2019 Post-doctoral Fellowship at Stellenbosch University

By | September 3, 2019

2019 Post-doctoral Fellowship at Stellenbosch University

Post-doctoral Fellowship: Modelling of Wood Formation in Eucalypts

Location: South Africa and Western Cape
Sector: Forestry
Contract Type: Contract


The research project

The incumbent will lead the development of a system of interconnected models, at multiple scales, of plant physiology, xylogenesis and wood anatomy in Eucalyptus spp. within the “EucXylo” Research Chair (www.blogs.sun.ac.za/eucxylo/).  This is a new program funded by the Hans Merensky Foundation (HMF), based at the Department of Forest & Wood Science at Stellenbosch University.  The program primarily aims to understand processes of wood formation (xylogenesis) in the important genus Eucalyptus, by taking a systems approach combined with bioinformatics, but linked to lab- and field-based research findings.  The Chair will be built on strong collaborations between academic departments from multiple faculties, and with international partners.

As the program is very new, a unique opportunity exists for the incumbent to have a significant role in shaping the direction of the research.  The incumbent will assist with the supervision of MSc and PhD students doing specific, focused modelling/lab-based work dealing with particular aspects/questions relating to the broader model development.  The incumbent will integrate student research findings, as well as results from other, independent research, into the evolving simulation framework.  The position will likely involve some international travel.

About Stellenbosch University and The Department of Forest & Wood Science

Stellenbosch University (SU), which celebrated its centenary in 2018, is widely acknowledged as one of Africa’s premier tertiary education and research institutions (visit www.sun.ac.za for more information).  Located in the historic tourist town of Stellenbosch, staff and students at the University enjoy a relaxed and pleasant lifestyle, close to mountains and sea.  The Department of Forest & Wood Science (DFWS) in the Faculty of Agrisciences at SU, the only one of its kind in South Africa, has had a long history with the University.  Attracting students from around the world, and with strong international linkages and collaborations, the DFWS prides itself on research excellence with a diverse, friendly culture.

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Requirements and qualifications

  • A PhD degree in an appropriate field, including (but not limited to) xylogenesis or plant physiology with appropriate lab/field experience;
  • Ability to program in Python, Java and/or R (or other, similar environments) and to formulate predictive algorithms from scientific findings;
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English are essential, with at least two strong papers already published in the scientific literature;
  • Ability to function in a multicultural and multilingual environment, to work independently and to take initiative;
  • Doctoral degree completed maximum five years before the commencement date.


  • Experience and skills in efficient data management, preferably using relational databases such as MySQL, or using other solutions;
  • An existing and developing professional network;
  • Experience in the development of online applications.

Contract duration and commencement

The research stipend is granted for a two-year period (assessable at the end of the first year, depending on progress).  The stipend is R 330,000 per annum.  Please note that post-doctoral fellows are not appointed as employees in South Africa and their fellowships are awarded tax free, but they are not eligible for standard employee benefits.  For more information about post-doctoral fellowships at Stellenbosch visit www.sun.ac.za/english/research-innovation/Research-Development/postdocs. This position is based at Stellenbosch campus.

Commencement: 1 January 2020 (negotiable)

Application procedure

Application closing date: 30 September 2019

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Please send by email to Dr. David Drew (drew@sun.ac.za) the following documents before the closing date:

  1. A brief cover letter providing motivation for your application;
  2. A brief essay in which you describe your ideas about trends/opportunities in research in xylogenesis and wood formation modelling, and how these ideas would pertain to research in Eucalyptus;
  3. Current, comprehensive CV with full publication list;
  4. Copies of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree certificates and grades obtained;
  5. Contact details of two referees AND please request these referees to forward confidential reports by the closing date to the same address.

Any questions about the position can be addressed to Dr. Drew at the same email address.

Applicants who have not received a response within 14 days of the closing date, please accept that your application has not been successful.  Short-listed applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview.  These candidates may be requested to provide additional information/submissions, and to undergo certain biometric/other tests.