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Research Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Research Fellowships for Senior Academics

Rhodes provides an opportunity for the appointment of honorary researchers such as Research Associates and Visiting Professors which are designed to encourage colleagues from other institutions both locally and internationally to collaborate with Rhodes staff and in some cases to be co-supervisors of Master and PhD theses. These appointments are made as 3-year contracts through a process of nomination to the Academic and Staffing Committee which takes into consideration the departmental motivation and candidates CV in terms of their suitability for such an appointment. In addition, endowments provide funding for the appointment of a number of prestigious senior research fellowships on an annual basis. This programme of honorary and senior fellowship appointments has been a very successful means of stimulating collaboration with colleagues at research councils, industry and business both nationally and internationally and has been a stimulus to enhancing research outputs in many departments.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Postdoctoral Research Fellows are individuals who undertake research and gain professional experience for a future academic career, under the supervision and mentorship of an academic host within the university. The purpose of a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for research which supports further academic and professional development.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship opportunities are provided by several different sources, i.e. NRF (National Research Foundation), MRC (Medical Research Commission), Claude Leon Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation and Rhodes University (internally funded). The Fellowships are awarded to individuals within five years of their having obtained a doctoral degree.

Following a clarification from the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the Higher Education South Africa (HESA), new guidelines and practices need to be adhered to by all universities regarding the management of Postdoctoral Research Fellows. These guidelines will be effective with any new Postdoctoral Fellow appointee, at any university in South Africa.

Rhodes University Postdoctoral Research Fellowships 2023

The University Council has established several Rhodes University Postdoctoral Research Fellowships across all faculties which may be awarded for one year with the possibility of renewal.

Closing date: 18 August 2023

2024 RU Postdoctoral Application Form

The Fellowships foster existing research and scholarly or creative activities within Rhodes University departments and institutes. Ideally, a Fellow's proposed work will closely complement existing programs in the host department.

  • Although there is no age restriction, potential Fellows must hold a doctoral degree, awarded within the last five years, preferably from an institution other than Rhodes University, and recognized as appropriate to the discipline for which the Fellowship is sought. Successful candidates must be of exceptional merit as evidenced by the quality and corpus of publications or other recognized forms of achievement relevant to the Fellow's discipline. The Fellowship will be awarded strictly on merit.
  • An applicant who has not completed their PhD when the Fellowship is offered must have submitted the PhD thesis by the end of 2023. In these circumstances, the Research Office will require written assurance from the applicant's supervisor that there is a reasonable expectation that the doctoral degree will be completed.
  •  Applications should be made through Heads of Departments or Directors of Research Institutes.

Value of the Fellowship

Each Fellowship is a package of R180 000 per annum with an additional allocation of a maximum of R20 000 to support the presentation of papers at formal conferences. The Fellowship cannot be held concurrently with any supplementary funding.

Conditions of Award

The University expects all publications, creative works, and other academic products of the Fellowship will bear appropriate acknowledgment with full affiliation to Rhodes University. The University reserves the right to co-ownership of inventions and patents directly emanating from research conducted under the sponsorship of the Fellowship.

The University reserves the right to request the refund of any fellowship paid to the Fellow should the Fellow terminate their contract before its completion.

Award of the Fellowship

Applications for the Fellowships should be made through the potential host department and then directed to the Research Office (research-admin@ru.ac.za). Awards will be determined by a committee comprising the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Development (Chair), the Director: Research Office, and Faculty Deans.

The committee is not bound to award any or all of the Fellowships in one year.



Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) Division Postdoctoral (Engaged) Research Fellowship Community Engagement is an emerging discipline in South Africa. It is much less known than the other two core functions of higher education: teaching and research. The Rhodes University Community Engagement division aims to contribute towards knowledge generation and dissemination in higher education community engagement for the South African context. RUCE invites applications from postdoctoral researchers with a keen interest in contextually relevant engaged research that has a transformational impact at both local and national levels. The applicant should be a curious, caring, ethical, and eager scholar committed to excellence in engaged research and continuous learning to influence transformational knowledge generation.

The successful candidate will:
i) be part of a dynamic team that is committed to making a positive impact in society through the following forms of community engagement: engaged research; engaged teaching and learning; engaged citizenry and social innovation, and social entrepreneurship;
ii) have the opportunity to collaborate with local communities to jointly plan, develop and implement research projects and initiatives that address community issues and interests
iii) collaborate with academics from various departments and disciplines to develop initiatives that promote engaged research and engaged teaching and learning in the university
iv) will be required to produce at least two publications during their Fellowship.

Fellowship Eligibility
i) The ideal candidate for this position should have a PhD in a relevant field
ii) A strong publication record and excellent written and verbal communication skills
iii) Demonstrable knowledge of participatory research methods
v) Commitment to community engagement and must work effectively in a team environment
vi) Selected candidate must be able to take up the Fellowship full-time and be based in Makhanda or surrounding areas
vii) Be a South African citizen or permanent resident in South Africa. Value of the Fellowship and Application Process

Each Fellowship is a package of R180 000 per annum with an additional allocation of R20 000 to support the presentation of papers at formal conferences. The Fellowship
cannot be held concurrently with any supplementary funding.

Closing date: 31 March 2023

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit the following
to Dr. Rene Oosthuizen: r.oosthuizen@ru.ac.za
i) A cover letter of not more than three pages describing
 your interest in research areas in community engagement

 your motivations, experience, previous research in the field of community engagement\community development or related fields
 how your previous research experience will contribute to community engagement generally and the various forms of community engagement mentioned above
 the letter must give a sense of who you are and why you are interested in this critical postdoctoral scholarship
ii) A complete CV
iii) A book chapter or an article published in a peer-reviewed journal as a single author, lead author, or part of a group of authors. A forthcoming publication is also acceptable
iv) names of three references

Rhodes University is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community and is an equal-opportunity employer.


Last Modified: Mon, 17 Jul 2023 12:35:08 SAST