College of Research Associates

  • The College of Research Associates (CRA) is a continent-wide network of senior African research scientists who assist UNU-INRA to address the critical challenges facing natural resources management in Africa. It seeks to bring together Africa’s finest brains to address the critical challenges facing the management of natural resources and the transformation of those resources to improve the well-being of people on the continent.

    The CRA was officially launched in 1999, following an institutional capacity assessment which revealed inadequacies in research infrastructure and training of critical human resource personnel in natural resources management in universities and research institutions across Africa.

    Limited access to current literature, research funding and intellectual isolation of most African scientists from the global scientific community, were identified as the key causes for the shortfall in natural resources management research in Africa. It is against this background that UNU-INRA recognised the need to form a CRA to help address some of the challenges confronting natural resources management on the continent. This is to challenge African Scientists to help:

    • Advance food security through basic research and disseminate research knowledge to indigenous farmers to improve agricultural practices;
    • Add value to Africa’s primary products through applied science and technology;
    • Link scientific knowledge on natural resources to policy, problem-solving, and long term planning;
    • Improve the capacity of young scientists in cutting-edge technology

    The CRA provides a platform to improve the relationship between UNU-INRA and African scientists in national universities and research institutions.

  • The CRA is a network open to African scientists, academics and technologists who are active in research and training programs that aim at transforming Africa’s natural resources to improve livelihoods. UNU-INRA occasionally invites the curriculum vitae (CVs) of active researchers involved in research in the institute’s programme areas, which focus on the management and governance of renewable and non-renewable natural resources and green economy promotion.

    The institute keeps the CVs of the interested applicants in its database called — the Registry of Researchers (RoR. Potential candidates for the CRA membership are selected after an assessment of the CVs. Below are some benefits of having one’s CV in the UNU-INRA RoR database:

    • Academic credentials published on UNU website;
    • Serving as the institute’s “Ambassador” or Consultant on research projects in country of origin or at a regional level;
    • Receiving updates and calls from the institute on research proposals and capacity development programmes; and
    • Assist in creating an entry window for UNU-INRA projects, fund mobilization and provide any other support as may be required

    The selected members of the CRA will remain in their respective universities or research institutions across the continent and complement the work of UNU-INRA in targeting training and research on natural resources management issues.

    Membership Benefits

    • Opportunity to belong to a wider network of African researchers/scientists;
    • Improved knowledge in natural resources management;
    • Opportunity to be involved in UNU-INRA‘s joint projects across Africa;
    • Opportunity to support Africa’s sustainable development through evidence-based policy advice;
    • Enhanced visibility and reputation in natural resource management; and
    • Contribute to knowledge
  • Specifically, the CRA member is an ambassador of UNU-INRA and shall be called upon to carry out various duties including the following:

    • Carry out research projects for the institute from time to time;
    • Develop and submit research proposals to funding agencies or UNU-INRA as the case may be;
    • Support in editing technical publications relating to his or her area of expertise;
    • Supervise postgraduate fellows; and
    • Take part in other programmes and activities as may be required
  • Prospective candidates are encouraged to submit their applications and Curriculum Vitae to:

    United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa

    Postal: Private Mail Bag, Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana


    Copies of the application forms, guidelines for completing them (in English and French) and the UNU-INRA Strategic Plan 2011–2014 are available from the Related Files tab.

    Note: Proposals submitted by a multidisciplinary team, with each member responsible for specific aspects of the proposed project, will be more favourably considered. Proposals received at the UNU-INRA Secretariat are pre-screened and then forwarded to subject matter experts worldwide for review and advice on scientific quality, feasibility and contribution to food security and biodiversity management in Africa.

    The selection process is very rigorous. Therefore, applicants should carefully follow our guidelines for completing the research/training proposal submission forms. Final decisions on applications are communicated to candidates after projects that received favourable peer reviews are further reviewed and adopted by the Advisory Board of UNU-INRA.