Christopher Huggins has been awarded a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship to hold at Laurier for his research examining the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) to promote climate change adaption in Africa. Huggins, who earned his PhD from Carleton University in 2014, will be hosted at Laurier in the School of International Policy and Governance (SIPG) at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA).
“Laurier has world-class people and programmes,” said Huggins. “I was attracted by Laurier’s engagement with the broader constellation of research institutions in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, including the BSIA, University of Waterloo, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which has a strong Africa programme.”
The Banting fellowship is a two-year postdoctoral award that provides funding to exceptional postdoctoral applicants to contribute to the Canada’s economic, social and research‑based growth. Only 70 of these fellowships are awarded across the country each year.
“The Banting is an amazing opportunity because it is a two-year position and it affords the time necessary to plan and take charge of a comprehensive research agenda,” said Huggins. “It encourages more strategic thinking, as well as collaborative efforts.”
Working with Dr. James Orbinski, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) chair in global health, and the 2030+ Research Group at the BSIA, Huggins’ research examine the relationships between climate change, technology and health in Malawi. He aims to make a contribution to this work by looking at how ideas of nutrition feed into ICT platforms for agricultural climate adaptation.
“ICTs, such as mobile phones, are increasingly being used to provide agricultural information in Africa; however, there are important research questions around the technologies – not just around access,” said Huggins. “We need to understand how information is tailored to fit particular technological channels, how information delivered by particular technologies is received and interpreted, and how technology may be used to monitor farmers’ activities and collect data.”
“ICTs are crucial to the future of the agricultural sector in Africa; at the same time, ICTs are not a magic bullet.”
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