Call for Applications: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

ACC invites applications for a three-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship as part of a project led by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, called Spatialising Climate Impacts on Health: A Focus on Vulnerable Settlements in Megacities of the Global South. The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust (WT) and will run from April 2024 to April 2027. The project falls under the WT’s focus area of climate and health, and is focussed on translating and communicating climate/health knowledge, for example through visual material, popular media, and other modes. The project includes sites in South Africa (led by ACC), Kenya (led by KDI), Sierra Leone (led by SLURC), and India (led by IIHS, also the overall project lead). 

The successful candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary team, based at ACC, working to assess the impact of climate change on health in selected vulnerable informal areas. The project understands vulnerable settlements to mean sites that can have a combination of the following attributes: tenure insecurity, a fragile built environment, inadequate infrastructure and services, inequitable access to health systems and socio-economic exclusion. These are often reduced to the idea of the ‘slum,’ but are far more complex and varied than what such a narrow label would suggest. In each country, research teams have identified particular sites (e.g. settlements) that experience climate hazards and risks (including heat, flooding, fires, landslides etc.). In Nairobi and Freetown, the partners already have experience in the selected vulnerable sites and will build on this experience of this particular project, advancing a health dimension and translating the findings for wider communication.

In Cape Town, we are still in the process of selecting the sites for the South African case; such selection will be based on the experience and knowledge of the post-doc that is selected for the post. The successful candidate will need to have experience working in informal settlements and established relationships with particular settlements (ideally in Cape Town, however, if a compelling case can be made for another city in South Africa, this can be considered). We do not necessarily expect candidates to have extensive experience in both health and climate-related research, we will consider candidates with experience in one or the other and who are willing to learn more about the linkages between the two fields. Most importantly, there must be a willingness to utilise the methodologies collectively developed by the team (led by IIHS). There must be interest in translating and communicating research findings for diverse audiences including communities and decision-makers. 

Eligibility Criteria
Applicants must have: 

  • Completed a doctoral degree in an area of study that is relevant to urban studies and southern urban debates within the past five years (e.g. Geography, Political Studies, Anthropology, Urban Studies, Planning and related fields) and/or public health debates related to the impacts of climate hazards on health and wellbeing. 
  • Demonstrated experience conducting research in informal settlements. The scholar must have an existing relationship with the communities/settlements they are proposing that the research takes place in. 
  • Demonstrated ability to translate work for diverse audiences 
  • Experience using mixed methods, including comfort with working with basic quantitative information. 
  • Experience conducting interviews with vulnerable communities 

Applicants must not have held any previous full-time professional or academic posts. 

Conditions of Award
The successful candidate will be required to: 

  • Register as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in ACC. 
  • Comply with the University’s approved policies, procedures, and practices for the postdoctoral sector. 
  • Participate in selected teaching and supervision that form part of the ACC work in the Masters of Southern Urbanism and Masters of Sustainable Urban Practice. 

Value and Tenure
The fellowship is valued at R 420,000 per 12-month period and includes no fringe benefits. The fellowship is tenable for one year, and is renewable for a total of up to three years contingent on satisfactory academic progress and the availability of funds.

The fellowship complies with the SARS policies/rules and is therefore exempt from taxation. Relocation expenses are not covered by the fellowship. Non-South African citizens may be required to apply for a study visa. 

Application Requirements
Applicants are required to submit the following documents in a single pdf, via email, to: by no later than midnight, on March 22, 2024. 

  • A proposal (max two pages) which includes:
    • A short bio of the applicant, in narrative form. 
    • A CV including a list of publications/scholarly and creative outputs (max two pages)
    • Copies of academic transcripts;
    • Names and contact details of at least two academics who have taught, supervised or worked alongside you.
  • An overview of the proposed site/sites including its location, an overview of the climate risks and hazards on the site, and any relevant information on the material condition or demographic profiles. 
  • An explanation of existing experience working in this site and evidence of established relationships 
  • Evidence of interest in translating research for diverse audiences 

Closing date: 22 March 2024 

Start date: May/June, 2024 

Please clearly state that this is an application for the ‘Spatialising Climate Impacts Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2024’ and label all your files with your last name. 

Selection Process
A panel comprised of ACC staff, and selected member of the wider project, will form part of the shortlisting process. Candidates will be scored based on criteria relevant to the project and the top three candidates will be shortlisted. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Interviews will be held with shortlisted candidates in the first week of April. 

Enquiries: For more information on this position, please contact Dr Liza Cirolia at 

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