The Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University is seeking to appoint a dynamic
research co-ordinator and project manager who is

  • an early career researcher with an aptitude for research project management and co-ordination, OR
  • an experienced project manager keen to work in an academic environment,
  • interested in transdisciplinary sustainability sciences and education,
  • based in Makhanda and who is able to work in person at the ELRC at Rhodes University mornings only, and is
  • able to work co-operatively with enthusiasm and flair in a fast-paced environment.

The appointee will work on two high level projects in the NRF/DSI Community of Practice focusing
on Transdisciplinary Studies at the interface of Environment and Sustainability Sciences and Education System development. In addition to project management, it will involve the coordination of research activities, communications and knowledge hub development.

The first project is the NRF/DSI Community of Practice (CoP), led by the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at Rhodes University. The objectives of the CoP is to advance transdisciplinary science, policy and practice, with an emphasis on social learning and education system impact. The CoP brings together 11 national research Chairs, who represent the major Sustainability Science and Sustainability Education research nodes in South Africa. Its purpose is to build a strong network from which to leverage the impact of their collective work, the focus being ontransdisciplinary action, policy and education system innovations.

The second project is a keystone initiative in the NRF/DSI CoP titled TRANSECTS. It involves the cohosting of an international transdisciplinary teaching and learning programme for post-graduate scholars, academics and practitioners, to be selected from across the NRF/DSI CoP centres and nodes. The NRF/DSI CoP and the ELRC at Rhodes University are hosting the South African hub of the TRANSECTS, which is a six-year initiative with hubs in Germany, Canada and South Africa. The purpose of TRANSECTS is to empower early-career scholars, professionals and practitioners to become sustainability change makers.

Who would you work with? Reporting directly to the two research Chairs in the ELRC, Distinguished Professor Lotz-Sisitka (overall DSI/NRF CoP) and Professor Eureta Rosenberg (country co-director on the TRANSECTS project), the appointee will work closely with the ELRC Research Advancement and Administrative Manager, and both national and international members of the DSI/NRF and TRANSECTs teams, as well as the ELRC and Rhodes administration support staff and units.

What will you do? The appointee will:

  • undertake general project management tasks (with support for financial reporting and record keeping for reporting purposes)
  • provide research, meeting and publishing assistance
  • identify the need for and undertake project related communications, knowledge mobilization and knowledge hub co-development

to enable the successful implementation, monitoring, and reporting of the activities undertaken by the DSI/NRF CoP and the associated TRANSECTS South African hub.


  • Management of the project budget, partner funding transfers and financial reporting, in liaison with the ELRC Research Advancement and Financial Management Coordinator.
  • Take active leadership to develop and regularly update a vibrant, engaged Knowledge Hub (website platform with active events, links etc.)
  • Providing assistance with data collection and preparation of research outputs.
  • Developing communication materials for websites, presentations, and reports.
  • Engaging in project events and course planning and, where appropriate, co-facilitating workshops and meetings.
  • Maintaining a timeline of accountabilities and working with the two research Chairs and partners to ensure that project deliverables and timelines are met.
  • Monitoring and reporting of project research performance/metrics.
  • Assisting with co-ordination of travel groups for national and international meeting, Learning Labs and other events, in liaison with the administration unit of the ELRC.

Education and Experience Requirements:

  • Masters or PhD Degree in a related field (e.g. environmental education, sustainability; environmental studies or sciences; geography; development studies).
  • A minimum of three years of highly relevant research experience, and / or
  • Two to five years of project management experience.
  • High level of information technology literacy
  • Ability to gather, track, analyze, and present information utilizing advanced features in Microsoft Office (e.g. Excel, Word, PowerPoint) and suitable project management software
  • Ability to develop and maintain websites and databases.
  • Experience in event (e.g. workshop) planning and facilitation.
  • Demonstrated competence in knowledge synthesis and report writing.
  • Due to the need to connect with international partners across multiple time zones, the applicant must be available to maintain flexible work hours and to travel.
  • The candidate should have very high level of communication and networking skills as this is primarily a ‘connecting, communicating, organising and relating’ type of position.

Further Useful Experience (Assets but not Requirements):

  • Direct experience working with national and/or international partners including academics, communities or organizations, non-governmental organizations, and /or government agencies.
  • Understanding of the DSI/NRF Community of Practice Programmes, and / or the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programmes and Regions, as well as transdisciplinary sciences and / or environmental education.
  • Additional training in project management (including knowledge of project management software), communications, database management, and web-design are assets.
  • Willingness to continue to pursue professional development opportunities that will enhance the capacity and operations of the partnership.
  • The ability to gather, track, analyze, and present information utilizing advanced features in Microsoft Office (e.g. Excel, Word, PowerPoint) and suitable project management software

The position is likely to provide opportunities for short-term travel nationally and internationally to assist with logistics, meet with project or community partners, and plan or facilitate workshops and

Other Benefits:
The position is ideal for an early career researcher who wishes to develop national and international
networks, but also for experienced managers a keen interest in advancing transdisciplinary research
and education. Should the incumbent be within a period of 5 years of completion of a PhD, the
position could be combined with access to a post-doctoral scholarship for the remaining 50% of their
time. This would be an ideal opportunity for a post-doctoral early career researcher who wishes to
rapidly advance their science engagement and networks in this area of study, nationally and

Alternatively, the position would also be ideally suited to a very experienced research project manager
who is seeking part time employment in an academic environment, and who would have a keen
interest in the area of scholarly work being advanced, as well as an appetite for travel and national
and international engagement across disciplines and fields.

Salary range: R220 000 – R250 000 per annum, for part time employment, depending on level of experience (all inclusive).
Applicants must have a valid work permit to work in South Africa, and should be available to start on 1 October or sooner.

Application procedure:

Please submit a CV and a letter of application outlining your experience, suitability, and motivation for applying for this position to: Zandi Hempe on

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted following the applications procedure.
Closing Date: 20 August 2022