Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhD Fellow - Changing Land Use over the Holocene: southern Africa

University of Glassgow
July 12, 2024
Offerd Salary:£40,000 - £50,000
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed term for 3 yea
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhD Fellow - Changing Land Use over the Holocene: southern Africa

Job Purpose

This UKRI-funded PhD fellowship is part of the European Commission funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Doctoral Network (DN) (101120560) within the project “Dryland Agriculture and Land Use; Past, Present and Future Resilience (AGRI-DRY)”. https: //

The network aims to develop an interdisciplinary approach to traditional crop cultivation through the recognition of the complementary value of cultural heritage and sustainable living. Human cultural development is inextricably linked with the development of agriculture, and the key role of traditional knowledge of indigenous people and local communities for ecosystem management and sustainable use of resources is now recognized, in the light of climate change. The international network project AGRI-DRY will train 10 doctoral candidates in new interdisciplinary approaches to examine three interlinked research questions: (i) how and why have agricultural systems emerged; (ii) what were the impacts of these systems; (iii) what can be learnt from these ancient and traditional agricultural systems. Our emphasis is on drylands, using the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa and the Sahara, and Southern Africa as our main geographic focus.

The candidate (DC4) will work on the topic “ Changing Land Use over the Holocene: southern Africa”.

AGRI-DRY aims to bring about a significant reorientation of European and African doctoral training in traditional agriculture. The change will involve both substance and approach. The substance is the strong focus on rigorous techniques for interdisciplinary research. The approach is the emphasis on both research and applicative work, through the participation of both academic and advocacy and policy-making institutions. AGRI-DRY represents a unique opportunity for young researchers to enjoy a wide array of training opportunities that will be competitive with the best programmes offered outside Europe.

As the project focuses on training, there is an expectation that the candidate will submit a PhD in the field relevant to the project and publish the results in journals of good impact within 3 years. The candidate is also expected to attend and contribute to the training workshops, conferences and secondments as specified in the project programme.

We draw attention to the special mobility conditions for Marie Skłodowska- Curie Actions Doctoral Networks posts, which may be found at the bottom of this advert. Please note that applicants must register for a PhD and applicants should not already be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment.

Doctoral Project Details

Using the Land-Use classification system and methods developed by network beneficiaries and associated partners (Morrison et al. 2020), the candidate will examine and summarise spatially and temporally broad scale patterns of land use change for selected time slices from 8000 BCE to 1500 CE over southern Africa. Data will be collated from published/unpublished excavation reports and predictive model algorithms. Land usage for each period will be quantified using GIS, Kernel Density Approaches (KDE) and expert knowledge. Results will be compared with modelled land cover reconstructions (HYDE, ArchaeoGLOBE) and carbon loss from historical land use change quantified; implications for climate change in the past will be evaluated. Deliverables: (i) an assessment of prehistorical and historical land use change over time and comparison with HYDE for southern Africa; (ii) estimate of CO2 loss from prehistoric & historic land use change for southern Africa.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

1. To take personal leadership of developing a land use framework for southern Africa through the collation of dated and undated archaeological sites across space/time using existing databases, published information & create new data using remote sensed mapping techniques

2. To develop a though understanding of land use change over the Holocene for the study region and quantify land transformed by agriculture and other land uses, alongside per capita land use values.

3. To compare archaeological results with modelled land use data for the Holocene and calculate loss of CO2 from land usage over time.

4. To keep up-to-date with the state-of-the-art in the research topic as required by the over-arching requirements of the project.

5. To contribute to research papers, present reports at group meetings, and give internal seminars, as well as talks and posters at national and international meetings in order to maintain University recognition and enhance the research profile of the group.

6. Develop a detailed research plan for the proposed project with your supervisor and maintain progress towards its achievement, and conduct assigned research to a high ethical standard

7. Document research output, including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining appropriate records and databases.

8. Collaborate with colleagues across the research group and wider network.

9. Keep up to date with current knowledge, research literature and recent advances in the field/discipline.

10. To train in areas relevant to the Marie Curie Research Programme.

11. To contribute to University research-related activities and research- related administration.

12. Engage in personal, professional and career development to enhance both specialist and transferrable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory and career plan

13. Undertake any other duties of equivalent standing as assigned by the Head of School and/or PI.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience



A1 Either: (i) Good (equivalent to first class or upper second) BA or BSc or equivalent undergraduate degree in relevant area of Archaeology or a cognate discipline where Remote sensing, land-use modelling and Environmental Change was a major topic. Or (ii) Postgraduate Masters degree in a relevant subject, awarded or soon to be awarded

A2 Up to date knowledge of Archaeology, practical and theoretical


B1 Masters in relevant subject

B2 Practical and Theoretical knowledge of remote sensing and GIS at undergraduate level or above

B3 Practical and theoretical knowledge in land use modelling

B4 Experience of analysis of chronological and geospatial data and presentation of results



C1 Excellent interpersonal skills to allow working as part of a team

C2 Strong writing and presenting skills

C3 Ability to plan, design and develop a research programme

C4 IT and data analysis/interpretation skills as appropriate

C5 Self-motivation, initiative and independent thought/working

C6 An aptitude for geospatial and archaeological field work and an ability to demonstrate some relevant research experience


D1 Appropriate workload/time/project/management skills

D2 Problem solving skills including a flexible and pragmatic approach

D3 Some experience of programming (e.g. R or Python)

D4 Driving license



E1 Experience of scientific writing

E2 Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner

E3 Experience of independent fieldwork


F1 At least one year of relevant research experience

F2 Experience of independent fieldwork in remote areas

Additional Information:

Network members include: University of Glasgow (UK), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), Università del Salento (Italy), Aarhus Universitet (Denmark), University of Botswana (Botswana), University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg (South Africa).

Associated partners: University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Pennsylvania (US), Institut Català d'Arqueologia Clàssica (Spain), North- West University (South Africa), Climate Heritage Network (France), The Botswana Society (Botswana).

Special Conditions for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Actions, Doctoral Networks posts

Applicants can be of any nationality and must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary, i.e. the UK, for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date.

Applicants must be pre-PhD candidates, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in a doctoral programme at the University of Glasgow. The candidate will be supervised by Prof Nicki Whitehouse, Dr James O'Driscoll at the University of Glasgow, Dr Alejo Ordonez (University of Aarhus) and Prof Marco Madella (University of Pomepu Fabra), with placements at the University of Boswana and ICAC, the Catalan Inst. of Classical Archaeology. The researcher will work closely with another Doctoral candidate, based at the University of Pompeu Fabra, who will focus on the Mediterranean and North Africa, using similar approaches.

For informal enquiries please contact the primary supervisor, Prof Nicki Whitehouse, [email protected], or other members of the supervisory team, Dr James O'Driscoll, [email protected], Dr Alejo Ordonez (University of Aarhus) [email protected], or Prof Marco Madella (University of Pomepu Fabra), [email protected].

All candidates are advised to visit the European Commission website to obtain further details of the eligibility requirements for Marie Curie initiatives. See particularly page 9 in the ‘Horizon Europe Programme, Guide for Applicants, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Doctoral Networks (DN)' document to assess your criteria before making an application. https: //

How to apply

Please upload a CV and cover letter where you set out how you meet the essential and desirable criteria for the post.

In addition, please also upload a writing sample of your previous work of no more than 5000 words (for example, a chapter from a dissertation or a project you have written up), alongside a 1500 word proposal outlining how you would tackle the project.

Please upload all documents with your application by 12 July 2024

Terms and Conditions

Salary: Approx. £40,000 - £50,000 per annum

Final salary will be determined according to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Doctoral Networks rates.

Researchers may receive an additional mobility allowance and, depending on personal circumstances, a family allowance.

This post is full time and fixed term for 3 years (1 October 2024 - 30 September 2027).

As part of Team UofG you will be a member of a world changing, inclusive community, which values ambition, excellence, integrity and curiosity.

As a valued member of our team, you can expect:

1 A warm welcoming and engaging organisational culture, where your talents are developed and nurtured, and success is celebrated and shared.

2 An excellent employment package with generous terms and conditions including 41 days of leave for full time staff, pension - pensions handbook https: // www., benefits and discount packages.

3 A flexible approach to working.

4 A commitment to support your health and wellbeing, including a free 6-month UofG Sport membership for all new staff joining the University https: // www.

We believe that we can only reach our full potential through the talents of all. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our values. Applications are particularly welcome from across our communities and in particular people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented within the University. Read more on how the University promotes and embeds all aspects of equality and diversity within our community https: // www.

In line with the commitments in the University of Glasgow's Gaelic Language Plan, we also welcome and value skills in Gaelic language for anyone working within areas where key Gaelic services are delivered, in particular within the School of Humanities / Sgoil nan Daonnachdan and the College of Arts

We endorse the principles of Athena Swan https: // www. and hold bronze, silver and gold awards across the University.

We are investing in our organisation, and we will invest in you too. Please visit our website https: // www. for more information.

Vacancy Ref : 148771 Close Date : 12-Jul-2024 23:45

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