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Why a Fellowship Programme for NDC Finance?

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were key to adopting the 2015 Paris Agreement and will be central to its implementation. NDCs outline countries' ambitions and priorities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and often include ambitions on adaptation, too. Costs of NDC implementation are high, and mitigation and adaptation contributions outlined in the NDCs of developing countries are often conditional upon receiving international support. While support from the international community has addressed some capacity gaps, many conditional NDCs of low-income countries have finance, capacity-building, and technological needs. Recipient countries are hindered by the lack of accurate monitoring of climate finance flows, which prevents them from making more informed decisions about planning, prioritization, allocation of climate change resources, and measuring and evaluating progress.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc, the world’s energies are rightly focused on efforts to contain the virus and manage the economic fallout. Yet, in the background, the climate emergency remains as urgent as ever. Climate change vulnerabilities, especially in developing coutries, continue to exacerbate the impacts of the COVDI-19. In the coming weeks and months, resources will be directed to support economic recovery programmes as well as more resilient development planning and risk preparedness. In this, Governments have the chance to tailor their recovery programmes to invest in the reduction of emissions and climate-resilient development. There is an opportunity for developing countries especially in Africa to renew actions towards meeting their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and for the world to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

About the Programme

What is the objective of the NDC Financing Fellowship Programme (NDC-FFP)?

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are central to achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. NDCs embody each country’s efforts to address climate change. NDC-FFP, funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), supports, promotes and trains exceptional individuals from policy and research who are interested in further:

  • enhancing their knowledge and skills on financing NDCs,
  • to build leadership in NDC finance for enhanced sharing of knowledge and good practices,
  • contributing to online seminars, blogs, publications, reports and journal articles on NDC finance,
  • continuous online discussions, network opportunities and access to international professional networks of peers and leaders in climate change and finance.
  • Promote dialogue and peer learning among researchers and policymakers on best practices on NDC financing

Which activities does the programme offer?

Fellows are offered on-site and online training, online seminars, workshops, and events in Frankfurt (Germany) and Nairobi (Kenya). The programme aims to empower the participants to learn about different ways to finance commitments mentioned in the submitted NDCs, to meet and exchange with other fellows and exchange with policy experts and researchers working in the field of NDC finance.

The fellowship programme is divided into two cohorts, the first in English (September 2020 – August 2021) and the second in French (March 2021 – February 2022). In June 2022, there will be a joint final Summit.

Please have a look at the figure below to see the process and the dates of the respective components:

Process horizontal

In a Nutshell: what does the NDC-FFP offer?
  • Up to 50 scholarships for a six-months e-learning certification course on Financing NDCs (Certified Expert in Financing NDCs)
  • Best performing 20 candidates qualify for further training and workshops during on-site events on emerging topics and leadership skills in Frankfurt and Nairobi.
  • 2-months internship for one researcher per cohort
  • Guidance by internationally recognised trainers and experts in NDC finance
  • Regular dialogue sessions and peer learning through the Africa Research and Impact Network (ARIN) online seminars.

Application Process

Who is eligible to apply?

NDC-FFP supports, promotes and trains exceptional citizen or individuals working from Sub-Saharan Africa (applications from English- or French-speaking Lusophone candidates are also welcomed) from research and policy. For the first cohort, applicants should be proficient in English (both written and oral).

Policy Track


The policy track is targeted to young and mid-career professionals primarily from the public sector who have around 5 years of work experience relevant for climate change and finance. Preferable, fellows should be at the forefront of NDC, climate mitigation and/or adaptation finance or climate policy implementation issues in their countries.

The NDC-FFP will provide profound knowledge about financing sources, instruments and actors, risk assessment and risk mitigation, as well as financing mitigation and adaptation activities for NDCs. This will advance understanding and effective decision making in the social, economic and institutional dimensions of NDC finance.

Expected Output

Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend all trainings and events.
  • Submit an assignment and participate successfully at the exam of the e-learning course.
  • Participate actively and integrate their knowledge into online seminars.
  • Write at least one blog and one policy brief and/or discussion paper.
  • Be multipliers in their own country and to support the implementation of NDC finance.
  • Engage in the periodic dialogues convened through the ARIN platform

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible as a policy fellow, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Having an MSc or MA degree, preferably in a subject related to climate change, environment, economics, development studies, finance or business administration.
  • Having around 3-5 years of work experience in the public sector, working on climate change programmes and related sectors such as energy, water, agriculture, infrastructure / settlement (incl. coastal zones) or insurances and who are involved in accessing, delivering, and monitoring/evaluating climate finance at the international, national and subnational level. Experience in climate financial management would be an asset.
  • Showing strong motivation and commitment to take responsibility and to stay with the programme.

Research Track


For the research track, the NDC-FFP invites (early career) researchers in universities, research centres, and action-research NGO's from Sub-Saharan African countries to apply for the programme and to work on a research project to NDC finance.

The objective is to make sure that the researchers are equipped with an in-depth understanding of the NDC finance landscape and develop an in-depth understanding of the strategies for accessing and managing NDC funding. This will enable the candidates to develop the knowledge and vision of how to support NDC implementation in their respective home countries. Moreover, this program aims to provide these fellows with the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with each other and with experts in the field to strengthen a network of well-versed researchers with strategic skills on climate policy, climate finance, and NDCs financing in particular. The Fellows will get the opportunity to become part of the ARIN network and benefit from scientific and strategic engagements within the network including learning from renown experts in the field. Through the ARIN network, candidates will also contribute to the annual reviews on the status of climate research in the continent with a special contribution to climate finance. These assessments will be presented to decision-makers at the regional and international level i.e. during the UNFCCC Conference of Parties.

Expected Output

Fellows are expected to:

  • Attend all trainings and events
  • Submit an assignment and participate successfully at the exam of the e-learning course
  • Participate actively and integrate their knowledge into online seminars, blogs, policy briefs and/or discussion paper.
  • Write at least one blog and one policy brief and/or discussion paper.
  • Research intern is expected to write one academic paper during the internship.
  • Be multipliers in their own country and to support the implementation of NDC finance.
  • Engage in perioding research dialogues and learning under the ARIN platform

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, the research fellow must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a PhD holder or in the process of completing a PhD candidate or a mid-career researcher from a Sub-Saharan African country working in financing NDC or related topics, such as finance of climate/environmental policy, financing sustainable development/transformation, climate finance sector development etc.
  • Relevant publication experience, having published at least one relevant journal article in English.
  • Concrete NDC finance-related research proposal related to one of the following topics (please use the provided research proposal template in the application mask):
    • Topic 1: NDC finance (inlc. NDC project/programme development, i.e. a proposal on a particular project linked to NDC actions in the candidate's home country or cross-sectoral or cross-country learnings on NDC implementation).
    • Topic 2: Finance of climate or environmental policy or strategies
    • Topic 3: Financing sustainable development/transformation
    • Special topic: Impacts of Covid-19 on NDC implementation
  • Providing a reference letter by an academic supervisor or a secondment letter from government department supporting the applicant's participation in the programme.
  • Showing strong motivation and commitment to take responsibility and to stay with the programme.
How to apply?

Your application must be submitted online using the NDC-FFP application form (please find the links below). Only complete applications in English will be considered and consist of the following:

  • Filled online application form in the English language
  • Curriculum vitae of not more than 5 pages listing experiences and publications where necessary
  • Certificates and letters of reference (of scholarships, employment etc.)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Letter of secondment (if necessary)
  • Motivation statement indicating your interest in the programme and commitment to take responsibility and to stay with the programme.

Additionally for Research track: Research Proposal submitted under one of the four topics, including a description of your research questions, conceptual framework, methodology, expected contribution, timeline and budget (*Please use the provided research proposal template only and read carefully the questions and instructions. You can download the template after the registration through the link below).

The application deadline was on 17th August, 2020 (11:59 pm CET).

Applications will be assessed by an experienced team of international experts in climate finance. Candidates might be interviewed via Skype or phone by a member of the selection committee. The results of the NDC-FFP selection process will be communicated via email in mid-September 2020.

What's next?

The NDC-FFP will launch the Call for Application for the French-Speaking intake during October 2020.

*Please have a look at the Terms and Conditions of the NDC-FFP before starting with your application.

About the Parties

Frankfurt School of Finance and Management


Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is a research-led business school accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. Frankfurt School offers a wide variety of academic and educational programmes as well as advisory services and technical assistance in finance, economics and management.

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African Network for Impact Research (ARIN)


The African Research and Impact Network (ARIN) brings together a network of scholars across Africa and who have been undertaking research in various fields including natural resource management, climate change, agriculture, forestry, energy, water and cities to leverage their knowledge and experiences in promoting research excellence and impact pathways.

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FS-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance


The Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance (the Centre) is a strategic cooperation between the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (Frankfurt School) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Centre takes a unique approach towards combining research and on-ground Expertise to finance the transition towards a greener, climate-resilient future that enables societies to prosper.

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International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


IDRC was established by an act of Canada’s parliament in 1970 with a mandate “to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.”

Further information...

Contact us!

If you have any questions concerning the NDC Finance Fellowship Programme, please don't hesitate to contact us.