Climate Resilient African Landscapes (CRAL) 

The University of Cape Town invites black South Africans interested in working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) with a focus in climate change and resilience to apply for the ARUA-CD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship position. The value of the fellowship is ZAR 250,000-300,000 depending on experience and is tenable for 12 months with the possibility of extension for further years subject to satisfactory progress. We aim to attract exceptional scholars who are academically capable and are committed to serving South Africa and the continent in the environmental and development field.

Application Deadline: 15 March 2019 

Details of the position 

The Postdoctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) will be involved in a new ‘World Universities Network’ (WUN) funded project known CRAL (Climate Resilient African Landscapes) that aims to develop a conceptual framework, research agenda and a broad protocol for three long-term, comparative landscape-level research sites across three African countries; South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. These sites will provide ‘living labs’ for climate change, sustainability and development research at UCT, University of Ghana and University of Nairobi. These universities are all partners in the African Research University Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Climate and Development. We believe that understanding the social and environmental impacts of climate change in Africa requires systemic and longitudinal place-based research. Landscapes provide an ideal unit of analysis for considering the interacting impacts of change on biodiversity, ecosystem services and local livelihoods and for realising new pathways towards a more resilient future that are grounded and attuned to local knowledge and realities.

In their role, the PDRF will be responsible for a review paper on landscape approaches for climate and development research, attending and assisting with planning workshops, and supporting the development of a research agenda and protocol, as well as other project outputs for CRAL. There is also opportunity for the PDRF to lead a discrete and independent area of research to achieve the aims and outputs of the CRAL project. The PDRF will work closely with international counterparts at the partner universities and will be required to make research visits to Kenya and Ghana.

PDRF will be part of an interdisciplinary team from Canada, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the UK, spanning climate change adaptation, sustainable development and indigenous knowledge systems. Further, within ACDI and UCT, the PDRF will have the opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary working group on ‘Climate Change, Livelihoods and Landscapes’ (CCLL), other related projects such as a project on the social-economic benefits of ecological infrastructure (SEBEI), and in advancing work on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA).

Academic / experience criteria: 


• A PhD, awarded within the previous five years, in climate change adaptation, sustainability, landscapes and resilience research.

• Strong project management skills.

• Strong participatory research, data processing and analysis skills.

• Demonstrated ability to produce peer-reviewed research articles.

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.

• Desire to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary research setting. The candidate must be prepared to work across social and natural sciences.


• Practical experience of developing community-based research projects and of working with indigenous knowledge systems.

• Interest and knowledge of systems approaches and social-ecological systems.

• Knowledge GIS and other related tools.

• Experience in African development issues.

• Experience of co-supervision of research projects.

Conditions of award: 

• Applicants must have completed their doctoral degrees within the past 5 years and should not have been employed.

• No benefits or allowances are included in the Fellowship, but the fellowship stipend is tax free.

• As part of their professional development, the successful candidate may be required to participate in other ACDI activities, such as teaching and/or student supervision.

• The successful applicant will be required to register as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cape Town immediately and will not be considered a UCT employee.

• The successful applicant will be required to comply with the university’s approved policies, procedures and practices for the postdoctoral sector.

• Applicants may not previously have held full-time permanent professional or academic posts.

Start Date: Negotiable, preferably by 1 April 2019

Application requirements: 

Applicants should submit (i) an application letter that includes a short description of their expertise and research interests, and how these relate to the position, (ii) a CV including a publication list, (iii) copy of South African ID book, (iv) copies of academic transcripts and/or certificates, and (v) email addresses of at least two references who been directly involved in their PhD and/or previous postdoctoral research.

Selection process: 

• Only eligible and complete applications will be considered by the selection committee.

• Interviews will take place in the week of 18 March. 


Applications received before 15 March 2019 are guaranteed to be considered. Applications received thereafter may be considered if the position has not been filled.

Applications should be emailed to: Rabia Karriem at

Enquiries about the fellowship topic and ARUA-CD: Professor Sheona Shackleton at

Additional information on ACDI and UCT can be found at: / 

The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications. The University of Cape Town also reserves the right to change the conditions of the award or to make no awards at all.