November 11, 2024

AIMS-Imperial Global Fellows Programme – Synergizing Efforts for Healthy and Sustainable Cities


The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) will host the second bi-lateral Global Fellows Programme in partnership with Imperial College LondonThe programme will take place on 11 –15 November 2024 in Accra, Ghana, hosted by AIMS Ghana.

In the current scientific environment, international and interdisciplinary collaborations and networking are the basis for developing successful projects. In a competitive research environment, funding is increasingly drawn to interdisciplinary, collaborative research with partners from around the world. The modern researcher requires both excellence in research and professional skills and competencies.

This exciting programme is designed to facilitate participants to actively focus on the development of these professional skills and competencies. Approximately 40 doctoral researchers from AIMS, the University of Ghana and Imperial will work together to develop professional, research, and collaborative skills as well as the intercultural awareness that is required to establish and continue successful collaborations.

During this five-day programme, participants will work in interdisciplinary and international groups, assisted by a coach from one of the partner institutions. During the programme, participants will enhance:

  • Their ability to work collaboratively on research ideas
  • Their ability to network and communicate effectively and with impact in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams
  • Their intercultural and international competency and awareness
  • Their creativity to develop collaborative research ideas
  • Their appreciation of research in international institution

Participants will also have the opportunity to apply those skills and competencies to develop creative innovations addressing global challenges under the programme theme ‘Synergizing Efforts for Healthy and Sustainable Cities’.

The concept of Healthy Cities, aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, focuses on transforming urban spaces into sustainable, resilient communities that prioritise the well-being of their inhabitants. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy city continuously enhances its physical and social structures, augmenting community resources to support mutual well-being and allow individuals to achieve their fullest potential. This vision encompasses a broad spectrum of initiatives, from reducing pollution and increasing green spaces to improving waste management. It also emphasises innovations in urban health, such as ensuring access to nutritious food, mental health services, and fitness facilities, alongside leveraging advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) for monitoring air quality, noise levels, and developing efficient public transportation systems to cut down emissions. These efforts are not only pivotal in advancing public health but also in addressing climate change, enhancing urban resilience to extreme weather events, and securing sustainable food and water supplies.

Participants are thus expected to dive deep into these challenges, exploring and devising innovative solutions that promote sustainability and health in urban settings. The intersection of SDG 11 with other SDGs such as 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life Below Water), and 15 (Life on Land) highlights the interdisciplinary nature of creating healthy urban environments. Participants are encouraged to think holistically, considering how advancements in urban planning, technology, and social policy can collectively foster environments where cities not only grow more sustainable but also become havens that nurture the health and potential of all their residents.

Doctoral candidates from any discipline are invited to apply to this 5-day professional development course: the AIMS-Imperial Global Fellows Programme: ‘Synergizing Efforts for Healthy and Sustainable Cities’.

This is a chance to challenge yourself outside of your normal working environment, meet people from other disciplines and cultures, and have fun! 

Student Experiences: 

‘The GFP has been one of the highlights of my time as a PhD student. Meeting new people, getting of my comfort zone, and working on a project in a different research field has been a rewarding experience that, in my opinion, all PhD students should try to experience.’

‘Knowing is not enough. We must apply.’

‘I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about other cultures, develop their professional skills and have fun whilst doing it!’

‘The GFP was a great avenue to meet fellow PhD students in an interdisciplinary environment to work on a project not necessarily in your field.’

You can read student experiences of previous Global Fellows Programmes on this webpage.  

Any additional queries not answered in webpages, please contact Laura Bulmer & Beth Yates


Imperial College London participants must: 

  • Be a current doctoral student from any discipline (note: this programme is not open to MRes students)
  • Be between 6 and 30 months into their PhD at the time the programme takes place (6 and 48 months for part-time students)
  • Be able to commit to the entirety of the programme, including travel days
  • Not have taken part in a previous Imperial College Global Fellows Programme

Please note that if applying to multiple upcoming Global Fellows Programmes, applicants can be selected for one only.

This programme counts towards the attendance requirement for the PhD Early stage Assessment and Late Stage Review at Imperial College London.

Application Process

Doctoral students need to complete the application form by by 12pm (BST) on Thursday 30 May 2024. 

Applicants should: 

  • Show their awareness of competencies and skills needed to develop international collaborations
  • Explain how their current competencies, skills, and knowledge (e.g. communication skills, adaptability, technical skills, creativity) can support the development of innovations linked to the theme.
  • Explain what they expect to contribute to and gain from the programme
  • Show their willingness to be an ambassador for Imperial College London
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for engaging with international peers from AIMS
  • Show their willingness to share their experiences within the Imperial College London post-graduate community after the programme

Outcomes are expected to be communicated by mid-June. Shortlisted students will be required to confirm their participation in the programme shortly after notification of their successful application.

Note: Due to the large volume of applications received it is not possible to provide feedback on individual applications.

Practical Details
  • The course will take place in Accra, Ghana, in the AIMS Ghana Centre.
  • Accommodation in Accra will be provided. Check in will be on Sunday 10th November. Participants must arrive by Sunday 10th November. Check out will be Saturday 16th November.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday will be provided.
  • Participants will be required to pay for any meals on Sunday 10th November.
  • Imperial will reimburse up to £1000 as a contribution towards each participants’ flights and visa cost. Participants are responsible for any further costs and other costs such as local travel, any meals on Sunday 10th November, socialising etc.
  • Occupational health clearance will be required to participate in the programme. A yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Ghana and malaria prophylactics are recommended. Other vaccinations may be necessary. The costs of arranging this will be covered by the programme. Further instructions will be provided to all participants.
  • Participants will need to purchase flights and submit expense claims by mid-July Detailed guidance on travel will be provided to all participants after selection. General guidance on visas will be provided and it is the responsibility of participants to obtain a visa if required.
  • The GFP is an intense five-day programme, with long haul travel to and from Accra either side. Participants must be committed to all five days of the programme and benefit most when they are able to take leave from their usual workload. We recommend that you discuss the time commitment involved with your supervisor in advance. Supervisors must have agreed to participation in the programme.
  • Participants will be required to attend two meetings before the programme

Potential impacts of Covid-19 will be continuously monitored, and adjustments to overseas opportunities may be required at short notice. The College will need to adhere to opportunity provider’s requirements as well as to UK and international travel advice and restrictions. All students will be kept informed. In the event of cancellation, the College would work with partners to consider possible alternatives, including remote delivery.  

Please review the following carefully and remain alert for updates, as information is subject to change at short notice: 

UK Government travel advice for Ghana
Ghana High Commission in United Kingdom