The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) supports extensive cutting-edge science in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The majority of this research is in the general area of the environment and extends across a range of disciplines. NSF support in SSA is addressing important global environmental issues, advancing frontiers of knowledge in the biological and physical sciences, while at the same time providing important scientific foundations for social-economic development in the SSA region.

Unique Opportunities

In the global context, SSA represents a unique geographic region, comprising a great diversity of ecosystems, cultures, and unique human-land-water-atmospheric interfaces and interactions. It is a globally significant region with respect to biodiversity, geosciences, and atmospheric sciences, and hosts a number of world-class research sites and institutions. It presents singular opportunities and resources for advancing scientific knowledge and addressing important regional and global environmental problems.




The workshop evaluated the current status of environmental research in the SSA region. Researchers addressing SSA environmental issues are performing leading edge science and contributing much toward conceptual advances in several scientific fields. However the potential broad impact of much of this work is currently hindered by very limited interaction or collaboration among projects, programs, disciplines, and countries. There have been no efforts to develop a comprehensive approach to address regional and global environmental issues by enhancing cooperation and intellectual collaboration across disciplines, regions, and hierarchical levels. The workshop identified factors hindering strong and balanced intellectual collaboration between U.S. and SSA researchers and limiting progress in addressing key scientific questions.


The workshop made important recommendations with regard to research areas, training, enhancing multi-disciplinary approaches, operational issues, strengthening and balancing US-SSA scholarly collaboration and enhancing collaborative research on the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).