Climate Food and Farming - Global Research Alliance Development Scholarships (CLIFF-GRADS)

Climate, Food and Farming - Global Research Alliance Development Scholarships (CLIFF-GRADS) is a joint initiative of CCAFS low emissions development research and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). Support is provided by CGIAR Trust Fund and bilateral donors, including the governments of New Zealand and the United States.

Two calls for proposals are open through September 30, 2018.  Please see the call for measurement of emissions and mitigation / sequestration of greenhouse gases from 1) agricultural production and 2) food loss and waste.

CLIFF-GRADS builds the capability of early-career scientists and graduate students from developing countries to conduct applied research on climate change mitigation in agriculture with the goal of expanding knowledge and experience in quantification of agricultural greenhouse gases. During their tenure at the host institutions, grant recipients learn to evaluate agriculture-related options for reducing GHG emissions and consider productivity and livelihood consequences. The techniques studied may include (but are not limited to) remote sensing, economic surveys, and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions. Topics depend on the students' and host institutions' interests.

CLIFF-GRADS also generates novel climate change research on smallholder farming systems and facilitates South-South knowledge exchange. Since 2011, a large number of students have received grants and have gone on to hold important positions in research institutions and governments. In recognition of the importance for gender equity in science and policy-making, CLIFF-GRADS aims to award at least half of all fellowships to women.


Arias-Navarro C, Díaz-Pinés E, Kieseb R, Rosenstock TS, Rufino MC, Stern D, Neufeldt H, Verchot LV, Butterbach-Bahl K. 2013. Gas pooling: a sampling technique to overcome spatial heterogeneity of soil carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide fluxes.Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67: 20–23.

Arias-Navarro C, Díaz-Pinés E, Klatt S, Brandt P, Rufino MC, Butterbach-Bahl K, Verchot LV. 2017. Spatial variability of soil N2O and CO2 fluxes in different topographic positions in a tropical montane forest in Kenya. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 122:514-527.

Arias-Navarro C, Díaz-Pinés E, Zuazo P, Rufino MC, Verchot LV, Butterbach-Bahl K. 2017. Quantifying the contribution of land use to N2O, NO and CO2 fluxes in a montane forest ecosystem of Kenya. Biogeochemistry 134:95-114

Carvalho MTM, Madari BE, Leal WGO, Costa AR, Machado PLOA, Silveira PM, Moreira JAA, Heinemann AB. 2013. Nitrogen fluxes from irrigated common‑bean as affected by mulching and mineral fertilizationPesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 48(5): 478-486.

Choudhary M, Datta A, Jat HS, Yadav AK, Gathala MK, Sapkota TB, Das AD, Sharma PC, Jat ML, Singh R, Ladha JK. 2018.  Changes in soil biology under conservation agriculture based sustainable intensification of cereal systems in Indo-Gangetic Plains. Geoderma 313: 193-204.

Choudhary M, Jat HS, Datta A, Yadav AK, Sapkota TB, Mondal S, Meena RP, Sharma PC, Jat ML. 2018. Sustainable intensification influences soil quality, biota, and productivity in cereal-based agroecosystems. Applied Soil Ecology 126:189-198.

Ding L, Wang C, Lu Q, Yan Z, Shi Z. 2013. Effects of Configuration and Head Space Wind Profile on the Performances of Flux Chambers in Gas Emission Measurement: A Laboratory Study. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Paper Number 131619989. Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Goopy JP, Onyango A, Dickhoefer U, Butterbach-Bahl K. A new approach for improving emission factors for enteric methane emissions of cattle in smallholder systems of East Africa – Results for Nyando, Western Kenya. Agricultural Systems.  

Goopy JP, Pelster DE, Onyango A, Marshall K, Lukuyu M. 2017. Simple and robust algorithms to estimate liveweight in African smallholder cattle. Animal Production Science.

Guarnacci, U. 2012 Governance for sustainable reconstruction after disasters: Lessons from Nias, Indonesia. Environmental Development 2:73-85.

Guarnacci U. 2016. Joining the dots: Social networks and community resilience in post-conflict, post-disaster Indonesia. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 16:180-191.

Heve WK, Olesen J, Chirinda N, Adiku S. 2015. Targeted management of organic resources for sustainably increasing soil organic carbon: observations and perspectives for resource use and climate adaptations in northern Ghana. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science. 

Kansiime KM, Shisanya AC, Wambugu KS. 2014. Effectiveness of technological options for minimising production risks under variable climateic conditions in eastern UgandaAfrican Crop Science Journal 22s4: 859-974.

Kansiime MK, Wambugu SK, Shisanya CA. 2013. Perceived and actual rainfall trends and variability in Eastern Uganda: implications for community preparedness and responseJournal of Natural Sciences Research 3(8).

Marin A, Baldissera T, Pinto C, Garagorry F, Zubieta A, Giraldo LA, Chirinda N, Arango J, Carvalho P. 2017. Grazing management innovation as a strategy to improve animal production and reduce GHG emissions. (Spanish: Una innovación en el manejo del pastoreo como estrategia para mejorar la producción animal y reducir las emisiones de GEI). CCAFS Info Note. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Mujuru L, Gotora T, Velthorst EJ, Nyamangara J, Hoosbeek MR. 2013. Soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration over an age sequence of Pinus patula plantations in Zimbabwean Eastern HighlandsForest Ecology and Management, 313, 254–265. 

Mujuru L, Mureva A, Velthorst, EJ, Hoosbeek MR. 2013. Land use and management effects on soil organic matter fractions in Rhodic Ferralsols and Haplic Arenosols in Bindura and Shamva districts of ZimbabweGeoderma, 209-210, 262–272. 

Mujuru L, Rusinamhhodzi L, Nyamangara J, Hoosbeek MR. 2015. Effects of nitrogen fertilizer and manure application on storage of carbon and nitrogen under continuous maize cropping in Arenosols and Luvisols of Zimbabwe. The Journal of Agricultural Science.

Musyimi, Z., Said, M.Y., Zida, D., Rosenstock, T.S., Udelhoven, T., Savadogo, P., Leeuw, J. de and Aynekulu, E. 2017. Evaluating fire severity in Sudanian ecosystems of Burkina Faso using Landsat 8 satellite images. Journal of Arid Environments 139: 95–109.

Nyamadzawo G, Shi Y, Chirinda N, Oleson J, Mapanda F, Wuta M, Wu W, Meng F, Oelofse M, de Neergaard A, Smith J. 2014. Combining organic and inorganic nitrogen fertilisation reduces N2O emissions from cereal crops: a comparative analysis of China and Zimbabwe. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 

Nyamadzawo G, Wuta M, Chirinda N, Smith JL. 2013. An estimation of greenhouse gas emissions from seasonal wetland (dambo) rice in Chiota smallholder farming area of ZimbabweAtmospheric Climate Sciences. 3:13-20.

Nyamazawo G, Wuta M, Nyamangara J, Nyamugafata P, Chirinda N. 2014. Optimizing dambo (seasonal wetland) cultivation for climate change adaptation and sustainable crop production in the smallholder farming areas of Zimbabwe. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.  

Nyamazawo G, Wuta M, Nyamangara J, Smith JL, Rees RM. 2014.  Nitrous oxide and methane emissions from cultivated seasonal wetland (dambo) soils with inorganic, organic and integrated nutrient management. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems.

Nyamadzawo G, Wuta M, Nyamangara J,Rees R, Smith J. 2014. The effects of catena positions on greenhouse gas emissions along a seasonal wetland (dambo) transect in tropical Zimbabwe.  Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science.

Onyango A, Dickhoefer U, Butterbach-Bahl K, Goopy J. 2016. Digestibility and metabolizable energy of selected tropical feedstuffs estimated by in vitro and prediction equations. Poster prepared for the Tropentag 2016 Conference on Solidarity in a Competing World.

Vu Q, de Neergaard A, Tran T, Hoang Q, Ly P, Tran T, Jensen L. 2015. Manure, biogas digestate and crop residue management affects methane gas emissions from rice paddy fields on Vietnamese smallholder livestock farms. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 103:329–346.

Vu QD, de Neergaard A, Tran TD, Hoang HTT, Vu VTK, Jensen LS. 2014. Greenhouse gas emissions from passive composting of manure and digestate with crop residuesbiochar on small-scale livestock farms in VietnamEnvironmental Technology.

Vo TBT, Wassmann R, Tirol-Padre R, Cao VP, MacDonald B, Espaldon MVO, Sander BO. 2017. Methane emission from rice cultivation in different agro-ecological zones of the Mekong river delta: seasonal patterns and emission factors for baseline water managementSoil Science and Plant Nutrition. 

Wanyama I, Pelster DE, Arias-Navarro C, Butterbach-Bahl K, Verchot LV, Rufino MC. 2018. Management intensity controls soil N2O fluxes in an Afromontane ecosystem. Science of the Total Environment 624: 769-780.

Wanyama I, Rufino MC, Pelster DE, Wanyama G, Atzberger C, van Asten P, Verchot LV, Butterbach-Bahl K. 2018. Land-use, land-use history and soil type affect soil greenhouse gas fluxes from agricultural landscapes of the East African highlandsJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences123(3): 976-990.

Yusuf HM, Treydte AC, Sauerborn J. 2015. Managing semi-arid rangelands for carbon storage: Grazing and wood encroachment effects on soil carbon and nitrogen. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0109063.


Partners and acknowledgments

Beginning in 2018, funding for CLIFF-GRADS is provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with support from CCAFS donors and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) with support from the Government of New Zealand.

From 2011-2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) administered CLIFF in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Ecology of the University of Copenhagen and the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University

All CLIFF Networks and CLIFF-GRADS recipients should acknowledge sponsors in publications. Recommended text

  • CLIFF-GRADS: This work was undertaken as part of the Climate, Food and Farming and Global Research Alliance Development Scholarships (CLIFF-GRADS) program, an initiative implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) with support from their donors. 
  • CLIFF Network: This work was undertaken as part of the Climate, Food and Farming (CLIFF) Network, an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS is carried out with support from the CGIAR Trust Fund and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit



CCAFS is pleased to announce the 2018 CLIFF-GRADS recipients.

Name Home University, Country, and Host Center & Country Thesis Topic
Abubakar Halilu Girei
Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, and CIAT  Soil quality and GHGs emissions under selected systems of rice intensification (SRI) practices in Kadawa, Sudan savanna agroecological zone of Nigeria
Sebastián Vangeli National Institute of Agricultural Technology, Argentina, and Bangor University Impact of agricultural management on nitrous oxide emissions and mitigation potential.
Ridha Ibidhi Mediterranean Institute for Agricultural Economics of Zaragoza, Tunisia and Bangor  University Nutrition strategies, manipulation and management for the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions in the production of dairy and beef cattle.
Yohannes Gelan Regassa  Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia and Wageningen University Effects of Textile Biosolid and Phosphorus Applications on Yield and Yield Components of Maize (Zea mays L.) at Kombolcha, Ethiopia
Isabel Cristina Molina Botero Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, Mexico and CIAT Productivity, reduced methane emissions and reduced dependency on external inputs on tropical livestock farms
Banira Lombardi  National University of the Center of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina and CIAT Quantification of greenhouse gases (GHG) from livestock effluents in typical Argentine production systems.
María De Bernardi
National University of the Center of Buenos Aires, Argentina and INIA in Chile Identification of soils with methanotrophy process and study of some of these soils 

Florencia Garcia


Ofonime Eyo

National University of Córdoba, Argentina and INIA in Chile

Pan African University institute of Life and Earth Sciences (University of Ibadan), Nigeria and CIMMYT 

Use of essential oils to altered microbial activity in the rumen with the aim to reduce enteric methane production

Quantifying GHG emissions from Bangladesh agriculture


Prior to 2018, Climate Food and Farming (CLIFF) Research Network grants were funded solely by CCAFS and selected doctoral students to work with CGIAR researchers affiliated with the Standard Assessment of Mitigation Potential and Livelihoods in Smallholder Systems (SAMPLES) project.

In 2016-2017, the following people were awarded CLIFF grants.

Name Host center Host Region
Bandhu Bural CIMMYT South Asia
Sandra Durango CIAT Latin America
Joseph Macharia ILRI/CIFOR East Africa
Kurku Mamatha ICRISAT South Asia
Alejandra Marin* CIAT Latin America
Isabel Cristina Molin CIAT Latin America
Hoang Trong Nghia IRRI Southeast Asia
Nguyen Van Phu IRRI Southeast Asia
Tavseef Mairaj Shah CIMMYT South Asia
Phan Huu Thanh IRRI Southeast Asia
Jane Waithira ILRI/CIFOR East Africa

CLIFF workshop grantees and experts at annual workshop experts 7-11 November 2017 in Cologne, Germany. Read their new blog post Expanding young researchers’ knowledge on options for reducing agricultural emissionsPhoto: Mamatha Kurku

*Alejandra Marín Gómez was recently commended by National University of Colombia for her participation in COP23.

2014-2015 CLIFF Recipients

In 2014-2015, the following people received CLIFF grants. Read more about the launch of this cohort, held in Montpellier to allow students to attend the Global Science Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture

Name University of Enrollment Host center Host country
Theodora Achieng Kenya ILRI/CIFOR Kenya
Carolina Alvarez Argentina CATIE Costa Rica
Geeta Bhatrai Bastakoti Thailand IRRI Philippines
Madhu  Choudhary India CIMMYT India
Sandra Durango Colombia CIAT Colombia
Alice Onyango Kenya ILRI/CIFOR Kenya
Pardeep Sagwal India CIMMYT India
Tan Yuechen China CIMMYT UK


2013-2014 CLIFF Recipients

CLIFF recipients will spend 3-4 months at CGIAR centers, working with scientists affiliated with the Standard Assessment of Mitigation Potential and Livelihoods in Smallholder Systems (SAMPLES) project, where they will learn research principles and methods applicable to their own PhD research. The 2013-2014 cohort members of CLIFF are listed in the following table.

Name PhD research topic University of enrollment Country of PhD study CGIAR host institution
Ana Lucía Cadena González de Thiele Potentials of native plant species in agroforestry systems for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the improvement of local environment and communitites University of Münster, Germany Colombia CIAT, Colombia

Taiwo Bintu Ayinde  

Economics of sustainable crop intensification in smallholder agriculture in northern Nigeria Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria Nigeria CIFOR, Kenya
Brijesh Kumar Effect of conservation agriculture practices on soil characteristics, crop yield, physiological response and nutritional quality of grain Jiwaji University, India India CIMMYT, India
Frederick M. Wandera Soil carbon sequestration potentials of semi-arid soils at the CCAFS site in Wote, Makueni County University of Eldoret Kenya ILRI, Kenya
Ibrahim Wanyama  Assessing mitigation options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture at plot, farm and landscape level in the CCAFS Rakai block, Uganda University of Freiburg, Germany Uganda ILRI, Kenya
Jorge Elías Chalco Vera GHG emissions from
sugarcane cultivation in Tucumán, Argentina
INTA Famaillá Experimental Station, Argentina Argentina CIFOR, Kenya
Ram Dhan Jat Precision-conservation agriculture-based practices for resource use efficiency and carbon footprints in maize-wheat cropping system CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India India CIMMYT, India
Syed Faiz-ul Islam Reduced emissions from intensified rice production systems Wageningen University, Netherlands / Copenhagen University, Denmark Vietnam IRRI, Philippines
Zipporah Musyimi Assessing the climatic forcings of land management options practiced by pastoralists of the African dry lands: case of Burkina Faso Trier University, Germany Burkina Faso ICRAF, Kenya

Eight grant winners kicked off 2013-2014 CLIFF activities with an orientation workshop 1-4 December 2013 at Aarhus University-Foulum in Denmark. At the workshop, the grantees presented their proposed PhD research for critique. 


2012-2013 grant recipients
Applicants name Title of proposal University of enrollment Country of research
Aaron Hoyt Joslin Estimating greenhouse gas fluxes in an improved-fallow agroforestry system in the Eastern Amazon of Brazil University of Georgia Brazil
Bernardo del Campo Assessing the potential of biochar to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase agricultural productivity in rural Nicaragua Iowa State University Nicaragua
Cristina Arias-Navarro Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manure management in the lower Nyando watershed, Kenya Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg Kenya
Elizabeth Adobi Okwuosa Landscape management impacts on soil organic and carbon, gas fluxes in smallholder farms in Kenya dry land soils University of Nairobi Kenya
Hasan Yusuf Mohammed Carbon sequestration potential of Semi-arid rangelands of Southern Ethiopia: estimating above -and below-ground carbon stock Hohenheim University Ethiopia
Lizzie Mujuru The potential of soil carbon sequestration in sandy and clayey soils of Zimbabwe Wageningen University Zimbabwe
Lu Yu Ding Field quantification of ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions from a typical small dairy farm in China China Agricultural University China
Niharika Rahman Environmental efficiencies and controversies: yield intensification in smallholders oil palm production systems of South-East Asia University of Copenhagen  Indonesia
VuDuong Quynh The effect of the different organic inputs on green-house gas emissions and soil’s fertility on paddy rice field of small scale livestock farm in Vietnam University of Copenhagen Vietnam
William KoblaHeve Spatial distribution of soil C storage on smallholder farms in Northern Ghana University of Ghana Ghana



2011-2012 CLIFF Recipients
Applicants name Title of proposal University of enrollment Country of research
George Nyamawadzo Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cultivated Dambos of Central Zimbabwe University of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
B Soundharajan Mitigation of GHG from rice fields - through water management in India Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India India
Marcia de Melo Carvalho Towards sustainable production of aerobic rice in Brazilian savannas: investigating the potential of biochar as a soil amendment Wageningen, Netherlands Brazil
Monica Kansiime Impact and Effectiveness of Technological and Management Options for Averting Agricultural Production Risk under Variable and Changing Climatic Conditions in Eastern Uganda Kenyatta University, Nairobi Kenya
Salome Muriuki  Potential of biogas technology to mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kiambu County, Kenya Kenyatta University, Nairobi Kenya
Sheryl Quail Finding Balance in the Opportunity Costs of Forest Carbon Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture and Global Warming Potentials: Ecosystem Tradeoffs and Spatially Explicit Scenario Modeling of Agricultural Intensification at Two REDD Pilot Projects in Tanzania University of Florida Tanzania
Ugo Guarnacci Organic Cocoa Agroforestry in Post-tsunami Indonesia: Potentials for Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience University of Reading  Indonesia
Yuefeng Shi Greenhouse Gases Emission in the High Yield Region of the North China Plain China Agricultural University, Beijing China