Call for Applications: MSc./Ph.D Studentship at the University of Cape Town (South Africa)

*** This opportunity is now closed as of September 2016 ***


Opportunity: MSc/PhD studentship

Institution: University of Cape Town (UCT) –
Department: Environmental and Geographical Science (EGS) –
Research Group: Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) –

Seasonal forecast information for improved sector-specific decision making

The Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) is currently seeking a
motivated person with a passion for exploring the interaction of climate
and agricultural systems in southern Africa. This is an opportunity to
join one of the largest multi-disciplinary and vibrant climate system
research groups on the continent, and help address key issues related to
the uptake of seasonal forecast information within southern Africa.

What to expect

The incumbent will work as part of a small team within
CSAG and with research partners at the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR), University of Pretoria (UP) and the South
African Weather Service (SAWS). This team and partners conduct research
on using seasonal climate information (including forecasts from Global
Climate Models and downscaling techniques) to evaluate predicted impacts
on agricultural systems (crops and livestock), water resources, and
appropriate options/actions for responding to predicted impacts. This
position is directly connected to the Southern African Science Service
Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use (SASSCAL) project/Climate
Modelling for the Improvement of Seasonal Forecasts and its Applications
for Southern Africa, the objective of which is to advance the
integration of seasonal forecast information in decision making and
planning. In particular, the successful candidate will be expected to
contribute to efforts to monitor and predict aspects of within-season
climate variability that are important for agriculture e.g. onset,
cessation, dry spells, heat stress etc, as well as the development of
tailored products that can advance decision-making and the assessment of
near-term risks.

The successful candidate will ideally be a climate/environmental
modeller with a keen interest in agricultural applications and
preferably having direct experience with climate/hydrological/crop
models, remote sensing or agrometeorological applications. Proficiency
in one or more modern scientific programming languages (e.g. R, Python)
is an advantage, as is experience of Linux operating environments.
Depending on experience the successful applicant for the MSc/PhD
position will have flexibility to develop his/her research interests
within the scope of the SASSCAL-funded project, which will provide a full
scholarship to cover living expenses and university registration (R
75-120,000 annually reviewed, depending on postgraduate level).


The MSc./Ph.D candidate will be co-supervised by Dr Mark
Tadross, Dr Emma Archer (CSIR) and Prof. Willem Landman (UP). Further
connections and interactions with senior and junior staff at CSAG will
be welcomed and expected (see <>).

About CSAG

CSAG is a vibrant multi-disciplinary research group at the
University of Cape Town, with approx. 30 members, and a strong track
record in addressing climate issues. The group currently runs multiple
global and regional climate models, has good in-house computational
capacity and access to additional supercomputer facilities. Research
foci span atmospheric physics, climate analysis, climate modeling and
forecasting as well as engagement with climate change impacts and
adaptation in the agriculture and water sectors especially, and the
support for stakeholders on climate change issues. About the SASSCAL
project:SASSCAL is a joint initiative of Angola, Namibia, Botswana,
South Africa, Zambia and Germany. There are five SASSCAL themes
including forestry, agriculture, biodiversity, climate change and water.
Further details can be found at

To apply

Submit information requests and applications by email to <>(use the reference
‘SASSCAL application’ in the subject line). No fax or postal
applications please. Include a letter of motivation outlining your
interests, research questions you would like to address, reasons for
your application, a full CV (no certificates), and the names, email and
telephone details of 3 referees.


Application is open-ended, with the intent to start the MSc./Ph.D as early as July 2016 and no later than January 2017. Please notethat the CSAG reserves the right not
to make an appointment. This offer is dependent on the applicant’s
acceptance at both the University of Cape Town and the Department of
Environmental & Geographical Science. The offer will be made for the
duration of the studies but is further dependent on satisfactory annual
progress. The Department and University application requirements can be
found on and

The University of Cape Town is committed to equity in our employment
practices. It is our intention to appoint individuals with the aim of
meeting our equity objectives.