Applications sought for Saleemul Huq memorial scholarship and award for loss and damage research

In memory of Saleemul Huq, a new scholarship and award for researchers from least developed countries, Small Island Developing States and other developing countries has been launched along with other calls to further work on practical solutions for loss and damage caused by climate change.

News, 16 April 2024
Two large, round water tanks. There is sea in the background, and palm trees around.

Tackling the precariousness of the Maldives’ water supply: RTP tank installation in R. Maduvvaree (Photo: UNDP Climate, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

Applications are being sought for a scholarship scheme, mentors and members of a research steering committee to help continue work to find practical solutions for the loss and damage caused by climate change impacts.

The Loss and Damage Research Observatory, a pioneering initiative created by the Alliance for Locally Led Approaches for Transformative Action on Loss and Damage (ALL ACT) and spearheaded by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and IIED, is behind the calls. 

The schemes have been designed to continue work instigated by professor Saleemul Huq, director of ICCCCAD and a senior associate of IIED. 

One of the world’s leading experts on loss and damage, before Huq died last October he worked to promote the importance of local knowledge and perspectives in this field, amplifying voices from the global South. 

The three new calls are planned to bridge knowledge gaps and foster a collaborative research community dedicated to tackling the multifaceted impacts of climate change, particularly in the most vulnerable regions of the world.

The Saleemul Huq Memorial Scholarship

The Saleemul Huq Memorial Scholarship and Award for Loss and Damage Research will support 25 researchers, practitioners and local organisations from least developed countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and developing countries. 

It is aimed at those looking for innovative solutions and strategies that address both the economic and non-economic dimensions of loss and damage. 

Each year, three exceptional individuals from the group will be selected to receive the Saleemul Huq memorial prize for loss and damage research. The scholarship represents a commitment to integrating local knowledge and perspectives into global climate change discourses. 

Seeking mentors to support researchers

An additional call is for experienced professionals to support the researchers and organisations selected under the Saleemul Huq Memorial Scholarship as mentors. 

Mentors will provide academic and research guidance, share insights into effective publication strategies, and help navigate the challenges of academic publication and presentation. 

This mentorship programme is vital in ensuring that local knowledge and experiences are integrated into global climate change discourse and action.

Assembling the research steering committee

The Loss and Damage Research Observatory is also inviting senior experts from universities, think tanks and research institutions to join its research steering committee. 

This committee will play a crucial role in overseeing the observatory's strategic direction, selecting research initiatives for support, and ensuring alignment with the current and evolving needs in the field of loss and damage. 

This initiative underscores the importance of collaborative, interdisciplinary research and aims to foster a LDCs and SIDS-led approach that is grounded in the practical realities of communities at the frontline of climate impacts.

Tackling the urgent concern of loss and damage

ALL-ACT created the Loss and Damage Research Observatory to address the knowledge gap on non-economic loss and damage. This gap is largely due to limited coordination around research and sparse evidence from the global South, along with lack of support for scaling up practical solutions.

Ritu Bharadwaj, principal researcher with IIED’s Climate Change research group, said: “Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to global communities, with the most severe impacts being felt by those in LDCs, SIDS and other vulnerable regions. 

“Up to now, the focus has been on calculating the economic repercussions of climate risk, while the hidden costs of climate change – such as the loss of cultural heritage – are less understood and harder to quantify.”

The observatory features a searchable database of research papers, methodologies and findings, along with tools to build the skills and capacity of researchers. It aspires to create a digital archive to preserve non-economic loss and damage and establish a collaborative South-South-North community of practitioners.

Bharadwaj added: “Through these calls and the supporting platform, the observatory will play a crucial role in facilitating policy advocacy, informing decision-making and ultimately contributing to more evidence-based policies and programmes. We encourage you to apply for these calls and share them within your networks.”