WELCOME TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EARTH AND CLIMATE SCIENCES (ECS)
Prof. Daniel Olago, Chairman
I warmly welcome you to the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nairobi. The department is unique in that it is multidisciplinary and encompasses sciences that relate to Planet Earth—these include geoscience, atmospheric science, environmental science, hydrology and oceanography, and climate change science. It therefore strongly intersects the natural and social sciences, and pays particular regard to the human relationship with, and stewardship of, the planet.
“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and, in the process, heal our own - indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy, and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come." Prof. Wangari Maathai 2004, Nobel Peace Laureate.
The Department of Earth and Climate Sciences is a fusion of the former departments of Geology and Meteorology, both of which have a very long and rich history since the University of Nairobi was established in 1970 (and Geology was established even earlier, in 1956 when the University of Nairobi was still the Royal Technical College of East Africa), as well as hosts and administers two relatively younger but very vibrant research institutes - the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA, est. 2011) and the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI, est. 2009). The Department’s headquarters are in the Wangari Maathai Institute which occupies 50 acres of beautifully landscaped land within the Upper Kabete area of Nairobi.
The department has a significant pool of highly trained and skilled professionals who have continued to play a significant role in the Kenya’s development and beyond. Due to the inter- and trans-disciplinary nature of the programmes, the alumni of the department are employed in all sectors of the economy. The department aspires to be a centre of international repute committed to scholarly excellence in earth and climate sciences and its interface with society, policy and practice. Our vision is to provide dynamic leadership in the teaching, research, innovation, consultancy and outreach services for the benefit of humanity, the planet and its diverse resources and ecosystems, and sustainable development.
As part of its mandate in teaching and training, the department offers a several undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, which you can explore further in this website. In support of these various programmes, the department has a suite of laboratories and Remote Sensing-GIS workspaces as well as climate and earthquake monitoring stations that are manned by highly qualified technologists as well as administrators who ensure that our students have a smooth, rich and satisfying experience as they undertake their degree programmes at all levels. We have over 1000 undergraduate students and close to 500 postgraduate students who are carrying out diverse and very interesting research projects at masters and doctoral level. We also have postdoctoral fellows who are associated, particularly through the ICCA and WMI-PES, with the many research projects and related industry, community and outreach programmes that are administered in the department. We place a lot of emphasis on practical aspects which are embedded within the programmes, and, in addition, internship opportunities are particularly available to undergraduate and masters students during the semester breaks.
Finally, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)in 2021 funded a total of eight interdisciplinary "Global Centers" to address global challenges in a new program. One of these programmes is The African Climate and Environment Center – Future African Savannas (AFAS) which is hosted conjointly at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB) with its African Centre of Excellence on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD) in Côte d’Ivoire and the University of Nairobi (UoN) with its Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA), Kenya. AFAS links with the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences (which hosts the ICCA) MSc program on Climate Change Adaptation by adding an additional focus on the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to address climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation in West and East Africa’s savannas. Twenty students (10 in UoN and 10 in UHFB) from various parts of East and West Africa were enrolled in September 2021. The programme aims to create experts capable of engaging in science-policy-practice interfaces, specifically related to Climate, Ecosystem Services and NbS in African Savannas.