Posted on: 6 March, 2019
Application deadline: April 10, 2019

Research Associate (Fixed Term), University of Cambridge, UK

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate in ” Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-cost housing in the Western Cape, South Africa “, funded by a British Academy Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research Project Grant, led by Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Geography).

The project responds to the dual global challenges of:

  1. reducing carbon emissions, and
  2. meeting the needs of rapidly expanding urban populations in the Global South.

The project will facilitate meaningful learning engagements and knowledge sharing between diverse stakeholders (public, private, community, NGOs) involved in designing, funding, delivering and using energy efficiency interventions in low-income urban housing settlements situated in the Western Cape, South Africa.

We are seeking to recruit a postdoctoral research associate who will primarily:

  1. design and execute qualitative fieldwork (semi-structured interviews and focus groups) with a wide range of public, private, NGO, and community stakeholders involved in the low-income energy-efficient housing sector in the Western Cape, South Africa
  2. analyse these data to produce high-quality publications (academic and policy briefs)
  3. establish and facilitate a network for energy/housing stakeholders in the Western Cape
  4. organise and facilitate a collaborative workshop at the University of Cape Town for these diverse energy/housing stakeholders
  5. communicate effectively with project partners from a range of disciplines in Cambridge and South Africa.

Eligible candidates must have a PhD in Social Sciences, Architecture, Engineering, Business or relevant discipline.

The successful candidate will be a self-starter with excellent time management, communication and interpersonal skills. The candidate must have experience in undertaking independent primary fieldwork in global South urban contexts as well as logistical experience in establishing and leading networks and workshops. The candidate must be able to demonstrate a track record of excellence in carrying out fieldwork and translating the resulting qualitative data into high quality publications/reports and verbal presentations. Although the primary research will be qualitative, an ability to analyse secondary quantitative data is desirable. Prior experience in South Africa is also highly desirable.

The project is inter-disciplinary. Although based in the geography department, the PDRA will also be supported by Cambridge co-investigators in engineering, architecture and the business school, in addition to project partners at the University of Cape Town. It is therefore desirable if the successful candidate can demonstrate prior experience of coordinating diverse teams, as well as of working in an inter-disciplinary context, specifically one that bridges the technical expertise of the physical sciences with the human-centric approach of the social sciences. Candidates with specialist knowledge of inter-disciplinary approaches within the domestic energy sector would be particularly welcome to apply.

The postholder will work with Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Department of Geography), who should be contacted with informal enquiries about the post (

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 30 July 2020 in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the ‘Apply’ button on the original listing. This will route you to the University’s Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please quote reference LC18325 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

DEPARTMENT/LOCATION Department of Geography
SALARY £32,236-£39,609
PUBLISHED 1 March 2019
CLOSING DATE 10 April 2019

Apply through original listing