Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

The Human Economy Research Programme at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships commencing in 2021. The Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship is an interdisciplinary research Centre at the University that brings together and provides the required intellectual home for senior scholars, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students to conduct scholarly debates across disciplines.
Successful applicants will undertake research on ‘the economic system as it actually exists’ at a range of levels from the local to the global, using the methods characteristic of Humanities disciplines, and reflecting on ways in which the economy could be made to serve human interests – the interests of society as a whole, including those of the majority of the world’s inhabitants who enter it from positions of disadvantage. The project’s current focus is ‘Digital Finance: innovations and Implications’, but applicants with an interest in other topics are welcome to apply. Given the programme’s location, the emphasis is on undertaking research in Africa. The programme, which started in 2011, has hosted more than 20 postdoctoral fellows to date from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The programme is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on Humanities disciplines such as Anthropology, Sociology and History, and valuable contributions from Economics, Geography and Education. Considerable importance is attached to publication of research findings, as well as to their dissemination to a wider audience.
The programme’s first aim is to extend study of the economy beyond mathematical modelling. The point of departure is therefore the importance of making sense of the economic needs, practices, and aspirations of people on the ground in particular places and times. But understanding, and changing, an economy that has gone global cannot rest solely on addressing local particulars. The challenge is to undertake research at various levels that helps to explain why people’s concerns are often distorted and thwarted by the interests of big money and big bureaucracy, what they manage to do for themselves in the face of this, and how they may, conceivably, find common ground in selected instances with elements within these powerful forces, thereby advancing the prospects for a more equitable global economy.
More detail on the Human Economy approach may be found on the programme’s website ( and in the programme’s Human Economy Book Series. More on the Digital Finance theme specifically may be found on
The fellowships carry a competitive stipend, with additional funds available for field research and conference attendance. Successful applicants from beyond South Africa will receive a return airfare from their countries of origin. Fellowships will be awarded for one year in the first instance, with renewal for a second year dependent on progress.
The UP Postdoctoral Fellowships are available to any national or international candidate, with preference given to black South Africans, especially women. Applicants should meet the following conditions:
  • Must have completed a doctorate in any appropriate Humanities discipline such as Anthropology, Sociology, History andDevelopment Studies.
  • Must have attained their doctorate no more than five years prior to their appointment as postdoctoral fellows.
  • Must be a young researcher (generally up to 40 years of age).
  • Evidence of active research and publications in peer-reviewed journals will also be an added advantage.


Your application should include a full Curriculum Vitae, three referees with contact details (one of whom must have been a mentor or supervisor of the doctorate), and a three-page statement of the proposed research (no more than three pages).

The closing date for applications is 31 May 2021.
Please contact Professor John Sharp ([email protected]) for further information.
To submit applications, please contact Kirsty Nepomuceno ([email protected]).
- Author John Sharp

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