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Denmark invests in climate research in Ghana

Ongoing cooperation between Danish universities and the University of Ghana is being supplemented with new funds to strengthen climate change research. It will strengthen research equipment and teaching.

2020.04.24 | Camilla Brodam

Aarhus University is helping to strengthen research in countries including Ghana via Danida’s Building Stronger Universities programme. Photo: University of Ghana

Building Stronger Universities (BSU3) is an initiative from Danida, where the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University is leading the initiative at the University of Ghana, Copenhagen University and CG Consult participate too. The main purpose is to build research capacity at the University of Ghana. The project, which has been allocated DKK 13 million from Danida over a four-year period, has two scientific focus areas:

 

  1. Adaptation and mitigation of climate change in Ghanaian agriculture with Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University as the projectleader leader
  2. Malaria with Copenhagen University as academic leader

Better research on climate change in Ghana

The BSU3 project at the University of Ghana will, among other things, build a research team capable of conducting competitive research in climate change, educate new researchers, produce publications both internationally and nationally and attract funding, all with a focus on improving the living conditions of the Ghanaians.

The aim of the project is thus not to research climate change in Ghana, but to educate researchers and expand the research facilities at the University of Ghana, so that the university itself can conduct high quality research within the subject.

In addition to the allocated DKK 13 million from Danida, senior researcher Finn Plauborg from Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University has applied for and received DKK 1.1 million from Danida's extra pool for the acquisition of new research equipment. 

New research equipment

“Danida posted a competition with a total of DKK 9 million. The requirement to participate was to write a reasoned application for an amount within the DKK 9 million. We wrote an application of DKK 1.1 million for new research equipment and training in how to use it. And we got all the money,” Finn Plauborg says. 

Therefore, the senior researcher in collaboration with researchers in Ghana is in the process of purchasing instrumentation and equipment for DKK 900,000, while the last DKK 200,000 will be spent on training and courses in using the equipment correctly. 

“The equipment we received money for is part of the project that deals with climate change. Among other things, we have purchased two climate stations, advanced measuring equipment to follow the carbon balance of a typical agricultural system and a mill to grind green material and an oven to dry it in,” says Finn Plauborg.

The new equipment focuses on carbon storage in the soil. Many farmers in Ghana do not fertilize the soil, and on average only 1.5 tonnes of maize are grown per hectare. This means that there is probably no significant emission of nitrous oxide from Ghanaian agriculture, which, for example in Danish conditions, is one of the major climate impacts from agriculture. Similarly, there may be depletion of the soil in terms of its carbon content.

"We have a PhD student who works full time with carbon storage, he will use the new equipment, among other things," says Finn Plauborg.

The project has further committed to a 10-year strategy for research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, to ensure that the University of Ghana can achieve its goal of becoming the strongest university in West Africa in climate change research. The new equipment is a big step towards achieving that goal.

Behind the project

Collaborators: Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University, Copenhagen University, CG Consult and University of Ghana.

Funding: The project is funded by Danida

Conflicts of Interest: None

More information: You can read more about "Building Stronger Universities, Phase 3" here.

Contact information: Senior researcher Finn Plauborg, Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University. Email: finn.plauborg@agro.au.dk. Tel: +4522181809

Research, Agro, DCA, Grant