The Department of Environmental Science at Rhodes University in Makhanda is a participant in an international, transdisciplinary research consortium investigating the ‘Challenges for Inclusive Urban Development in Africa (CHIDA)’. The project seeks to (1) capture and assess cumulative stresses and concurrent or cascading impacts that critically undermine urban livelihoods, (2) identify innovative, beneficial paths for Nature-based Solutions to support socially inclusive urban development, (3) provide insights for urban decision-makers and residents to plan desirable urban development paths, and (4) co-design an adaptive planning, decision-making and monitoring tool, particularly for urban green infrastructure and nature-based solutions.

We have two PhD bursaries available for suitability qualified who are enthusiastic to work as part of a team on challenges to urban sustainability.

  • One to work on the ecological quantification and assessment of ecosystem services and disservices from urban green infrastructure and how they potentially contribute to or undermine nature-based solutions related to biodiversity conservation, food security, site-specific risk adaptation and mitigation. The successful candidate will have a strong background in ecology or environmental science.
  • One to work on (1) the analysis and assessment of policies and regulations and barriers and enablers to the promotion of urban green infrastructure and the mobilisation or effective use of nature-based solutions, and (2) at a finer scale, an assessment of residents’ access to urban green spaces, their perceptions and interpretations of such and their current or potential use in relation to livelihood activities in the context of urban green infrastructure and nature-based solutions. This will require regular interactions with local stakeholders. The successful candidate will have a background in social sciences such as sociology, geography, history or politics.

Successful candidates will:

  • Have a strong Masters degree in the required discipline
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Find it easy to engage with local communities, municipal officials and relevant stakeholders
  • Be driven and self-motivated
  • Be eager to work in inter- and transdisciplinary fora

The bursaries will each be R185,000 per year for a maximum of three years. Each PhD student will be supervised by two members of the project team, one from Rhodes University and one from one of the other collaborating institutions.

Interested candidates are invited to send the following documents to Prof Charlie Shackleton at Rhodes University ( (1) a letter of motivation that also indicates which project you wish to work on, (2) a full curriculum vitae, (3) academic transcripts, and (4) names and contact details of three referees.

Closing date: Friday 6 August 2021.