PhD and Research Masters Scholarships in the Attribution of Impacts of Climatic Extremes in Southern Africa



The AXA Research Chair Programme in African Climate Risk at the ACDI aims to (i) quantify the relative contribution of climate change and landscape management impacts of weather and seasonal climate extremes; and (ii) estimate the social and economic benefit of different adaptation options to reduce the impacts these extreme events. The initial focus of the programme is on impacts and responses in water and agricultural systems.

ACDI therefore wishes to recruit at least two research students to undertake a Masters or PhD in Probabilistic Impact Attribution in Hydrological and Agricultural Systems. The students will be part of a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Cape Town and University of Oxford, spanning climate, hydrological, agricultural, ecological and economic and adaptation science. Each student will undertake a discrete project that investigates impacts in either the water or agricultural sector, from one of more of a yield (water or agriculture), economic and social impact perspective.

Call for Application
These scholarships will be awarded preferentially to Black South African and Black African applicants, but anyone from Africa is eligible to apply.

Conditions of Award
The successful applicant will be required to: 
• Register for full time study in relevant department/faculty.
• Comply with the university’s approved policies, procedures and practices for the postgraduate sector.

Although successful candidates will be permitted to take up part-time employment (maximum 15 hours per week) they may not hold scholarships and salaried/full-time employment concurrently.

Value and Tenure
• The value of the scholarship is R120, 000 per annum, excluding research expenses.
• This may be topped up with part-time employment within the project.
• Students are requested to declare any other funding they are awarded, and the value of the award may be adjusted to take into account other funding.
• The scholarship for PhD and MSc are for three and two years, respectively, with renewal for each year depend on satisfactory progress.

Academic Criteria
• For Masters: an Honours (or SAQA level 8 equivalent) degree, with a specialization in atmospheric science, hydrology, agriculture, economics, development studies or climate vulnerability/ impacts/adaptation.
• For PhD: a Masters (or SAQA Level 9 equivalent) degree, with a specialization in atmospheric science, hydrology, agriculture, economics, development studies, or climate vulnerability/impacts/ adaptation.
• Experience or interest in interdisciplinary research.
• Strong quantitative, analytical and modelling skills, appropriate to academic background, and level of qualification: for example, econometrics, social statistics, hydrological or climate data processing.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Application Requirements
1. Letter of application, which includes a description of the area of impacts that is of interest
2. A full CV
3. Summary or copy of academic results, from undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
4. An example of written research work, such as an Honours or Masters dissertation, a research paper or report.
5. The names and contact details of three referees, at least two of which are academic, and at least one who has directly supervised an aspect of the applicant’s research.

Selection Process
Selection of eligible candidates will be made by a sub-committee within the ACDI.
Please note that application for the scholarship and application for a place on the PhD programme are two separate processes.

1. Those who have already applied for an MSc or PhD should submit a separate application for this scholarship, providing details of their PhD/MSc application (department, topic, potential supervisor).
2. Those who have not yet applied should first apply for the scholarship, and if awarded, will then be required to apply for academic admission.

Applications received by 4 December 2017 will be guaranteed consideration

Contact Details
Please contact Prof Mark New ( for research related questions.

For further information or if you have any general enquiries or concerns, contact Mr Paballo Chauke on 021 650 5598.

Submit applications to:

Starting date: Feb 2018, for start of academic year. In exceptional circumstances a delayed start date is possible.

Important to note: 

  • The University of Cape Town reserves the right to make no awards at all, to cancel the award if the conditions are not met, and to effect changes to the conditions of the award.
  • The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications.