Africa Earth Observatory Network

Established  to provide a university-wide research and educational environment to seek consilient knowledge and engagement amongst earth and life sciences, engineering, resource economics, human and cultural sciences through application and dissemination of Earth Stewardship Science.  AEON is one of four national Global Change Centres funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). It was recognised by Senate as a University-wide Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute (ESSRI) at Nelson Mandela University in August 2013.

AEON’s core business is human capacity building in Earth Stewardship Science…
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Nurturing a transient group of people with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and visions…
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A wide diversity of permanent and transient members in self-organised units that work on-site and remotely..
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Collective blending of multi-disciplinary views and skills produces a number of people skilled in cross-disciplinary problem solving.…
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AEON CommonsLinking the Hubs

An important and successful component of AEON is its Commons−the Knowledge Hub of AEON− an interactive working and multi-mentorship environment for graduate and postgraduate students and researchers – a home away from home for young talent.


The AEONetwork operates out of a Commons on the Summerstrand South Campus of Nelson Mandela University, from where it provides a university-wide research and education environment to seek consilience – unity of knowledge through entangled earth and life sciences, engineering, economics, human and cultural sciences – as Earth Stewardship Science, with Earth as a Commons.

This is where information is generated, exchanged and archived through geo-referenced databases and data analyses. The Commons is equipped with computing and remote communication facilities: state-of-the-art hardware and software to provide processing and modelling capacity, video-conferencing and remote teaching systems. Mentorship of students takes place here at various levels (academic and industry) and orchestrated by members of the Network and its Alumni.

Read More on the founding of AEON and Founding Members…..


AEON is building strong links and long-term partnerships with institutions throughout the world, to create a magnet for Africa’s science diaspora, to offer a home for Africa-based research and mentorship, and to establish a role-model for African science that is internationally competitive and sensitive to the big issues the planet faces.  AEON as observatory Network is forging collaborative links in Africa and globally, around key research and capacity building programs see list below:


  • Queens University, Ireland: Groundwater table research using microgravity (MEMS) and numerical modelling
  • University of Ghana: post-doctoral research supervision and Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme
  • UCLA, USA: isotope geochemistry and MOOC
  • IFREMER, France: Marine geosciences research
  • University of Brest, France: Marine geosciences research and collaborative teaching
  • University of Strasbourg, France: Africa seismotectonics; airborne geophysics
  • University of Grenoble, France – Seismic ambient noise processing and landscape modelling
  • IPGP-Paris: Marine Geophysics
  • GFZ Potsdam, Germany: Magnetotellurics and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU): Petroleum geosciences
  • Institute for Mine Seismology, Australia: Ambient seismic noise in mine tailings dams


  • DSI/NRF: Global Change program
  • UFS, Stellenbosch, Northwest University, and Fort Hare: Iphakade
  • UJ: medical geology
  • Council for Geoscience: mapping
  • Wits: Africa continental ARRAY and Oil&Gas CoP
  • TUT: Desalination technology and Science Train Project deployment in Matjiesfontein
  • UCT: GIS & spatial statistics
  • South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory Facility: broadband seismology, gps and weather station