24 March 2010

West-African network for studies of environmental change (WANSEC)

The project concerns the establishment of a West African network of universities to be involved in research-based capacity development within applications of Earth Observation and GIS for studies of environmental change, including climate change impacts on land use and water resources. 

DSE's role is related to the educational aspects of the P.hD-students within the project. 

Project participants:

  • Rasmus Fensholt, Dept. of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Lene Møller Madsen, Dept. of Science Education, University of Copenhagen
  • Kjeld Rasmussen, Dept. of Geography and Geogoly, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Lasse Møller-Jensen, Dept. of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Cheikh Mbow, LERG, University of Dakar, Senegal.
  • Pierre Zoungrana,Dept. of Geography, University of Quagadougou, Burkin Faso.
  • Adama Mariko, Dept. of Geology, University of Bamako, Mali.
  • Paul Yankson, Institute of Geography and Ressource development, Universtity of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. 

The project runs from 2008 - 2011 and is financed by DANIDA.

Detailed project description

It is proposed to create a West African network, including University of Dakar, Senegal, Technical University of Bamako, Mali, University of Ghana, Legon, University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso collaborating on research-based development of capacity within studies of environmental change, using Earth Observation and GIS techniques. The network will build upon three terminated, bilateral ENRECA projects, involving all the partners except Technical University of Bamako. In all three cases the collaboration has involved the establishment of facilities and development of competences within Earth Observation and GIS. The suggested project is intended to build on this through research-based capacity development and by furthering South-South collaboration links. The collaborative research will revolve around the theme of climate change impacts. It will include four sub-projects, each involving at least three of the partners. The list of sub-projects will be revised annually by a scientific steering committee with representatives of all universities. From the outset the four sub-projects agreed upon are the following:

  • Earth observation of changes in rural land use/cover and vegetation productivity.
  • GIS-based studies of urban and peri-urban land use dynamics.
  • Earth Observation of changes in water resource availability.
  • Earth Observation of savanna fires and GIS-based analysis of their causes and effects.

All projects will include joint research activities, including field campaigns in selected study areas. A preliminary identification of such joint study areas has been done. In addition to these joint research activities, the project will involve organization of at least six PhD-courses, covering both technical issues within Earth Observation and GIS and thematic research training issues related to the research projects. The project will be coordinated jointly by Rasmus Fensholt, DGG, and Cheikh Mbow, Institute des Sciences de l'Environnement (ISE), University of Dakar. This implies that the involvement of both English- and French-speaking countries is supported . In order to promote exchange also of technical expertise within the project, a ‘technical support group', involving technicians from four of the five institutions have been created. To minimize costs it is suggested that all activities, including PhD-courses as well as technical support, are organized in the region to the extent possible. The project is planned to support 4 PhD-scholarships, one in each of the West African countries involved. Technical University of Mali is without a specific PhD-program. It is planned that the project will support the enrollment of a PhD.student from Mali in a PhD-program at one of the other partner universities.

Input from Department of Science Education (DSE) cover the aspects of education related to training of PhD students.

In spring 2009 a workshop on research methodology was held in Bamako, Mali to strengthen the PhD-students project description, their plans of field work campains, and the research relations between the PhD-students.

Highlights from the project:


 African Ph.D.-students