ACC Pan African Research College PhD Scholarships

Call for applications for the ACC Pan African Research College PhD Scholarships

Programme Type: NETWORKS


The African Centre for Cities (ACC) was established in 2007 at the University of Cape Town as an urban research institute.

The ACC is based in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, but is interdisciplinary in its scope, drawing expertise on urban issues from across the university.

The mission of the ACC is to “facilitate critical urban research and policy discourses for the promotion of vibrant, democratic and sustainable urban development in the global South”.

The ACC is a partner in the Pan African Research College on Sustainable Cities, launched in 2018.

Funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the college will see researchers in diverse fields share knowledge to better understand the complexities of urban Africa.

The College is made up of senior researchers from five partner universities, namely the University of Ghana, University of Nairobi, the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources (Accra, Ghana), the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Cape Town.

PhD researcher in urban sprawl and land use dynamics in Cape Town

The ACC is seeking to recruit a full-time PhD candidate who will be one of a cohort of 8 PhD candidates and 5 Post-Doctoral fellows based at the 5 partner universities that constitute the Pan African Research College on Sustainable Cities.

One of the ‘wicked problems’ facing Cape Town and other African cities are their inequitable and unsustainable spatial patterns, which are being exacerbated by new formal and informal urban growth.

To help better understand this challenge, the successful candidate will be required to do a PhD on a topic related to the issue of urban sprawl and land use dynamics in Cape Town and the implications of this for households and urban governance.

It is anticipated that this research will contribute towards current academic debates as well as make a meaningful impact on policy and practice concerning the need for appropriate and innovative ways to manage urban land towards greater socio-spatial transformation in African cities.

Funding and supervisory support will be provided to the successful candidate over a period of 3 years, depending on satisfactory progress. The bursary amount is R200,000 per year.

Minimum requirements

  • A Master’s degree in Geography, Urban Studies, Anthropology, Sociology or other related discipline
  • Excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills Proficiency in MS Office software
  • Good qualitative and quantitative research skills.
  • Evidence of academic writing ability.
  • An awareness of actors, challenges and opportunities related to urban sustainability approaches
  • Interest in interdisciplinarity and broad engagement with diverse sectors to co-produce knowledge
  • Familiarity with the use of social media platforms
  • Planning and organising as well as good time-management skills
  • Good verbal and written communication skills


    Applicants are requested to provide a short (not more than 800 words) written piece of their initial thoughts on potential PhD topic on the topic of “Urban Sprawl and Land use Dynamics in Cape Town”.

    Please submit your application, including a CV with names and contact details of 2 referees, to Maryam Waglay, African Centre for Cities via email to or posting/delivering to Maryam Waglay, African Centre for Cities, Room 2.11, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Building, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa 7701. Please clearly state that this is an application for the “ACC Pan African Research College PhD Scholarship”.

    Selection Process

    Eligible and complete applications will be considered by the African Centre for Cities as well as a committee consisting of researchers from the 5 partner universities.


    For more information on this position, please contact Mercy Brown-Luthango at Please note that correspondence will only be entered into with shortlisted candidates.

    The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications as well as the right to change the conditions of award or to make no awards at all.

    Closing Date: midday on 6 August 2018

    For more information and application details, see; ACC Pan African Research College PhD Scholarships

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