Renewable Energy postdoc at Stellenbosch University

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition is inviting applications for a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship position for anyone with a PhD who is interested in focusing on the financial dimensions of South Africa’s renewable energy programme (REIPPPP).

Introduction to the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition

The Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) is a new Stellenbosch University and National Research Foundation ‘flagship’ initiative established in 2015. As an interdisciplinary research centre within Stellenbosch University, the CST has three core themes: complexity thinking, sustainability science and transdisciplinary research, applied across four broad case study areas – energy, water, food and cities.


The CST has a large research programme investigating the developmental impacts of the utility-scale renewable energy projects in developing countries. Of particular interest to the centre is the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and the socio-economic impacts of the nearly 100 REIPPPP projects. Most of these projects are located in South Africa’s small towns, thus informing the CST’s larger interest in the urban/spatial implications of the global energy transition. South Africa and the REIPPPP serve as an important case study.

  • Preferred candidates should have a background in energy studies, development finance, environmental economics, sustainability transitions or other relevant fields
  • Applications are open to South African and non-South African candidates
  • We can offer a bursary of R150 000 per annum (funded via the National Research Foundation, which is exempt from tax) plus a top up amount and research expenses over a two-year period
  • Ideally applicants should already be familiar with the workings of the renewable energy programme, in particular the financial aspects of the various projects, the involvement of local and international investors and the role of development finance institutions, for example
  • The fellowship position is an opportunity to interrogate the contribution of the REIPPPP to broad-based economic transformation in South Africa, and contribute to an understanding of the financing of a transition to a low-carbon economy
  • In addition to participating in the CST-based research group in ways to be negotiated given time and travel constraints, the post-doctoral researcher will be expected to compile and publish two academic journal articles per year in recognised international journals

There is already an established research base from which to proceed that will be made available to the applicant. Please contact for research related questions.

Conditions of award 

Applicants are required to have achieved the doctoral degree within the last five years

  • Relevant experience of working in South Africa, particularly energy and / or finance related sectors
  • Applicants should have excellent analytical writing and communication skills in English
  • The tenure of the fellowship is one year, and renewal for one further year is contingent on satisfactory academic progress
  • Starting date: March 2017 or earliest date thereafter


Submit applications to Prof Mark Swilling and Megan Davies by 31 January 2017.

Applications should include:

  • A letter of motivation outlining how the applicant fulfils the fellowship position, and detailing a research proposal related to the financial aspects of REIPPPP: max two pages
  • A full Curriculum Vitae: max four pages
  • Two academic writing samples: in English (in PDF format)
  • The names and contact details of three referees, of which as least two must be academics


Eligible and complete applications will be considered by the CST and we will contact short-listed applicants for interviews in January / February 2017. If you have not heard within two months of the deadline, please assume your application has been unsuccessful. Stellenbosch University reserves the right to disqualify illegible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications. Stellenbosch University reserves the right to change the conditions of award or to make no award at all.


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