Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program 2014-2015

IIASA and its South African National Member Organization—the National Research Foundation—came together to produce the first regional expansion of the Young Scientists Summer Program in 2012. Hosted by the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein in South Africa, the Southern African YSSP ran from December to February for three years.

South African YSSP students

South African YSSP students

Starting from 19 participants in the first year, numbers rose to 36 in 2014, with students representing 21 different nations. The participants were mentored by 12 senior scientists from IIASA and partnered with 11 South African scientists, each from a different research institution. The Southern African YSSP is based on the innovative Research in Triplets framework developed at IIASA. Through this, IIASA scholars partner with regional colleagues, to jointly supervise young scientists on a project of relevance to the supervisors’ research agenda.

At the concluding workshop of the 2014/15 program, held at the University of the Free State, the participants presented their projects and results. Here is a selection of summaries of the students’ work published in the proceedings of the workshop.

Please note these proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

Is using a mini-grid an alternative to the Solar Home System for rural electrification in developing countries?

Chukwuma Leonard Azimoh, of Mälardalen University, Sweden, examined whether mini-grids could provide a solution to off-grid electrification in South Africa. More

Assessment of ecosystem function in response to fluctuations of keystone species using network analysis

Arnab Banerjee, of Visva-Bharati University, India, used a South African estuary, Mdloti, to examine the impacts of keystone species on ecosystem function. More

Analyzing the water-energy nexus in the Free State, South Africa

Shelly Bogra of TERI University, New Delhi, India, explored the agricultural water-energy nexus in the Free State, South Africa, focusing in particular on the impact of rainwater harvesting. More

Asymptotic behavior of generalized transport models on networks

Aleksandra Falkiewicz of the Lodz University of Technology, Poland, used network models to examine the relationships between groups of organisms, and showed that although simpler models are sufficient in some cases, the more complex ‘microscopic’ models do provide extra detail. More

The dynamics of female-headed households, economic vulnerability, and climate variability in South Africa

Martin Flatø, of the University of Oslo, Norway, examined households in South Africa in which women are the senior figure—so called female-headed households—and demonstrated that they are substantially more economically vulnerable to climate variation. More

Assessing emissions levels and costs associated with climate and air pollution policies in South Africa

Lucas Henneman of the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, used the Greenhouse Gas Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model emissions and control costs associated with eight energy and air pollution scenarios. More

Satellite-based evapotranspiration estimation of the green scheme irrigation projects in Namibia

Alois Katiti, of the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, compared models which are used to monitor evapotranspiration, providing essential information for sustainable irrigation practices. More

Implementation of the GAINS-model for a greenhouse gas and air quality strategy for South Africa

Carmen Klausbruckner of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa, examined how well climate change and air pollution policies are integrated in South Africa. More

Some happy, others sad: Exploring environmental justice in solid waste management

Nzalalemba Serge Kubanza, of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, examined environmental justice in the context of solid waste management in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. More

Climate variability impacts and coping strategies in Lesotho

Moipone Mantsebo Letsie of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, analyzed how strategies to cope with climate change differ between households in Lesotho. More

Electrical resistivity imaging for assessing groundwater resources in coastal aquifers

Portia Mokoena of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, explored the possibility of using electrical resistivity imaging to improve groundwater management. More

Climate change awareness in rural and township communities of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Elvis Modikela Nkoana, of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, conducted focus group discussions in rural and township communities of Limpopo Province, South Africa to gauge climate change awareness and risk perception. More

Understanding domestic water consumption, management, and its socioeconomic implications in informal urban settlements

Mayank Prakash, of the International Institute for Population Sciences, India, investigated water quality and management in the slums of Mumbai to help policymakers develop improved water delivery services. More

Sustainable road transportation systems in the Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India

Tejas Rawal, of the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, used model simulations to explore the best policy options for achieving a sustainable transport network in Tamil Nadu, India. More

To REDD or not to REDD?

Maria Rivera, of the University of Maryland, USA, used a comprehensive review to examine whether REDD+ is the best policy instrument for the Virunga Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More

Optimizing the electricity value of sugarcane production systems in Mauritius

Shingirirai Savious Mutanga of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, examined how using sugar cane to produce electricity could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More

Understanding the socio-ecological aspects of acid mine drainage in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Emmanuel Captain Vellemu, of Rhodes University, South Africa, used a multidisciplinary approach to identify areas in the Mpumalanga province severely affected by acid mine drainage, and examined the legal frameworks and policies used to deal with the problem. More

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Last edited: 08 February 2016


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