Student research competition on sustainable management of natural resources in Central Asia and Afghanistan, 2019-2020


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The student research competition aims to build the capacities of the young specialists in the sustainable management of natural resources in the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan. The competition is sponsored by the Smart Waters (USAID) and Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin (World Bank) projects.

Main topics of the competition:

  • Water management and reforms: IWRM, international and national laws, policy development;
  • Water management approaches for transboundary basins;
  • Technologies and practices for sustainable water and land management on community and farm level;
  • Water supply for rural areas: provision with drinking water, etc.;
  • Economics of natural resources management, valuation of ecosystem services, the economic efficiency of water use;
  • Economics of land degradation;
  • Climate modeling and climate risk assessment;
  • Climate change and health;
  • Circular economy;
  • Forestry and other carbon sinks;
  • Assessment of climate vulnerability of households and sectors;
  • Adaptation to climate change in agriculture and water sector;
  • Low-carbon development, promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency;
  • Water, food and energy nexus;
  • Gender and gender policy in the management of natural resources.


The competition is open for students from universities within the Central Asian region and Afghanistan, who plan to focus their research on:

  • Ph.D., master’s students and undergraduates with a research focus on climate-related issues in water, land, energy resources or environmental management.
  • Master’s students and undergraduates with a research focus on water-related issues in water, land, energy resources or environmental management

Proposed research must be part of the applicant`s dissertation and must be completed within 10 months or within other timeline agreed with the organizers.

Key Dates

  • May 31, 2019 – deadline for submission of applications
  • June 14, 2019 – an announcement of winners

The Evaluation Process
Applications will be screened by the commission consisting of representatives from academic institutions in Central Asia.

Evaluation Criteria

  • the relevance of the research proposed;
  • clarity and validity of the goals, problem selection and methodology of the research;
  • a balance between the application content and the requested funding amount;
  • feasibility of the goals set, research timelines and budget (up to US$ 1,500), and availability of additional funding in excess of the budget;
  • a novelty of the research proposed and the working potential for the Central Asian region;
  • partnership (the organization to co-implement the research).

Extended criterion:

  • interdisciplinary approach


The competition winners will be provided with financial support to carry out their research in the amount of up to US$ 1,500. This support will be based on the reimbursement of actual expenses incurred by the students during the research. Eligible costs include expenses associated with field trips, surveys, laboratory tests, printing, etc.


Interested applicants should complete the online registration. It will require the following steps:

  1. Fill out the online Application Form (in English OR Russian).
  2. Upload a Recommendation letter from a supervisor
  3. Upload a Confirmation letter from your university/department



Zhanna Babagaliyeva

Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Program Specialist

phone +7727 265 4333; 265 4334


Learning Opportunities