HUC Academy 2018: Building Mountain Research Capacity

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The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, a global asset for food, energy and water resources, is highly vulnerable to climate change. Temperature increase in the HKH is likely to be higher than the global average because of elevation-dependent warming. The Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) Academy was formed in an effort to sensitize early-career researchers to such issues and provide them a platform for sharing knowledge and learning from subject experts. The ultimate goal is to create a new generation of transformational leaders committed to mountain research.

Participants and faculty of HUC Academy 2018.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya

The HUC Academy 2018, titled “Climate Science and Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region – a Transdisciplinary Approach,” took place at the ICIMOD Headquarters in Kathmandu and in Pokhara, Nepal, from 1 to 14 July 2018. Twenty-two participants from eight Hindu Kush Himalayan countries participated. 

Participants engrossed in group work during the HUC Academy 2018 at ICIMOD, Kathmandu.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya

The course was taught by resource persons from ICIMOD and tertiary education institutions in Switzerland. The programme was designed to build key skills and competencies in climate science and adaptation to climate change through learner-centered methods and interactive practical work. Class sessions were facilitated with expert input, real-life case examples and field excursions. Session-based group work helped participants work collectively to put their learning to practice. Participants also learned essential skills such as academic writing, communicating science to various audiences, public speaking/presentation, and leadership. 

Participants presenting their research findings from the field work in Pokhara during the HUC Academy 2018.
Photo: Jitendra Bajracharya

Participants appreciated the rich knowledge and practical skills gained. They said these would be useful to them in conducting transdisciplinary research in climate science and adaptation to climate change. They said the HUC Academy helped foster their communication and leadership skills, and provided them an opportunity to network.

The HUC Academy 2018 was part of a two-year grant made to the HUC by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).