Careers & Calls


Call for CLIFF-GRADS student applications: Capability building through research stays for low emission agriculture

The Climate, Food and Farming - Global Research Alliance Development Scholarship (CLIFF-GRADS) Programme invites applications from Ph.D. students from developing countries[1] for short term scientific training and research on the measurement, modelling and mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or carbon storage in agricultural systems relevant to developing countries (this may be in the context of enhancing food security). Research is conducted in association with scientists from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).

The deadline for Round 4 CLIFF-GRADS student applications is the 1st April 2020.

Apply here

Background and 2019 outcome evaluation

CLIFF-GRADS is a joint initiative of the GRA and the CCAFS Low Emissions Development Flagship.

Investing in future science

CLIFF-GRADS allows scientists to gain technical skills in agricultural GHG emissions management and opens the door to an international network of experts working toward reducing GHGs from food production. The growing program is becoming more competitive and valuable as a means of supporting scientific expertise around the world and helping drive climate change action. CLIFF-GRADS enables research fellows to gain hands-on experience with research equipment and facilities they may otherwise not have access to.

A recent outcome evaluation of the CLIFF and CLIFF-GRADS program showed that a majority of students benefited from their research stay. A survey was used to collect student feedback. Out of the 40 respondents, 93% said that due to the CLIFF-GRADS program, they built new partnerships that they could now collaborate with in the future. 85% of respondents operated new field and lab equipment or software they did not have access to before the CLIFF-GRADS program, and a majority used new or improved research methods.

Application requirements

Applicants must complete the CLIFF-GRADS Round 4 online application form and submit the following necessary documentation merged into a single PDF file. Applications must be in English; any applications in any other language will not be accepted. Required documents include:

  • 1-2 page motivation letter (review call document for specifics)
  • 1-page academic curriculum vitae (CV/Resume) that includes your contact details
  • Letter of support from your PhD supervisor at your current host university


Individuals applying for the programme must be citizens of developing countries,  undertaking their PhD at a university in a developing country and must not have previously been awarded a CLIFF-GRADS grant. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Selection process

Successful applicants will demonstrate the relevance of their PhD research for the project to which they are applying. Successful applicants will be matched with a project and notified by email by late June, 2020.  

Applicants are selected based on three criteria:

  1. Overall level of research experience,
  2. Relevance of PhD thesis topic or other research experience to the CLIFF-GRADS objective, and
  3. Clarity of description of how the CLIFF-GRADS experience will improve the student’s scientific capability and contribute to their career. 


CLIFF-GRADS research stays are expected to be a maximum of 6 months. Students and research supervisors are welcome to extend the stay by mutual agreement if additional funding is available to support a longer stay.


Funding for this CLIFF-GRADS call is provided by the New Zealand Government and the CGIAR Trust Fund donors.

Additional information

All enquiries relating to this call for applications should be directed to the email address.

[1] Includes all countries listed as “low-income economies’’, “lower-middle-income economies”, “upper-middle income economies” and “Latin America and the Caribbean” by the World Bank.