Post-doctoral researcher in climate change adaptation at the Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
May 21, 2019

The Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, would like to appoint a post-doctoral researcher in climate change adaptation focusing on the role of youth change agents and climate change.

About the job:

Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change owing to a range of reasons including climate and weather systems. Low coping and adaptation capacity add to the vulnerability of the continent. Recently, notwithstanding the international upsurge in interest in climate change (e.g. Sendai framework, Conference of the Parties meetings, Paris Climate Accord) there is also growing interest that is emerging from the youth as they take on actively mobilizing for sustainability. In particular young change agents are challenging education systems and approaches (e.g. Fees Must Fall) and a variety of environmental and structural system concerns.

Youth activism in climate change can include a variety of actions (e.g. dutiful dissent, disruptive dissent and dangerous dissent – O’Brien, Selboe and Hayward, 2018).

Understanding the options that can be explored by young change agents will be part of an ongoing project of Professor Coleen Vogel in the GCI.

The post is available for two years, renewable annually depending on progress on the incumbent. The candidate will be expected to commence no later than the 1stJuly 2019.

About the Institute:

The GCI is based on the Wits East Campus in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The GCI is a transdisciplinary research institute that was established as an enabling research platform of global significance and local impact, fostering informed action for adaptation and innovation in the rapidly changing southern African region. The GCI is also focused on key actions and research that includes link, learn and enabling change. This project, to which the post doc will be a part, will actively engage in linking, learning and enabling change with the youth in South Africa and possibly in Africa.

Key responsibilities:

  • Assist in understanding and promoting youth change agents and climate change in various contexts;
  • Undertake intensive literature reviews on youth activism and change agent processes both locally and internationally;
  • Assist in the formation of youth platform(s) for climate change;
  • Production and publication of at least two high quality peer reviewed journal articles emanating from the project;
  • Working with postgraduate students associated with the project, where necessary;
  • Working closely with collaborating institutions for the normal execution of the project tasks. 

Qualifications, skills and experience:

  • A doctoral degree in the social sciences and or humanities or a closely related discipline is required; preference will be given to candidates with a strong social science and activist background.
  • Strong computer programming skills are required.
  • A desire to conduct interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and contribute to the overall objective of the project and institute;
  • Enthusiasm, self-motivation and a good work ethic;
  • Proven excellence in the application of the scientific method;
  • Excellent teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Commitment to learning, exploring, innovating and developing new skills.

To apply, please send a comprehensive CV to

 Deadline for applications: 31 May 2019

Full opportunity description (PDF)

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