News Application for the SPIBES Master's Programme

As part of its active support to the capacity building mandate of IPBES in the West African region, WABES launches a second call for application to its Master of Science (MSc)Programme in “Managing Science-Policy Interfaces on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Development in West Africa – SPIBES”.

Deadline to apply: August 19, 2019 (23h59 CET) or until all positions are filled.

Concerned URL
Release date 26/04/2019
Geographical coverage West Africa
Keywords Master, IPBES, science-policy, scholarship

Programme summary

The Master of Science (MSc) in “Managing Science-Policy Interfaces on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Development in West Africa – SPIBES” is a 2-year interdisciplinary course divided into 4 semesters. SPIBES is designed to provide students with broad, high-quality information and skills needed to facilitate the operation of science-policy interfaces such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), as a means for achieving sustainable development goals in West Africa. The course is designed for students that are passionate about the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services to maintain suitable livelihoods for future generations. We like to address people who are keen about acting as science-policy managers and sustainability agents, translating scientific knowledge into meaningful and applicable concepts and tools, as well as channelling back policy requirements to the scientific community.


This programme aims to create experts capable of engaging in science-policy interfaces such as IPBES on an international, regional, sub-regional and national level, specifically related to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) policy-making and sustainable development pathways. The programme will specifically:

  • provide the students with a general understanding of BES and their relevance from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives;
  • facilitate inter- and transdisciplinary thinking to create and enable a new generation of scientists to tackle global environmental challenges;
  • generate knowledge on the functioning and set-up of (international) policy processes and decision making relating to biodiversity conservation, and
  • Provide tools to translate research findings into policy-relevant outcomes to support decision making.

The academic host and partner institutions

The MSc. programme is jointly hosted by the sociology department and the Africa Center of Excellence on Climate Change Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD), both of the University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The programme is run in partnership with:

  • The Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn (Germany)
  • The Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig (Germany)
  • The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  • The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL)
  • CoKnow – Coproducing Knowledge for Sustainability

The programme also collaborates with the University of Senghor Alexandria Egypt, the University Nangui-Abrogoua, Côte d’Ivoire, and BES-Net.

 What we offer

The programme promises a safe and academically challenging environment through highly qualified personnel, quality teaching and research infrastructures, access to online library and journal publications and opens up strong connections to regional and international networks. Furthermore, the successful completion of this post-graduate programme qualifies the graduates to take up leadership roles in biodiversity science-policy interfaces, opens the opportunity to work in international non-governmental and governmental organisations and/or launch an academic or consultancy career.

Language preparatory courses

The courses of the SPIBES programme are taught in English. SPIBES offers a 3-month intensive English language preparatory course to admitted students from French and Portuguese speaking countries wishing to improve their English language skills. The minimum admission requirement to this English preparatory course is a Level B1 (of the Common European Framework).

In the same time period, French Language courses will also be offered to students from English speaking countries, introducing them to the cultures, preparing them for social integration into the host country and networking with their French counterparts.

Scholarship and Research Support

The programme offers a full scholarship to all successful candidates. The scholarship covers the tuition fees of the two-year Master’s programme, and in addition provides a monthly stipend of €350 (~ 220,000 FCFA), as well as valid health insurance for the duration of the programme.

A laptop computer and research funds will also be made available to all students. The research funds will be disbursed only upon completion of the 18-course modules and the approval of the research proposal and associated budget by the constituted committee.

Students are expected to submit regular progress updates. Any form of misconducts, failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress and non-compliance with the university’s regulation could result in the termination of the scholarship.


Candidates willing to apply must have:

  • Concluded a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in environmental sciences (biology, ecology, climate, economics, law, sociology), or any other relevant discipline.
  • Be a national of one of the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries. Special considerations can be given to other nationals with own funds.
  • Must not be older than age 30 years. Exempted from this age limit are those with demonstrated professional activities and/or with children.

Documents required

Suitably-qualified applicants should upload the following documents as a single pdf file not exceeding 5MB via the online application portal:

  • A filled application form (English language)
  • Letter of motivation – max. 4,000 characters (English language)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) (English language)
  • Copy of passport data page
  • All diplomas/Bachelor certificates
  • Transcripts of record
  • Two signed letters of recommendation (one at least from a staff member from the institution of the last degree).

Please note that this information has expired.