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The Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (Access) was officially launched as a centre of excellence in August 2010

Access is a consortium of several agencies, researcher councils, research programmes, universities and research groups that have combined efforts to deliver a range of outputs aligned to the department of science and technology's Global Change Grand Challenge.

The focus of this centre of excellence is earth systems science, a research area that combines many disciplines to understand how our planet's systems function, in much the same way as medicine does for the human body.

This field helps us to better understand the links between natural processes on the land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere and the interactions with society that impact on these natural systems.

Access combines the efforts of a range of experts to focus on the large scale of study (in space and time) that is required to address global change.

Access also provides an opportunity for transforming science and uplifting historically disadvantaged institutions.

Access operates as an umbrella to unite fragmented research efforts (by discipline/institute). This allows researchers to consider the bigger picture and to address problems that could not be solved individually.

Access is also a portal for an array of international interest in our region's collaborative efforts. Thus the programme serves to bring a wide variety of global researchers, programmes and students to our shores. Access has implemented several sub-programmes in research and education at all levels of development, including

• A 10-day extra-mural workshop titled "How to Build A Habitable Planet";

• Research theme projects;

• A bursary programme for 100 postgraduate research students; and

• Workshops and conferences to capture and advance knowledge and capacity in the field.

For more information visit www.access.ac.za or contact Dr Neville Sweijd [email protected]

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