Stellenbosch University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in the Sociology of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development

Four-year term from 2022, with the possibility of renewal for a further five-year term.

(Ref. LSW17/278/0921)

Stellenbosch University seeks to appoint a new Chair to head up the DSI/NRF Research Chair in the Sociology of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development. The Chair was established in 2016 to conduct research on the complex web of social and environmental dynamics within which commitments to sustainable development must operate, with the semi-arid Karoo region of South Africa its primary research site in the first instance. This focus reflects the significance of current land-use changes in this region, including major international and national investments in astronomy and renewable energy projects alongside significant changes relating to human settlement, agriculture and mining, and threats to bio-diversity. The Chair is committed to research that is empirically grounded, theoretically informed and alert to the importance of cross- disciplinary and comparative work. This offers the next incumbent scope to develop the current research programme in new directions that are consistent with its founding brief.

For further information see the Chair’s website:


  • Managing and further developing the SARChI research programme in the sociology of land, environment and sustainable development at Stellenbosch University;
  • Conducting high-quality research and publishing regularly in recognised scholarly outlets;
  • Supervising postgraduate students at honours, masters and doctoral levels;
  • Recruiting and mentoring postdoctoral fellows within the SARChI Chair;
  • Building the SARChI Chair’s research networks locally and internationally;
  • Participating in the academic activities and intellectual life of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University;
  • Contributing at a professorial level to the academic life of the host Faculty and wider University community. If from outside South Africa, the incumbent must be willing to spend at least 50% of his/her time in South Africa.


  • A relevant doctoral degree;
  • Appointability at a professorial level within the University;
  • A research profile demonstrating significant national and international recognition in fields relevant to the Chair’s research programme;
  • An excellent set of high-quality scholarly publications;
  • A demonstrated record of postgraduate student supervision at masters and doctoral levels; • The ability to manage the research programme’s finances;
  • The ability to manage research projects at different scales, including reporting requirements; • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal and leadership qualities;
  • An appropriate NRF rating, or the willingness to apply for such a rating. Recommendations:
  • Experience in fundraising;
  • Spoken language competency in at least one of the languages widely spoken in the Karoo; • Interest in innovative and mixed methods of social research, including inter-disciplinary;
  • A record of policy engagement in areas relevant to the Chair’s research programme.

Commencement of duties: The intention is to identify an appointable person by 31 December 2021, to be nominated by Stellenbosch University to the National Research Foundation for confirmation as early as possible in 2022.

Closing Date: 12 November 2021

Enquiries regarding this post: Prof. Cherryl Walker on +27 21 808 2420, or at Enquiries regarding remuneration/benefits as well as technical assistance with the electronic application process: Human Resources Client Services Centre on 021 808 2753 or at

Applications should be accompanied by the following and must reach the University before or on the closing date of the advertised post:

  • A letter of motivation that briefly outlines a proposed research direction for the Chair;
  • A comprehensive curriculum vitae;
  • The names and e-mail addresses of at least three referees; • A recent academic publication.

The University is committed to employment equity (EE), and appointments will be made in line with the EE plan for the specific environment as well as Stellenbosch University’s institutional EE Plan.

The University reserves the right not to make an appointment.

Apply online at
The University reserves the right to investigate qualifications and conduct background checks on all candidates.

Should no feedback be received from the University within six weeks of the closing date, kindly accept that your application did not succeed.