The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the scientific evidence on climate change. The IPCC regularly produces reports that assess the state of knowledge and science. The IPCC has three Working Groups (WG): WG I on the physical science basis; WG II on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and WG III on mitigation of climate change. Currently, the IPCC is in its 6th Assessment Cycle (AR6), and the 6th Assessment Reports (AR6) of the three WG’s will be published in 2021, and the Synthesis Report across the three WG’s in 2022. Special Reports focus on more specific topics and are also produced as part of the assessment cycles. The IPCC is a boundary organization working at the interface between science and policy, operating under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The IPCC brings together leading experts who volunteer their time and expertise with different author roles to prepare the IPCC reports.

About the Program 

Mountain regions have received limited representation in several of the last IPCC assessment cycles. In the 6th Assessment Cycle, however, mountain regions receive substantially more attention, most notably with the High Mountain chapter in the IPCC Special Report on Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) and with the Cross-Chapter Paper on Mountains in the WGII AR6. Concerted efforts by the mountain research community are necessary to be able to achieve the highest possible quality in these assessments. Strong research capacities are critical for this purpose. Repeated calls are often voiced for a stronger contribution and representation from experts in developing countries in these assessments, which would substantially rely on a sufficient number of top experts in these countries.

Recognizing the need to support and build capacities for regional and global assessment for science-policy processes, the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the University of Zurich, Helvetas and ICIMOD, in an initiative supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), have teamed up to launch a call for applications for a mentoring and training program for early career mountain researchers who have an interest in participating in IPCC processes. The objective is to train and mentor a select cohort of up to 6 early to mid-career researchers from developing countries with a background in mountain research in order to strengthen their contribution to IPCC assessment processes.

Program details 

The mentoring and training program entails a series of activities and events over the course of 2 years, starting in September 2019, in which the select cohort of participants commit to engage and participate.

The program includes:

• Information and training activities during a 2-weeks stay in Austria and Switzerland, 4-18 September 2019; **

• Participation at the International Mountain Conference (IMC) in Innsbruck (; *

• Supervision and mentoring in developing and shaping an academic profile which aligns with the needs of the IPCC.

Conditions, eligibility and evaluation criteria 

Requirements for potential applicants and criteria for selection are as follows:

• Be an early career researcher (typically no more than 5 years since last post graduate degree obtained), with a completed PhD degree (candidates with a Master degree who can demonstrate sufficient experience may also be considered)

• Good skills in oral and written English

• A focus on mountain related research

• A record of publications in English and in international journals, ideally with a least 2 publications as first author.

The evaluation and selection process criteria considers the eligibility conditions listed above, plus a balance in gender and in geographic regions represented, with a focus and priority given to supporting participants from those UNFCCC Non-Annex I countries that are traditionally underrepresented in IPCC processes. A cohort of up 6 eligible and successful applicants will be selected for this program.

Application process 

Interested researchers should complete an online form and upload the following documents in a single PDF as part of the application:

• Letter of motivation specifying potential to contribute to the IPCC processes (max. 1 page)

• CV (max 2 pages including a list of the most important publications, as indicated above)

• Include the name and contact information of up to 3 referees.

Applications must be received by midnight CET, 12 May 2019. The applications will be reviewed, and the selection decision taken by an evaluation committee consisting of representative of MRI, University of Zurich, ICIMOD and Helvetas, as well as external experts.

Key dates 

Call for applications opens: 29 March 2019

Deadline for applications: 12 May 2019

Communication of successful applicants 14 June 2019

Program launch and duration September 2019, for 2 years

For any questions, please contact the MRI at 

* Related registrations, travel and accommodation costs are covered by SDC.