The Centre for Complex Systems in Transition is a research flagship initiative at Stellenbosch University that brings together research on transdisciplinary, complexity, sustainability and social-ecological resilience to inform pressing national, continental and global sustainability and development challenges. CST hosts leading scientists and students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, and fosters collaborations with a variety of departments across the university, nationally and globally, providing a vibrant hub for solution-oriented, transdisciplinary sustainability science, that is primarily funded from external research grants. The primary objective of the CST is to co-produce transformational knowledge on the dynamics of multi-scale social-ecological change in partnership with key stakeholders, and thereby provide strategic insights into the new modes of research and governance that can bring about a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable society, in southern Africa and globally.

CST seeks to appoint a researcher with expertise in issues pertinent to Africa, with specific emphasis on renewable energy policies and technology, economic development and governance issues. We seek a researcher whose work is grounded in a deep understanding and knowledge of the global literature on sustainability transitions and governance for sustainability, and is aligned with CST’s complexity-inspired approach to sustainability science. The candidate will be expected to work in collaboration with other CST researchers, and relevant CST partners, stakeholders and funders. The candidate will be expected to contribute expertise on governance, renewable energy and sustainability transitions to ongoing and new CST projects, and will also be expected to take a lead in securing ongoing funding for major research projects. A proven track record in securing funding and managing research projects is essential.


  • Compile a monthly newsletter of up to 5 000 words, based on various expert research topics, as prescribed by management.
  • Research a wide range of contemporary economic trends in Africa.
  • Research the energy transition in Africa, with special reference to solar and wind power.
  • Teach and coordinate courses on renewable energy, sustainable development and governance on the PGDip.
  • Supervise Masters and PhD students with respect to African economic development, governance of sustainability transitions and renewable energy.
  • Lead grant applications in order to secure funding.
  • Manage international research teams.


  • Specialist knowledge about renewable energy policies and technologies in Africa.
  • Specialist knowledge about African economic development and governance issues and challenges.
  • Specialist knowledge about the global literature on sustainability transitions and governance for sustainability.
  • Postgraduate qualification in transdisciplinary sustainability studies in a topic related to working in the science-policy-practice interface(minimum requirement is a Master’s degree in sustainable development).
  • Teaching experience at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • Experience in managing international research teams is essential, including coordination or co-coordination of at least one major international research team.
  • Experience in compiling fund raising proposals.
  • Track record in raising funds for research from international funders and the National Research Foundation.
  • Experience in project implementation, including coordination of a major academic research project.
  • Experience in report writing.
  • A track record of being involved in projects/research that seeks to advance actionable science, especially in relation to enhancing more equitable outcomes of sustainability interventions.
  • Evidence of international work in the sustainability-related science-policy field.
  • Established national and international research collaborations with leading researchers and research networks in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability transitions.
  • Minimum three years’ experience as a full-time researcher at Masters or Doctoral level, with evidence of at least three publications.


  • A PhD is recommended (or proof that the research towards obtaining a PhD qualification has been substantially completed) in transdisciplinary sustainability studies in a topic related to working in the science-policy-practice interface.
  • Postgraduate level teaching experience is preferred.
  • Five years’ experience as a full-time researcher at Masters or Doctoral level.
  • Information confirming funds previously secured, including names of funders.
  • Experience and a desire to work in participatory interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary environments where there is minimal daily supervision of work and schedules. 

Recommendations for ideal


  • One year contract
  • Salary at mid-range Lecturer level
  • Start date: 1 March 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

For further information, contact Cornelia Jacobs, Research Coordinator at CST. To apply, send a cover letter and a CV to