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Meet PLOS Climate Academic Editor Mzime Murisa

We spoke with PLOS Climate Academic Editor Mzime Murisa, Program Specialist on EPIC Africa at START International in Zimbabwe.


What attracted you to your field of study?

I have always been a lover of nature and the outdoors. So I gravitated towards biology, geography, and related subjects from a young age. As I advanced in school and college, I found that my curiosity about the environment grew, but at the same time there were a few teachers and mentors along the way who encouraged me to take up these subjects. I gained experience as I took up vocational work under their research projects. This really helped me realize how passionate I was about research. These experiences helped me note that not many in my field were pursuing interdisciplinary approaches despite important interconnections across subject areas. During my Ph.D. studies, I decided to use a landscape analysis looking at the environment of my study area as a whole, including the climate. Previously, the different factors had always been studied in isolation. This opened up new directions for research spanning the biological sciences, ecology, and social analyses. Now I work as a Program Specialist for an international organization that focuses on bridging the gap between scientific research, policy, and practice.

Could you tell us about your current work?

I am currently involved in coordinating a program that fosters partnerships between universities, local governments, and communities to drive curriculum development and innovation in universities, as well as sustainable development and resilience in cities. My work therefore involves coordinating these entities in Africa, and providing some analysis of the processes and outputs– so there is a lot of iterative learning involved!

What do you see as the most pressing priorities in climate adaptation research?

I believe urban resilience is one of the most pressing priorities in climate adaptation research. This is because city-dwellers and particularly the urban poor are vulnerable to climate change and are often left out when it comes to vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation studies. Additionally, a focus on the food-energy-water nexus in the context of ecosystem-based adaptation is crucial if adaptation is to be realized well. We also still need to bridge the gap between climate impact assessments, which tend to be historical, and climate mitigation, which often speaks to the future.

Why did you decide to join PLOS Climate’s editorial board?

Being on the editorial board provides a great opportunity for me to serve the community, and to contribute towards maximizing the quality and real-world impact of research.

Why do you see Open Science as important?

Not only does Open Science improve access to resources, knowledge, and data- which is fundamental for progress in scientific inquiry- but it also helps to break down barriers associated with the inequitable distribution of resources.

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