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Closing date: 31 October 2019


The Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) is a Johannesburg-based organisation that studies the effectiveness of state institutions in the discharge of their mandates. PARI is affiliated to Wits University and to the University of Cape Town and is a leading research institute thinking about the state in South Africa and the global South. Using a variety of social science research methodologies, it works inside state institutions to understand where power lies in these institutions and how it is exercised, in order to develop recommendations for improved governance, accountability and institutional performance. It works with change agents in state institutions and with civil society partners to advocate for a more effective state.

Job purpose: PARI is looking for a Senior Researcher to work on our local government programme. The job will include the following responsibilities:

  • Conceptualising new research projects, including the preparation of research proposals and budgets, and detailed workplans for executing projects
  • Managing projects as project lead
  • Working on projects as a researcher
  • Preparing research publications across a variety of platforms, including academic papers, Pari publications and articles in the media
  • Disseminating research findings in the media, including radio and television
  • Building and maintaining relationships with key funders and stakeholders


The incumbent should have:

  • A PhD in Humanities/Social Sciences/Development Studies
  • 5 years of experience in undertaking research projects independently, especially bigger projects
  • 2 years of experience in a local government research context
  • Proven track record of qualitative research
  • Some familiarity with ethnographic type research
  • 2-3 years of work experience in the development sector/NGO sector
  • Experience in public sector research is an advantage
  • Experience in publishing in academic publications


In addition, the incumbent should have:

  • In depth knowledge of the regulatory environment within which local government operates, including municipal finance
  • Good understanding of the institutional and political challenges within local government
  • Ability to conceptualise and produce project plans
  • Monitor budget expenditure
  • Strong research skills (qualitative)
  • Ability to lead a team of researchers from inception to final handover of the project
  • Ability to engage with funders, including the preparation of proposals, report writing and presentation of findings.
  • Ability to build and manage relationships with institutions such as SALGA, CoGTA, etc.
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills
  • Good communication (including public speaking), interpersonal and listening skills
  • Good understanding of the socio-political context
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary context
  • Ability to use information and communication technology as a tool and resource
  • Ability to work in uncertain political contexts
  • Strong MS-Office computer skills including data capture


Other requirements:

  • Must be able to supervise students in the Organisational and Institutional Studies programme (Wits University).
  • Ability and willingness to travel both locally and internationally as required
  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • Work beyond official working times
  • Driver’s license is essential


Please submit a full CV, with references to Melissa Asia at Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.