Early Stage Researcher in Informal Sectors and Economic Security: Gendered Urban Everyday Life in African Borderlands University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science United Kingdom

Early Stage Researcher (Informal Sectors and Economic Security: Gendered Urban Everyday Life in African Borderlands)

Vacancy Ref: : 042464

Closing Date : 15-Mar-2018

Contact Person : Professor Paul Nugent

Contact Number : +44 (0) 131 650 3879

Contact Email : paul.nugent@ed.ac.uk

The ANTHUSIA consortium is now recruiting 15 outstanding Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) for the interdisciplinary Anthropology of Human Security in Africa Innovative Training Network (ANTHUSIA) funded by the European Commission. One of these positions focuses on ‘Informal Sectors and Economic Security in Africa' and is available in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.


You will conduct research on the interface between informality and economic security, with a focus on the gendered nature of livelihoods in border areas that are simultaneously urban. The research may take place in the Great Lakes region or West Africa depending on the expertise and interests of the successful candidate.


You will follow the ANTHUSIA training programme including annual summer schools, conduct 12 months of fieldwork in Africa, including 2-3 months of secondment to a non-academic partner organization, and will spend 6 months at Aarhus University.


You will be registered as a PhD student in the School of Social and Political Science, and will submit a PhD thesis at the end of the project. No tuition fees will be charged.


This full time (35 hours) fixed term post is available from 3 September 2018 for 3 years. You should hold a Masters with at least 65% average, as well as an Undergraduate degree, in social anthropology or a related discipline. You must meet PhD admission and EU mobility requirements.


Salary: ARC £27,053 per annum plus £4867 mobility allowance.


Closing date: 5pm (GMT) 15th March 2018.


1. Job Details


Job title: Early Stage Researcher (Informal Sectors and Economic Security in Africa)


School: School of Social and Political Science


Unit: Centre of African Studies


Line manager: Professor Paul Nugent


2. Job Purpose


You will contribute to the ANTHUSIA project and study for a PhD degree in the School of Social and Political Science. ANTHUSIA is a multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa run by a consortium of four universities in Aarhus (Denmark), Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Leuven (Belgium) and Oslo (Norway). It has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 764546 and will train 15 Early Stage Researchers.


This project aims, firstly, to probe the gendered nature of livelihoods in border areas that are simultaneously urban: some may be concerned with production (e.g. alcohol), others with consumption (work in drinking bars, prostitution) and distribution (cross-border trade and vending) and some with activities that straddle these categories. The thesis will, secondly, probe the concept of formality and consider alternative framings that might better depict the reality of urban everyday life. The thesis, which may focus on the Great Lakes or West Africa, will contribute to the sub-fields of urban, border and gender studies.


The ANTHUSIA research network offers an academically stimulating and interdisciplinary working environment, an innovative training programme that allows ESRs to obtain specialist knowledge on a specific research topic as well as transferable skills that can be employed in non-academic institutions. The ANTHUSIA PhD project is a 3-year programme. It includes one year of fieldwork in Africa, with a 2-3 month period of secondment to a non-academic partner organisation, annual summer/winter schools and a 6 months stay with the secondary university, Aarhus University. ANTHUSIA also offers an attractive salary, the opportunity of favourable pension benefits, as well as funding for research, travel, conference participation and dissemination, books and equipment.


3. Main Responsibilities (Approx % of time)

Undertake research, including 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Africa, on the gendered nature of livelihoods in border areas that are simultaneously urban: some may be concerned with production (e.g. alcohol), others with consumption (work in drinking bars, prostitution) and distribution (cross-border trade and vending) and some with activities that straddle these categories. The thesis will, secondly, probe the concept of formality and consider alternative framings that might better depict the reality of urban everyday life. This will entail independent research on the informal sector on the Great Lakes region or West Africa contributing to the sub-fields of urban, border and gender studies. Responsibility for regular progress reporting and keeping the line manager up-to-date with progress. Write up the results of the research as a PhD thesis, and meet all mandatory training events and milestones related to being an Early Stage Researcher in the ANTHUSIA programme and a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. (55%)

Participate in and contribute to the ANTHUSIA training programme as agreed with the line manager, including annual summer schools and workshops. (10%)

Dissemination of research findings through policy briefs, blog posts, social and visual media, and at least one academic peer-reviewed article or book chapter. (20%)

To select a non-academic partner organisation and undertake a 2-3 month secondment there and one 6 month stay at the secondary university (Aarhus University). (15%)


4. Planning and Organising

Work with the line manager to define and plan a programme of relevant research work and then to produce a PhD thesis and other publishable results within appropriate timescales.
Work independently to plan the schedule of tasks to ensure that work of the project progresses according to agreed overall timetable.
Organise own time so that different aspects of the project can proceed in parallel giving due consideration to the needs of other members of the team.
Be proactive in interacting with project partners to share data and ideas.
Take a leadership role in regular project meetings to report and review progress.
Determine the aims, objectives and deadlines for short to medium term work plan, in discussion with the Line Manager (particularly for medium term planning).
Contribute to long-term strategic planning and development of activities, in discussion with the Line Manager and other researchers.


5. Problem Solving

Be resourceful in overcoming problems encountered in the development of new approaches and the implementation of existing techniques in the normal course of the research.
Define the methodology to solve the problems in the project.


6. Decision Making

The post-holder should be able to organise his/her work schedule to ensure satisfactory progress and to meet the demands (where realistic) of other project partners, etc. Play an important role as a member of the team in making daily decisions about their own plan of work and the allocation of time and resources.
Manage day-to-day work load, making independent decisions about immediate priorities to meet short and medium term targets that have been agreed with Line Manager.


7. Key Contacts/Relationships

Work collaboratively with non-academic and academic partners, PhD students from the other consortium members and related groups and researchers from other universities and contribute to interactions between immediate group and broader communities working in the field of Humanitarian Interventions and Political Security in Africa.


8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


An internationally recognised Master’s degree in anthropology or a related social science/humanities discipline, received no later than 31 August 2018, with at least 65% average, as well as an Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline;

You may be required to provide proof of English proficiency, according to the Graduate Schools criteria for the PhD in African Studies. See here for more information: www.sps.ed.ac.uk/gradschool/prospective/application_requirements


Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks are a mobility scheme. Researchers are required to undertake international mobility when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account;

Being able to provide proof of meeting EU Early Stage Researcher requirements. ESRs are those who are, at the time of recruitment, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of a research career, and who do not hold a PhD. The last Master’s degree can be more than 4 years old.

Ability to meet the eligibility criteria for admission to the PhD programme at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh;

Knowledge and understanding required for detailed analysis of governance and human security in West Africa or Great Lakes region;

Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships to work collaboratively with researchers from different disciplines;

Capable of working independently, exercising a high degree of initiative and demonstrating a pro-active and flexible approach to work;

Ability to work under pressure and meet agreed milestones;

Good time-keeping and time-management, with associated effective prioritisation of tasks;

Good communication skills; oral, writing and presentation of data;



African language skills

Relevant experience outside the academy

Experience of knowledge exchange and/or engagement with public bodies and stakeholders and wider publics;

Ability to be adaptive and accepting of new ideas and a willingness to approach new challenges and adjust plans to meet new priorities.


9. Job Context and any other relevant information


ANTHUSIA is a multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa conducted by a consortium of four universities in Aarhus (Denmark), Edinburgh (UK), Leuven (Belgium) and Oslo (Norway). It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement.


The consortium also collaborates with numerous non-academic and academic partner organisations with expertise in a variety of different human security issues in Africa that will contribute to the ESR’s training and the project’s impact and dissemination.


Combining competencies from Anthropology, Human Security, and African Studies, the project aims to foster talent relevant to current challenges and potentials of developing safe societies in Africa. By exploring different areas from a human security perspective, the research will provide insights into problems such as expanding young populations, accelerated urbanization, unequally distributed growth, recurring conflicts, persistent health problems, and refugee insecurity.


ANTHUSIA will recruit 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR), each supervised by two senior researchers from two universities. Each ESR will do one year of empirical research in Africa, including 3-5 months of secondment, participate in PhD courses and disseminate research in a thesis as well as articles, presentations, and policy briefs using visual media. The ESRs will produce a PhD thesis eligible for a joint doctoral degree from the two universities where their supervisors are based.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page [or] via our Vacancy Website [delete as appropriate, use the first sentence when publishing the vacancy on the eRecruitment system]. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.


Applicants are requested to send a 5-page proposal not exceeding 12,000 characters, a CV, a personal statement not exceeding 3,500 characters, and two academic references.




Please refer to the title of the sub-project: ‘Informal Sectors and Economic Security in Africa'. The project description cannot exceed 12.000 characters, including blanks and literature references if any (these do not need to include all the information, just a surname and year of publication). The description should include an explanation of your motivation for applying for this particular project and outline how the specific research project is envisaged.


Please write a maximum of 5 A4 pages of 2400 characters per page (total 12.000 characters) and use the following structure in your proposal:


Research questions/study objectives
Methodology (incl. ethics)
Plan for non-academic placement
Work schedule


In the proposal, you are also encouraged to write how this particular project fits into and will benefit your career plans.
Remember to include a separate reference list with up-to-date literature on the chosen topic (maximum 2 A4 pages).


Curriculum Vitae


The CV describes your personal background, education and career, as well as language skills and relevant personal characteristics and experiences. It includes a summary of academic publications (if any) and any additional information you wish to make known to the evaluators.


In your CV, make sure that the following information is included:


Name, date of birth, address, and contact information (telephone and email). Remember country area code for telephone numbers, e.g. +45 for Denmark.
Your nationality and gender so that we can ensure that the selected ESRs meet the eligibility requirements and the aim of gender equality.
Country of residence: Please list the countries you have resided/will reside in for three years prior to 1 September, 2018, and insert the dates. This is in order to ensure that you fulfill the mobility requirements. You cannot have resided in the country where you want to complete the PhD for more than 12 out of the last 36 months before the recruitment date. Wrong or missing information may cause your proposal to be ineligible.
Language skills: Describe the level of your English skills, written and oral. You must have effective communication skills in order to complete the project. Please note other relevant language skills in your CV, if any. You must document your English proficiency before initiating the program as required by the university.
Do you have any experience with, skills in - or interest in obtaining skills in - visual communication, blog writing and other kinds of communication forms?
As the ANTHUSIA project also values non-academic activities, skills and experiences, please list any such in your CV if you think they may be relevant.


Please review your application before sending it. Make sure that all the requested information is included in the application and CV. If the requirements are not met, the application can be rejected.


By submitting an application the candidate confirms agreement to share their application with the Selection Committee and the ANTHUSIA coordinator. Recruited PhD candidates are set to start their research in September 2018 at the University of Edinburgh.


If interested in more than one position, we encourage candidates to apply for the multiple positions of interest. Multiple applications will not influence the selection chance in any particular project. Please mention on every application all ESR projects to which an application is submitted.


You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.


The closing date is 5pm (GMT) on 15th March 2018.


Eligibility to Work


In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).


To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.


For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website


If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, the University has the authority to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa) in accordance with current UK Visas and Immigration rules.


For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website


However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.


Conditions of Employment


Pension Scheme


This role is grade ARC and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.


For further information please visit our Pensions website.




The role is grade ARC and attracts an annual salary of £27,053 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month and is subject to usual statutory deductions of tax and national insurance.


The ESR will also receive a mobility allowance of £4867 per annum, subject to usual statutory deductions of tax and National Insurance.


If the ESR has dependents you will receive an additional family allowance. Your eligibility for this will be determined at point of recruitment.


The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.


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