Start main page content

Postdoctoral Fellows

The University of the Witwatersrand is a highly ranked research intensive university working across a wide range of knowledge fields.

It has five faculties that focus on the Humanities (including the Social Sciences); Commerce, Law and Management; Engineering and the Built Environment; Health Sciences and Science. Research intensity comes from a cross cutting focus on research activities. Consequently, the University encourages postdoctoral research and therefore offers a large number of Postdoctoral Fellowships annually. Currently, Wits is implementing a plan to grow its research intensity and part of this plan is to grow the number of Postdoctoral Fellows.

Besides boosting the research output of the University the purpose of a Postdoctoral Fellowship is to assist with the professional development of recent PhD graduates preparing them for an academic career.  To some extent it can be considered as a two year academic ‘apprenticeship’ or internship.  While undertaking the internship the Postdoctoral Fellow will undertake independent research as well as participate in the academic activities of the hosting School.

For more information about the expectations the University has of you and the expectations you as the postdoc may have please read our Postdoc Handbook.

Taking up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wits

Should you take up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wits you could expect to:

  • Develop research independence under the guidance of an academic mentor (or host);
  • Produce research outputs and so strengthen your CV;
  • Assist with some postgraduate student supervision.

On the other hand, the University has specific expectations of its Postdoctoral Fellows. Although these expectations will vary from place to place in the University, the common ones include:

  • An average peer-reviewed research output[1] of at least two publications per annum during your stay. It is understood that most of the publications will not arise in year one. This implies that year two of your Fellowship should see four or more publications.
  • Furthermore, these outputs should be published internationally. Ideally, the research should be published in journals that are found in the ISI index of journals. If there is a particular reason why it is more appropriate to publish the work in local journals, then they should be ‘accredited journals’. 
  • A contribution to the research ethos of the School or Institute in which you are based. This contribution should come in the form of willing participation in staff meetings, debates about research, research seminars (especially those involving postgraduate students), etc. It is important that you contribute to the academic programme by putting forward your ideas and thinking.
  • A contribution to the operation of a research laboratory (where appropriate). This contribution may involve calibrating instruments, advising postgraduate students on operating conditions, giving instrument training, commissioning preventative maintenance, etc.
  • On occasions going beyond the normal expectations of a Postdoctoral Fellow (within reason) to make a contribution towards the University and its goal to become an internationally acclaimed research intensive university.
[1] Research output is used in its broadest sense and recognises creative outputs that meet agreed criteria. However, typically the outputs include journal articles, peer-reviewed conference proceedings, chapters in peer-reviewed books and even peer-reviewed books.