Post-doctoral fellowship available for 2023

Biodiversity Informatics: Data demonstrating Use and Impact

SANBI-GBIF works with a network of partners to mobilise primary biodiversity data, such as species, specimens, observations, molecular and multimedia records, making them available on the internet to support research, assessment, monitoring, conservation and decision-making. One of the key strategic objectives of the SANBI-GBIF Node is to grow and raise awareness of the field biodiversity informatics, and to develop the capacity and skills base of biodiversity informatics professionals and practitioners in the country in the mobilisation, analysis, use and publication of data.

The SANBI-GBIF Node is making a Postdoctoral fellowship available to contribute towards the growing field of biodiversity informatics.

Requirements: The Post-doctoral fellowship is open to anyone who has completed their PhD in the last five years. Candidates must be pro-active, enthusiastic, and interested in doing excellent research that can make a difference and contributes to the work of the SANBI-GBIF Node and its partners, in developing biodiversity informatics as a field of science. SANBI-GBIF will favour projects that consider the entire value chain of data from primary biodiversity information production to dissemination and application of knowledge to benefit society. Aspects of use and impact of biodiversity data has become increasingly important, to show its relevance for science and policy impact. SANBI-GBIF seeks proposals that demonstrates the value and impact of biodiversity data, which aligns to the objectives of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Decadal Plan. Candidates must be in possession of a valid driver’s licence.

Fellowship details • Two years, commencing 1 June 2023 (latest), with a fellowship valued at R220,000 per annum. • Payment will be made to the host institution. • The grant does not include running costs, and it is the responsibility of the host institution/ university to provide adequate running costs and other resources to enable the postdoctoral fellow to conduct his/her research for the entire period of the fellowship.

Eligibility criteria: • Applicants must have been awarded their PhD in the last five years.
• Applicants must have completed a PhD in the following fields: Botany/Zoology/Natural Science or data driven sciences. • Applicants may not hold full-time salaried employment during the tenure of the award. • Recipients may not hold other personal fellowships/scholarships or grants that exceed R50,000 at the same time as the SANBI-GBIF postdoctoral grant.

Expectations from SANBI-GBIF: • Recipients will be based at any South African public research institution, including Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Science Councils and National Research Facilities, recognised by the National Research Foundation (NRF), and will also spend some time at SANBI. • Applicants interested in investigating the use and impact of foundational biodiversity information, and associated value chains are invited to apply for this grant. • Details of the research outline of the fellowship must be agreed with the intended supervisor/host before applying. • Recipients will be expected to sign a tripartite agreement with SANBI-GBIF and the host institution. • Recipients will be expected to contribute to capacity development by assisting with postgraduate students and interns’ supervision if possible and passing on skills to host institution staff. The recipient will also be requested to support capacity development efforts at SANBI. • Should the agreement signed not be complied with, then SANBI reserves the right to withdraw the scholarship. • SANBI-GBIF will monitor performance on a six-month basis.

Application requirements: To apply, please complete the attached application cover sheet and submit the form with the required documents listed below to and with “SANBI GBIF Node Postdoc Fellowship” in the subject line. Please name each document clearly. Files must be <10MB. Applications close at 18:00 on 21 April 2023

Please submit the following documents: • Full Curriculum Vitae (CV), clearly indicating your study field, qualifications and marks achieved, list of research publications, conference presentations, mentoring and teaching history, employment history, awards and achievements, etc.;
• Full transcripts of academic records; • Certified copy of PhD degree certificate; • A proposal for the research that will be carried out, highlighting the research objectives, research questions and research methodology, its relevance to the objectives of the SANBI-GBIF Node, details of potential supervisor, and a clear timeframe indicating particular research outputs with anticipated start and end dates (maximum of 3 pages); • Signed letter of acceptance from the intended supervisor and/or host institution detailing financial support for the candidate; • Three academic reference letters; • Certified copy of South African identity document / permanent resident;

Note that these documents will be used exclusively for the evaluation of applications and verification of eligibility and will not be distributed or used for any other purpose.

The fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account the following criteria:

1. Relevance of PhD / project study to the SANBI-GBIF objectives 30
2. Previous performance of applicant (peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, teaching, mentoring) 20
3. Quality of research proposal (presentation, clear aim, objectives, activities and timeframes, innovation 30
4. Proposed institution where postdoctoral fellow would be hosted – potential to contribute to capacity development and transformation 20

Scoring scale: Excellent: 4; Above average: 3; Average: 2; Below average: 1

Note: Preference will be given to applicants whose proposals meet the required standard in terms of quality and strategic importance, and South African citizens and permanent residents who are from designated groups (viz. black (African, Indian, Coloured), female and persons with disabilities).

Contact person: Fatima Parker-Allie at