Future Climate For Africa (FCFA), the extensive programme of research activities to improve climate science across Africa, has launched publicly. The event on 28 October at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, hosted as a side event at the fifth Climate Change and Development in Africa conference, drew key stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to mark the formal start of the programme and the uptake of climate information in development planning and investments. FCFA is a new five-year international research programme jointly funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to the value of GBP 20 million. The programme will support research to advance scientific knowledge, understanding and prediction of African climate variability and change on 5 to 40 year timescales, together with support for better integration of science into longer-term decision making. FCFA projects will be delivered through collaborative partnerships of the world’s best researchers drawing on African, British and other international institutions. The programme’s success will be measured by the way that its research generates new knowledge which can be used to benefit the poor in a sustainable manner. “FCFA is an opportunity to take all the ideas and progress that has been made over the last 15 years and bring all into one programme across Africa,” said Dr Chris Jack, who will be working on the Southern African component of the programme. Africa has seen historic underinvestment in climate science and services. It is the only continent where climate models have not improved and where robust climate information is generally not available. Where climate information does exist, potential users are typically unaware of its importance for their decisions, or how to access and use it. The launch was opened with an address from Dr Arame Tall, from the Global Framework for Climate Services, who emphasised that the delivery of new climate services in Africa can’t be successful without more investment into climate science research. The launch drew together a panel of distinguished researchers who will be working on the programme over the next four years. The “talk show” style panel discussion enabled a brisk discussion on many of the key elements necessary for programme success. “One aspect that needs to be addressed is that our research should be planned with a built in tunnel for transitioning new research into applications, so that we actually have actionable research” argued Dr Richard Anyah, who will be working on the east African component of the programme. It also drew useful input from key stakeholders concerned in delivering climate services in Africa and offered an opportunity for FCFA to be linked into existing initiatives such as the Global Framework for Climate Services, and Africa Climate Research for Development. The launch follows an extensive scoping phase which delivered several valuable lessons for the structuring and implementation of the programme through a series of case studies probing the availability and use of climate information in Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Maputo, Accra as well as in the hydropower and ports sectors.