MRI Synthesis Workshops: 2020 Funding Recipients Announced
MRI News
article written by MRI
17.12.20 | 05:12

Early in 2020, a call for proposals as part of the MRI Synthesis Workshops seed funding programme was issued. A total of 13 proposals fulfilled the requirements for further consideration. Of these, two proposals were selected. The first addresses renewable energy transitions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Andes, and European Alps. The second focuses on climate change adaptation in Africa.

As part of our commitment to support our research community to advance key research questions relevant for knowledge on social-ecological systems in mountains, the MRI continues to make small grants available for MRI Synthesis Workshops. Together with MRI Working Groups, these workshops are part of current MRI Community-Led Activities, which are those activities led primarily by researchers and supported by the MRI Coordination Office through seed funding, and administrative and communications assistance.

MRI Synthesis Workshops are intended to bring together global change researchers to address specific topics of interest to the mountain research community, with the objective of producing synthesis products such as articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals or the compilation of relevant data into publishable datasets or databases. For the 2020 call, the MRI Coordination Office received 13 proposals that met the conditions for funding support, from which two were selected. Due to the complex situation around the COVID-19 pandemic for much of 2020, the activities planned for these Synthesis Workshops are due to take place in 2021, and may include options for virtual exchange. 

Linking key global change issues across mountains

The two proposals selected cover topics that are not only pertinent in the current landscape of knowledge needs around issues such as climate change and resource use, but also apply novel synthesis approaches and methodologies that are highly inter- and transdisciplinary. Furthermore, they address key funding criteria in relation to balance in gender, career status, and cultural diversity among participants, as well as participation from researchers from developing countries. Of equal importance to the review committee is ensuring that these activities also foster promising models of interregional exchange and collaboration from which to learn, including South-South collaborations. 

The two successful workshops are:


Christopher Scott (Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, USA & Mountain Chair at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD), and Chi Huyen Truong (Himalayan University Consortium, HUC, ICIMOD).

Scott and Truong will explore key synthesis questions around the water-energy-food nexus, including water availability and its use in energy, agriculture, and other needs in mountain areas as part of the upcoming HUC Academy planned in 2021. The funding support from the MRI will go towards expanding the scope of the Academy that ICIMOD already provides for the HKH region, enabling additional input and participation from researchers (including early career researchers) from the Andes and the European Alps. This is expected to facilitate an interregional exchange that not only enhances learning and networking opportunities for participants, but also provides a comparative basis for a synthesis of these key issues across those mountain regions under examination.


Aida Cuni-Sanchez (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway), Noelia Zafra Calvo (BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain), and Beth Kaplin (University of Rwanda, Rwanda).

Based on synthesis activities and interviews with communities in 15 tropical mountains in 10 countries across West and East Africa, the workshop planned by this consortium will seek to respond to the following key synthesis questions:

  • Which climate change adaptation strategies are used in African mountain systems?
  • Which barriers and enabling factors affect transformative adaptation to climatic changes in African mountain systems?

This synthesis workshop is a unique and collective effort that also includes 9 additional participating collaborators and researchers based in Kenya, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. By engaging with the relevant communities in those mountain areas, this synthesis activity goes beyond a classical desk-top review of the existing peer-reviewed literature by seeking, including, and reporting on often underrepresented accounts of lived experiences with adaptation in context.

We at the MRI Coordination Office take this opportunity to congratulate the teams behind these successful proposals and wish them all the very best in realising their planned activities. We look forward to reporting on their progress and the important contributions they are making to synthesis knowledge of our changing mountains in 2021.

Call for MRI Synthesis Workshops 2021

The next call for MRI Synthesis Workshop proposals will be issued towards the end of the first quarter of 2021. Keep an eye on our website and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates. To learn more about past workshops, and general funding eligibility and conditions, please visit the MRI Synthesis Workshops page of our website.


MRI’s financial support for synthesis workshops is made available thanks to the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) and the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein.  



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 Cover image by Tibor Janosi Mozes.