Forecasting climate change risks to biodiversity and ecosystem services to strengthen climate change adaptation in Africa
Deadline: 14 June 2019 or until position is filled
The ACDI is seeking up to two Postdoctoral Research Fellows (PDRFs) to join a research team working on a Future Leaders–African Independent Research (FLAIR) project on climate change risks to biodiversity and ecosystem services.
PDRFs will be highly motivated to work as part of an interdisciplinary research team, grow their research expertise, engage policymakers and generate peer-reviewed publications in a critically important research area. Additionally, there is the opportunity to join the team working on climate change impacts and adaptation in Africa for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report, due in 2021.
PDRF project research is flexible within three broad objectives:
Forecasting the spatial and temporal dynamics of biodiversity disruption from climate change at the species and/or community level;
using existing trait, phylogenetic and species range databases to map relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services across Africa and predict how these might change due to climate change;
predicting the potential for evolution to rescue species from climate change.
These PDRFs are an excellent opportunity for those who want to push forward the frontiers in biodiversity, ecological and evolutionary analyses at large spatial scales, considering climate change. Research can exploit existing global or South African biodiversity data on vertebrates or plants, or both, including high-resolution species range maps, repeat surveys of bird species, phylogenetic data and comprehensive trait datasets. Candidates will be encouraged to develop and pursue their own work within the broad goals of the research team.
The ultimate goal of the broader project is to interlink the three objectives listed above to provide improved forecasting to decision-makers of climate change risks to the multiple dimensions of biodiversity underpinning ecosystem services across Africa.
The PDRFs will be advised by Dr Christopher Trisos, Dr Mark New and Dr Res Altwegg, and will have joint affiliation with ACDI and the Centre for Statistics in Ecology, the Environment and Conservation. PDRFs will be given the necessary resources for their work: desk and office space, IT and communication infrastructure and may participate in Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) and other supportive training at UCT for early career researchers.
Qualifications, experience and skill criteria:
A PhD, awarded within the previous five years, related to the topic of biodiversity, climate change, evolutionary ecology, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation (specifically ecosystem based adaptation / ecological infrastructure).
Demonstrated ability to produce peer-reviewed research articles.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
Desire and ability to work in an interdisciplinary research team setting.
Demonstrated ability to code in R and/or Python, including analysis of biodiversity, climate or other geospatial datasets.
Phylogenetic analysis, species distribution modelling, machine learning.
Interest and experience in engagement with policymakers.
Interest in public communication of science.
Experience working in remote collaborations using GitHub and RStudio.
Experience working with climate data analysis software such as CDO for spatial and temporal analysis of climate data.
Value and tenure:
The value of the fellowship is ZAR 250,000-300,000 per year for 2 years.
Application for tax exemption will be made by the University.
Conditions of award:
Applicants may not previously have held a full-time permanent academic post.
No benefits or allowances are included in the Fellowship, but the fellowship stipend is tax free.
The successful applicant will be required to register as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cape Town and will be expected to commence the required research at a mutually agreed date that is no later than 1 October 2019.
The successful applicant will be required to comply with the university's approved policies, procedures and practices for the postdoctoral sector.
Applicants should submit:
An application letter no longer than 2 pages that includes a description of research interests, research expertise, and suggestion for how they can work towards one or more of the broad project objectives;
a CV including a publication list;
copies of academic transcripts and/or certificates;
an example of written work;
email addresses of two references who have been directly involved in their PhD and/or previous postdoctoral research.
Only eligible and complete applications will be considered for selection.
Eligible and complete applications will be considered by the ACDI and we will communicate with short-listed applicants. If you have not heard within two months of the deadline, please assume your application has been unsuccessful
Interviews will take place during late June and early July 2019 and the successful candidate is expected to start as soon as possible thereafter.
Applications received before 14 June 2019 are guaranteed to be considered. Applications received thereafter may be considered if the position has not been filled.
The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications. The University of Cape Town also reserves the right to change the conditions of the award or to make no awards at all.