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Managing Science-Policy-Practice Interfaces for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – SPIBES

Application deadline: April 20th, 2024, or until all positions are filled

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The CABES SPIBES MSc. programmes are now open for applications!

The SPIBES MSc. programme will be offered by three (3) universities across Africa, including:

  • The Africa Center of Excellence on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD), University of Félix Houphouet-Boigny (UFHB), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (SPIBES MSc. Programme, West Africa). The UFHB targets candidates from the West African region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo). Qualified candidates from ECOWAS countries are welcome to apply!


  • The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoAREC&N), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia (SPIBES MSc. Programme, East Africa). AAU targets candidates from the East African region (Burundi, Botswana, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda). Qualified candidates from East African countries are welcome to apply!
  • The University of Lubumbashi (UNILU), Democratic Republic of Congo (SPIBES MSc. Programme, Central Africa). UNILU targets candidates from the Central African region (Angola, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Zambia, Zimbabwe). Qualified candidates from Central African countries are welcome to apply!


The CABES Master of Science (MSc.) programme in “Managing Science-Policy-Practice Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (SPIBES)”, is a two-year full-time interdisciplinary programme that aims to provide students across Western, Eastern and Central Africa with broad, high-quality knowledge and skills needed to seamlessly navigate science-policy-practice interfaces for biodiversity conservation and sustainable transformation. The objective of the SPIBES programme is to build the capacities of youths on sustainable development pathways, and biodiversity policy-making decision processes, to engage in science-policy interfaces, specifically related to Biodiversity and Ecosystems conservation at the international, regional, national and sub-national levels, such as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD), and other regional and subnational frameworks. By so doing, foster regional scientific collaborations.

SPIBES is a component of the capacity building initiatives of the CABES – Capacity Development for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Experts in West, Central & and East Africa programme, in support of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It expands on the work programmes of WABES SPIBES MSc. Programme (see, which have so far thirty graduates from the fifteen Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members and Morocco. The details of the SPIBES curriculum can be found here.

1. The objectives of the programme:

  1. provide students with a general understanding of biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES), as well as their relevance;
  2. facilitate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary thinking to create and enable a new generation of scientists to tackle complex contemporary environmental challenges.
  3. provide knowledge on the set-up and functioning of (inter)national policy-making processes, and
  4. provide skills and tools to translate research findings into policy-relevant outcomes to support decision-making.

2. Language of instruction

As an International MSc. programme, all courses of the SPIBES programme will be taught in English. English proficiency is therefore necessary.

3. What we offer:

SPIBES promises in all our host universities, a learning environment with:

  • policy-relevant scientific knowledge;
  • strong regional and international networking opportunities;
  • quality teaching and research infrastructures;
  • quality and accredited academic training programmes;
  • experiential learning approach.
3.1. Language courses:

At the start of the MSc. programme, successful candidates from targeted francophone, lusophone and hipanophone countries will be offered intensive English language training. Additionally, non-francophone students enrolled at the UFHB and UNILU will be offered French language classes. The French language courses are designed to provide students with a basic level of the language, to support their adaptation to the way of life and traditions of the host country.

3.2. Scholarship and research support:

Scholarship and other forms of support will be provided to successful candidates, including:

4. Who can apply?

The course is open to nationals from the above-listed countries in West, Central, and East Africa with a bachelor’s or equivalent degree in natural and social sciences, including but not limited to biology, ecology, physics, climate, economics, law, sociology, and geography. Candidates must be under 30 years of age, unless they have established professional experience and/or female candidates with kid(s).


On successful completion of the SPIBES programme, a certificate of completion will be awarded by the CABES programme, and  MSc. degree certificate will be awarded by the respective higher education institutions:

  • The Université Félix Houphouet-Boigny (UFHB), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (SPIBES MSc. programme, West Africa).
  • Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (SPIBES MSc. programme, East Africa).
  • Université de Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (SPIBES MSc. programme, Central Africa).

5. Application documents required:

6. Application procedure and contact:

Candidates MUST apply online via the CABES application portal ( Applicants are expected to fill out the online application form and upload all relevant application documents as a single PDF file (max file size: 6 MB) using the file name format: [Country_surname_firstname].

For all inquiries, contact persons for the respective higher learning institutions:

  • SPIBES MSc. Programme West Africa:

Dr. Kouadio Kouakou (Email-address:

  • SPIBES MSc. Programme East Africa:

Mr. Mekonnen Biru (Email address:

  • SPIBES MSc. Programme Central Africa:

Dr. Paul Kazaba Kaseya (E-mail address:

Application deadline: April 20th, 2024, or until all positions are filled!

Ineligible or incomplete application forms will not be processed! All shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (via telephone, video conferencing or face-to-face). Prospective students applying to the SPIBES East Africa Programme, that is, the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia will be expected to take a general aptitude test (GAT) as an additional step in the interviewing process. Following the rounds of interviews, a final list of candidates for the 2024/25 academic year will be published by June 30, 2024 on the CABES website.

Successful candidates should note that the originals of certificates and other submitted documents MUST be presented to the admission office at the time of registration to validate admission decisions. Kindly note that CABES does not charge any application fees!

Each candidate is expected to submit application to the SPIBES programme in your region. Prepare all your documents before you start the application process, as there is no possibility to save and continue later.

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