MSc. in “Managing the Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for sustainable development in West Africa – SPIBES

The MSc. programme, SPIBES is an integral part of the WABES project’s commitment to build capacity to strengthen the West African contribution to IPBES. Launched in December 2017, SPIBES is a 2-year interdisciplinary programme designed to provide students with broad, high-quality understanding, knowledge and skills needed to actively participate in science-policy interfaces such as IPBES and accelerate achievements of sustainable development goals in West Africa. SPIBES is open to qualified candidates with a strong background and interest in the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services through science-based policy and decision-making. Prospective students should be keen on working as sustainability agents, and as well as have a willingness to engage in the science-policy interfaces acting as channels between scientists and policy makers, such as IPBES on an international, regional, sub-regional and national level, specifically related to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services policy-making and sustainable development pathways.

SPIBES is under the umbrella of  the Graduate programme on Climate, Natural Resources and Innovation (FD-CRNI) of the African Center of Excellency on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Durable Agriculture – CEA- CCBAD, and Doctoral Programme on Sociology (FDS) of the University Félix Houphouët Boigny (UFHB) Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in collaboration with international key players in sustainability issues, such as ZEF/University of Bonn, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), UFZ (Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research UFZ), The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), CoKnow Consulting, Germany, University of Senghor, Egypt among others.

This full-time programme has a duration of 4 semesters with English as the language of instruction. Upon successful completion of the programme, students are awarded MSc. by the host university, University Félix Houphouët Boigny (UFHB).

Fellowships including full tuition payment and stipend for living expenses are awarded to the best applicant from each of the 15 ECOWAS countries. Students with own/third party funding may also be eligible for the programme. 


The program aims to:

  • provide students with a general understanding of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services / Nature`s contributions to people and their relevance from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives;
  • facilitate inter- and transdisciplinary thinking to create and enable a new generation of scientists to tackle global environmental challenges;
  • generate knowledge on the functioning and set-up of (international) policy processes and decision making and;
  • provide relevant scientific tools and methods to translate research findings into policy relevant outcomes to support decision making.