award handover

Dr Ebenezer F. Amankwaa was named Best Overall Researcher at the University of Ghana’s 5th International Conference of the College of Humanities in October.

This award goes to a researcher who has both quantity and quality publications in internationally reputable journals; who has shown consistency in research publication; who has mobilised funds to the University of Ghana, who is active in research, and who has contributed to the University's visibility.

Dr Amankwaa is an urban geographer and senior lecturer at the Department of Geography and Resource Development at this university, his alma mater. He holds a PhD in Geography (Urban Studies), an MPhil in Environmental Science and a BA in Geography and Resource Development.

He is an Affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and has previously worked as a Research Fellow at the United Nations University – Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), as Fellow of the Bosch Pan-African College on Sustainable Cities - and is a member of the African Urban Planning Research Network.

His research interest spans across the fields of social, economic and development geography with specific focus on water, sanitation, and energy infrastructure; informality, mobility, and livelihood; environmental management; public health; climate change adaptation, and urban governance.

Dr Amankwaa’s FAR-LeaF research project is titled: “Analyzing Dynamic Adaptation strategies of the urban Poor To extreme heat to improve well-being (ADAPT)”.

“ADAPT aims to develop new conceptual and empirical understandings of how young people and the urban poor experience and adapt to extreme heat at the nexus of demographic shifts, climate change, and Covid-19. The original knowledge the research will generate is relevant beyond Ghana to the Global South and can shape urban policy more broadly,” he says.

He says the motivation for his current direction of research is largely situated within his medium-term career goal: exploring new research paths and sharing his research outputs at a higher level where he can contribute to the design of locally informed policies and interventions that will reduce poverty and promote human well-being in Africa.

“I have always challenged myself to forge new career paths in terms of pursuing African scientific research and leadership excellence. Mindful of this, for nearly a decade now, my collaborative research has contributed to promoting inclusive development and environmental sustainability - in the context of pro-poor urban governance, climate change adaptation and the application of transdisciplinary research methodology.


“I have participated in international transdisciplinary research projects and undertaken national assignments which have not only contributed to my enriching and rewarding experiences and networks, but also shaped urban policies in Ghana which have translated into interventions and practice. My journey has benefited from mentorship and support from senior academics, international fellowships and collaborations. In all of these pursuits, the key lesson for me as a young scholar is doing good science, translating research findings to easily acceptable formats, building networks and being trustworthy,” he says.

What would your advice be to young researchers?

“Young researchers should aim high, do good research and contribute their quota to the academic community. At the right time their good work will be recognised and celebrated. They should not underestimate their potentials - visibility comes with the right mind, attitude and determination. Their desire to bring about change in their societies should stir the curiosity in them to always learn, develop themselves and adapt to the changing world. For it is better to be prepared for opportunities and never have one, than to meet opportunities and not being prepared.

What, to you, is the meaning of awards?

“Just as awards symbolise recognition of hard work, they also stimulate a new drive to aspire and achieve more, keep up to the task and exceed expectations. Awards are reminders to distinguish yourself and hand-hold others to achieve greater heights.”

Where to from here – what is your plan for your immediate future with your research?

“I want to continue to work hard, because hard work pays off! I will be leveraging on my partnerships and network, and continue to collaborate with a transdisciplinary team of African scientists who have a common goal of transforming lives through tailored African science.

“The importance of my research is illustrated in my contribution to seeing transformed lives by engaging with local residents and key stakeholders to co-design, co-produce and co-disseminate evidence-based policy that is African-made.”

 

Dr Ebenezer Amankwaa

Lecturer
Department of Geography and Resource Development
University of Ghana
Ghana


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Prof Stephanie Burton

Prof Stephanie Burton

Research and Postgraduate Education
FAR-LeaF Program Director
University of Pretoria
South Africa

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The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.