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Sustainability Research Unit George Campus

The role of small towns in the evolving Southern Africa landscape

This is an invitation to prospective Masters and Doctoral students who are interested in research at the interface between development and environment issues and in joining a team of dynamic researchers focused on creating resilient, well-functioning small towns in the rapidly urbanizing context of the sub-continent. The team is based at the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) on the George Campus of the Nelson Mandela University, with strong links to a range of Faculties, Schools and Departments at Nelson Mandela University as well as other African universities and universities in other parts of the World.

Interested applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the opportunity to access facilities, research sites and running expenses for their research. Applicants must, however, have received funding for their postgraduate studies.

Topics that can form part of the research for these degrees include:

  • governance and democratization;
  • critical success factors contributing to economic growth and business development;
  • technical innovation in youth job creation;
  • impact of climate change on tourism,
  • agriculture and other activities in these towns and their tributary areas;
  • water demand of small towns;
  • food security;
  • inequalities in access to education,
  • health and housing;
  • impact of the green economy on self-sustainability.

The research team and associates across participating institutions will provide supervision, mentoring and exciting opportunities for experiential learning and developing international opportunities for future collaboration.


For further information or to indicate interest, contact Corita Loubser at corita.loubser@mandela.ac.za.

Opportunities for post-graduate studies in Sustainability in the Garden Route

The SRU has funding opportunities for post-graduate students at PhD and Master's level with a keen interest in trans-disciplinary research at the interface between society and ecosystems, and sustainability, in the Garden Route.

Examples of topics include: risk, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change;  incentives and motivations for ecosystem stewardship; collaborative management of watersheds; conceptualizing and modelling human-nature relationships; perceptions of ecosystem degradation and restoration; framings, mental models and mind-sets about nature; management decision making about natural resources, and especially the management of invasive species and / or water-linked ecosystems. Innovative proposals for projects on social-ecological sustainability in the Garden Route will also be consider. Successful applicants will be based at the George Campus of Nelson Mandela University.

Please contact:

For further information or to indicate interest, contact Corita Loubser at corita.loubser@mandela.ac.za.