Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Urban Resilience

African Climate and Development Initiative

Cape Town, , ZA



Exploring the role of governance in building resilience in the global South

Closing Date: 15 October 2017 | Start Date: negotiable, but ideally 1 February 2018

This postdoc is part of an AXA funded project on Urban governance for resilience in the global South.  The project seeks to characterize areas of commensurability and incommensurability around governance of urban resilience and water security, through a social justice lens, in Cape Town. Linked to this is the understanding that different actors within the city have different priorities around what resilient trajectories look like and therefore support different modes of governance in how to respond. These different trajectories and governance modes may be incommensurate in some instances and commensurate in others. Surfacing these disjunctures or opportunities is important when finding solutions that account for complexity, diversity and change. A particular focus will be placed on cross-scalar governance between city-level actors and those at the neighbourhood scale. 

The PDRF will be based at the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI).


  • Undertake systematic reviews of responses to water security in Cape Town, how resilience and justice has been addressed in cities and the nature of multi-scale governance of environmental and social risk
  • Contribute to developing and running stakeholder engagement processes related to the project
  • Participate in the activities of the African Climate and Development Initiative
  • Produce scholarly articles that are publishable in international peer reviewed journals, book chapters and contributions to the media in general

Academic / experience criteria:


  • A PhD, awarded within the previous five years.
  • Has strong skills in qualitative research methods and analysis.
  • Demonstrated ability to produce peer-reviewed research articles.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Experience, or a desire to build experience, in communicating research to diverse non-expert audiences.


  • Experience in topics related to resilience, governance, climate change adaptation and social change. 
  • Has been part of transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary projects
  • Knowledge of participatory processes
  • Has expertise in South African and/or southern African settings.
  • Has expertise in water and/or urban issues
  • Experience of supervision or co-supervision of PhD and/or Master’s level research projects.

Conditions of award:

  • Applicants must have completed their doctoral degrees within the past 5 years and may not previously have held a full-time permanent professional or academic post.
  • 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 a limited capacity in 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 practises for the postdoctoral sector.
  • The successful candidate is expected to be based in Cape Town for the duration of the fellowship.
  • The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with Associate Professor Gina Ziervogel.

Value and tenure:

  • The value of the fellowship is between ZAR 240,000-280,000 depending on experience. It is tenable for 1 year and renewable for another year if progress is satisfactory.

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) copies of academic transcripts and/or certificates, and (iv) email addresses of at least two references who been directly involved in their PhD and/or previous postdoctoral research.  

Applications should be emailed to: [email protected] and copied to [email protected] before 15 October 2017.

Selection process:

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

Closing date:

Applications received before 15 October 2017 are guaranteed to be considered. Applications received thereafter may be considered if the position has not been filled.

Contact details for enquiries about the fellowship topic: [email protected]  

Additional information on ACDI, EGS 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.