OPALS
OPALS

Oppenheimer Programme in African Landscape Systems (OPALS)

People

edf

Andrew Cunliffe

Oppenheimer Senior Research Fellow and leader of OPALS at the University of Exeter. The overarching aim of Andy’s work is to improve our understanding of how landscapes function and are managed for broader societal benefit. With a background in physical geography, spanning multiscale remote sensing, dryland ecohydrology, environmental monitoring, ecosystem carbon dynamics and landscape systems thinking, Andy has overall responsibility for OPALS, working closely with all partners to ensure strategic alignment to maximise our achievements.

Tom-Powell-Profile-center

Tom Powell

Oppenheimer Research Impact Fellow at the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter. Tom has a broad background in ecology, geography and systems thinking, spanning food systems and land-use change, natural climate solutions, environmental monitoring & payments for ecosystem services, and community-led responses to environmental degradation. Tom helps to facilitate engagement with our partners, to co-design our research and maximise its real-world impacts.

Enimhien_Profile Picture

Enimhien Akhabue

Oppenheimer-Turvill Doctoral Scholar modelling the current and future resilience of ecosystem service provision in African landscapes, using the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) land surface model.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Dr Andrew Cunliffe, Dr Anna Harper, Dr Tom Powell, Dr Petra Holden, and Dr Karina Williams. Department of Geography, University of Exeter.

Anthony Emenyu photo 2 - square2

Antony Emenyu

Oppenheimer-Turvill Doctoral Scholar working to improve the resilience of small-holder farming systems in African landscapes to climate change shocks through the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices. Specifically, Antony researches the uptake of regenerative farming practices by smallholder farmers, primarily drawing lessons from the TIST program in East Africa.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Dr Tom Powell, Dr Andrew Cunliffe, Dr Prossy Isubikalu, and Dr Lorien Jasny. Department of Geography, University of Exeter.

Milcah Kirinyet - profile 2

Milcah Kirinyet

Oppenheimer Impact Scholar working on implementing payments for ecosystem services to support more sustainable management in African landscapes. She works with Dr Andy Cunliffe, Dr Tom Powell, and Dr Peter Tyrrell, and completed an MSc in Applied Data Science for Environment and Sustainability before commencing a 1.5-year placement with Sustain East Africa (through Dascot Ltd in Kenya). OPALS-funded.

Therezah Achieng

Oppenheimer-Lovelock Doctoral Scholar using social-ecological systems approaches to drive positive tipping points in the sustainability of African landscape systems and accelerate green transitions.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Professor Tim Lenton, Dr Laura Pereira, Dr Tom Powell and Dr Andrew Cunliffe. Department of Geography, University of Exeter.

Tapiwa Gumbo

Oppenheimer Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Geography, University of Exeter. Tap’s project focuses on developing evidence-led solutions to managing bush encroachment on holistically managed rangelands in partnership with Shangani Holistic, Zimbabwe.

Jointly funded by OPALS and Shangani Holistic. Supervised by Dr Andrew Cunliffe, Professor Sally Archibald, Dr Ilya Maclean, Dr Allan Sebata, and Dr Tom Powell.

Glenn Slade

Oppenheimer-Turvill Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Geography, University of Exeter. Glenn is developing new fine-scale remote sensing methods to monitor invasive plant species occurrence and improve the reproducibility of measurements of plant traits in rangeland and savanna ecosystems.

70% self-funded / 30% OPALS-funded. Supervised by Dr Andrew CunliffeDr Karen Anderson and Professor Jem Perkins.

Nare Alan Dumezweni

Oppenheimer Masters Scholar enrolled at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, studying the sustainable use of rangelands with fine scale remote sensing.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Dr Lawrence Akanyang, Dr Andrew Cunliffe and Professor Jem Perkins.

Kelebile Balo

Oppenheimer Masters Scholar enrolled at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, studying the sustainable use of rangelands with fine scale remote sensing.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Dr Lawrence Akanyang, Dr Andrew Cunliffe and Professor Jem Perkins.

Minda Cossa

Oppenheimer Impact Scholar working on adaptation to climate-related hazards in Maputo, Mozambique, focussing on the role of urban planning in improving resilience for informal settlement communities. She will undertake an MSc in Global Sustainability Solutions at the University of Exeter before continuing their work in an 18-month post at the University of Cape Town engaging with planning and development practitioners in the community. Supervised by Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos and Dr Andrew Cunliffe, and Dr Gina Ziervogel.

Guy Lomax

Doctoral Researcher working on measuring and managing rangeland resilience with remote sensing to understand the impacts of climate change on African rangeland and livestock.

Funded by UKRI through Environmental Intelligence doctoral training programme. OPALS-aligned. Supervised by Dr Tom Powell, Professor Tim Lenton and Dr Andrew Cunliffe.

Chafika Phiri

Chafika is a Few and Far Doctoral Scholar in OPALS,the distribution and sustainable utilisation of baobab trees (Adansonia digitata), focussing on how their unique role in providing ecosystem services for people in African landscapes might be better safeguarded for future generations.  His work is continental in scope, with a particular focus on the Soutpansberg mountains in northern South Africa.

Funded by Few and Far, Chafika is supervised by Dr Andrew Cunliffe, Dr Sarah Venter, Professor David Hodgson, and Dr Dawn Toussaint.

Stephanie Cherrington-Rimmel

Head of Development for the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy. Steff has a background in developing partnerships and managing philanthropic relationships for the University, principally in environmental research. Steff is helping to develop additional projects expanding on the core OPALS programme.

Isaac Mureithi

Isaac is an Oppenheimer Impact Scholar working to help develop better models of Conservation Governance, working in the OPALS programme in the close partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation to support their objectives. Coming from a background in actuarial science, Isaac will undertake an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity at Exeter to expand his conservation knowledge before commencing a 12-month targeted placement at AWF’s Field Office in the Tsavo Landscape. Isaac is supervised by Dr Tom Powell, Dr Philip Muruthi, and Dr Andrew Cunliffe.

Former OPALS People

Emily Willoughby

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions student conducting a dissertation project on climate adaptation in Maputo, Mozambique, focussing on the role of urban planning in improving resilience for informal settlement communities. MSc Thesis Climate adaptation in Maputo, Mozambique: Coastal hazards, informal settlements and communicating risk”.

Self-funded, OPALS-aligned. Supervised by Dr Ricardo Safra de Campos and Dr Andrew Cunliffe.

Jake Dykes

Jake Dykes

Development Coordinator for Funding International Partnerships, helping to maximise the impact of OPALS by helping to implement a new Funding Finder signposting awards that could help talented Africans join OPALS (Jake’s short-term post was funded by UoE).

Justin Marshall

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions student conducting an internship dissertation project with The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST), applying a conceptual framework for positive tipping points developed by GSI and the Food and Land Use Alliance to look for leverage points for future scaling. MSc Thesis “Analysing the dynamics of ‘positive tipping points’ in The International Small Group and Three Planting Program (TIST) from a systems thinking perspective”.

Self-funded, OPALS-aligned. Supervised by Dr Tom Powell.

Laone Seabonyane

Oppenheimer Masters Scholar enrolled at the University of Botswana, studying belowground plant traits in African rangelands to generate knowledge that supports the sustainable utilisation of rangelands and informs payments for ecosystem services associated with carbon storage.

OPALS-funded. Supervised by Professor Jem Perkins, Dr Andrew Cunliffe, and  Dr Kebonyethata Dintwe .

Amy Shaw Photo

Amy Shaw

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions student conducting a dissertation project assessing the potential for verified carbon credits associated with mangroves to support the Manda Island Conservation Project in Kenya.

Self-funded, OPALS-aligned. Supervised by Dr Andrew Cunliffe and Dr Hugh Graham.