Postdoctoral Research Fellowship: Fair Work in the Platform Economy in the Global South

by | Aug 13, 2018

Closing Date: 31 August 2018

The Department of Mercantile and Labour Law at the University of the Western Cape invites applications for a post-doctoral research fellowship in a multi-disciplinary research project titled Fairwork in the Platform Economy in the Global South, which is supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council as part of its GCRF New Models of Sustainable Development programme.

The Department offers a congenial context for this project, having recently established a niche area under the banner “Labour Law in the 4th Industrial Revolution”. The Fairwork project aims to (i) improve working conditions for digital platform workers in low- and middle-income countries; (ii) develop a certification scheme designed to set minimum standards for decent work and actively certify platforms through a newly-created “Fairwork Foundation”; and (iii) create a Code of Practice for South African platforms.

The post-doctoral research fellow (PDRF) will participate in an area of the research focusing on how South African labour laws, social security laws, and other legal and policy regulations relevant to the platform economy apply to those who work in that economy, and what scope is there for interpreting or adapting existing laws to achieve decent conditions for these workers. This will involve both desk and primary research relating to crowdwork, freelance and location-based platform workers, specifically in the passenger transport and domestic work sectors.

The PDRF role is an exciting opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research on a topic that is central to the future of work, the harnessing of digital technologies for creating work and contributing to socio-economic development. You will work as part of a collaborative and multi-disciplinary team of internationally acclaimed academics, including Professors Mark Graham and Sandra Fredman of the  University of Oxford, Professor Richard Heeks of the University of Manchester, Professor Jean-Paul van Belle of the University of Cape Town and Emeritus Professor D’Arcy du Toit of the University of the Western Cape.  You will be under the supervision of Professor du Toit and co-supervised by Professor Fredman.

Academic/experience criteria:


  • A PhD in law or LLD, awarded within the previous five years, ideally in the field of labour and social security law.
  • Strong skills in the meticulous implementation of research, factual analysis and accurate report-writing.
  • A flexible and innovative approach in dealing with novel issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct legal analysis and application of law to facts.
  • Demonstrated capacity to produce peer-reviewed research articles.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Ability to work independently within a research team and to meet deadlines.


  • Knowledge of the legal context of non-standard work in South Africa.
  • Knowledge of the digital economy and litigation involving platform workers.
  • Prior experience of working on (multidisciplinary) research projects.

Conditions of grant:

  • Applicants must have completed their doctoral degrees within the past 5 years.
  • The successful candidate will be required to register as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Western Cape and will not be considered a UWC employee.
  • The award will take place in terms of UWC’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Policy and will be subject to relevant provisions of the grant conditions laid down the UK Economic and Social Research Council.
  • As part of her/his professional development, the successful candidate will be encouraged and may be required to participate in a limited capacity in other academic activities within the Faculty of Law, including seminars and/or student supervision (which may in appropriate cases be remunerated separately).
  • The successful candidate will be required to comply with the university’s approved policies, procedures and practices applicable to postdoctoral research fellows.

Value and duration of fellowship:

  • The value of the fellowship is ZAR 260,000 per year, and includes no additional financial benefits.
  • The fellowship tenable for 16 months.

Application requirements:

Applicants should submit (i) an application letter that includes a short description of their experience and research interests, and how these relate to the position, specifically addressing the listed criteria, (ii) a CV including a publication list, (iii) copies of academic transcripts and/or certificates, and (iv) email addresses of at least two contactable referees directly involved in their PhD and/or previous postdoctoral research.

Applications should be emailed to Ms Mvuyi Tshabalala at on or before  31 August 2018.  Applications received thereafter will only be considered if the position has not been filled.

Selection process:

  • Only eligible and complete applications will be considered by the selection committee.
  • Interviews are likely to take place in the week of [date] and the successful candidate will be expected to start by no later than [date].

For more information, please contact Ms Mvuyi Tshabalala at

The University of the Western Cape  reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications. The University also reserves the right to amend the conditions of the appointment and to make no award at all.


Share this:


Submit a Comment

Related Content

Writers, Rights and Institutions

Writers, Rights and Institutions

A one-day conference featuring (among others) Larry Siems (editor of Mohamadou Ould Slahi's _Guantanamo Diary_) ...
Opting Out of Religious Education’ – Department of Education Seminar Series

Opting Out of Religious Education’ – Department of Education Seminar Series

Philosophy, Religion and Education Research group Seminar series, Hilary term 2021 Opting out of religious ...
Comparative and International Education Society: Problematizing Inequality Conference

Comparative and International Education Society: Problematizing Inequality Conference

On March 7, OxHRH Deputy-Director Meghan Campbell alongside Tanvir Muntasim (Action Aid), Salima Namusobya ...