Would you like to enhance your leadership skills in matters related to global change science?  Click here for more information.

The next generation of African scholars

Here, we develop Wits’ young academics and also seek to attract students, emerging researchers, and distinguished scholars from other African countries for training and scholarly exchanges in two fields of study that present tough, unique challenges in Africa: global change science, and academic medicine. We believe that the investment in intra-African collaborations will be mutually reinforcing, contribute to strong intellectual networks on the continent, and help ensure the sustainability of our programmes.

With generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Wits has identified two focus areas for which it will take the lead for developing the next generation of academics in 1. Global Change and 2. Academic Medicine. The two themes have the same broad overarching goal: to attract, train, develop, and retain young scholars who will become leaders in their fields. The proposed training models are different, specific to the needs of the discipline.

In the field of global change, the core activities are generous bursaries and postdoctoral fellowships for research in the field of global change.  Consistent with the multi-disciplinary ethos of the GCSRI, PhD students and postdocs will participate in seminars and workshops that foster multi-disciplinary approaches to the global change challenge.  Here is more information about the scholarships that have already been awarded (link to pdf). Be sure to check the News section soon, another funding call for global change PhD bursaries is imminent.

In the field of academic medicine, the GCSRI Carnegie programme aims to establish a division for academic medicine that provides a scholarly environment for the mentoring and PhD-level training of Wits and other African clinicians.  Generous fellowships are available to allow clinicians to complete PhD studies, while benefiting from focused mentoring and skills development programmes.

Building resilient societies

“Problems can never be solved within the same mindset that created them”.

For this reason, we need to develop a way to train people with different mindsets, that can deal with the challenges of global change.

The Open Society Institute funds this programme to develop a training programme for creative and flexible thinkers who can effectively navigate complex social situations and rapidly changing systems.  Such thinkers will be mindful of the society in which they are embedded and the implications of the rapidly changing environment into which they are moving.  The vision is that this training programme will be more than just a collection of courses on different aspects of global change.  The strategy is not only to clip together and merge existing fields of science, although this may have its merits, but to also develop new qualifications  for students enabling them to include ethics, sociology (issues of governance, institutions), elements of the ‘hard sciences’ (e.g. ecology) as well beginning research and teaching on new ways of framing domains of knowledge that may be required for climate change adaptation. Such interactions may thus require what some are calling ‘adaptive governance’ To this end, we are engaging in a series of workshops to develop an appropriate curriculum, with the first cohort of students due to enroll in 2013.