Doctoral Scholarships

The Human Economy Research Programme at the University of Pretoria invites applications for two doctoral scholarships commencing as soon as possible.

The successful applicants will undertake research towards a doctoral degree contributing to one or other of the programme’s current focus areas – ‘Digital Finance: innovations and Implications’ and ‘Agrarian Reform, Markets and Food Distribution’.  Given the programme’s location, the emphasis is on researching these themes in Africa, but there is also scope for comparative analysis drawing on other parts of the global South.

The programme, which started in 2011, has hosted more than a dozen doctoral students to date, most drawn from the African continent.  The programme is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on Humanities disciplines such as Anthropology, Sociology and History, and with valuable contributions from Economics, Development Studies and Geography.

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 at

The programme is housed in the University of Pretoria’s Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, which has excellent facilities.  The value of the scholarships is highly competitive, 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.

The scholarships will be awarded for three years of full-time study.  Applicants must hold a postgraduate degree (typically a Master’s degree) in a relevant discipline.

Applicants should submit a full CV, and a preliminary statement of their proposed research, showing how it will contribute to one of the research themes indicated above.

The closing date for applications is 15 March 2019.

 Please contact Professor John Sharp ([email protected]) and Dr Marc Wegerif ([email protected]) for further information and to submit applications.


- Author John Sharp
Published by Kirsty Nepomuceno

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