Research Officer Vacancy on CUP Project


Closing date: 7 April 2015

The ACC has been awarded funding for a research project on urban food security and poverty. The governance work package of this research project includes research on the externalities of food supply chains and on informal food production and preparation processes in the case study cities, viz. Kisumu (Kenya), Kitwe (Zambia) and Epworth (outside Harare, Zimbabwe). Professor Harro von Blottnitz of the Chemical Engineering Department at UCT will oversee this systems analysis and cleaner production research. A contract researcher (for two and a half years) is required, to work under his guidance and as part of the ACC project team.

The ACC therefore invites applications for a full-time contract research officer post, to undertake primary research and analysis aiming to quantitatively describe social and environmental externalities of the food systems in the case study cities.


  • A PhD or almost completed PhD, or a master’s degree with at least 3 years of relevant research experience.
  • Degree in a cognate field and a nascent publication record.
  • The researcher will need to be able to read and work from both the “geography of food” literature (including the body of work on urban food poverty) and the “production systems and supply chains” literature (incl. the field of food life cycle assessment).


  • Planning for data gathering and alignment with other project activities, particularly in the governance package but also in the larger project
  • Interfacing with colleagues in the food systems work package
  • Data gathering on ‘foreground’ systems (i.e. food systems in the case study cities), supporting also a research assistant doing a detailed analysis of a specific informal food preparation activity in Kitwe
  • Data gathering and manipulation of background systems (e.g. national energy and transport systems)
  • Life cycle modelling (social and environmental) including data validation and storage
  • Interpretation, also in relation to other project aims and results in the governance package and beyond, but also in relation to the food life cycle assessment research in the group of Professor von Blottnitz
  • Taking a lead in publication of research results

“Meeting the needs of the hungry” – New article on Cape Town food work by Michael Morris, Weekend Argus

The attached article was published in Cape Town’s Weekend Argus on 7 March 2015:

Click to access jane.battersby.07.03.2015.pdf

Excerpt: ”

Five years ago, at the plenary ses- sion on the final day of the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam, President Jacob Zuma argued uncontroversially that democracy must “improve the quality of life of ordinary people”, adding, with what his opponents would doubtless con- sider an ironic metaphor: “You can’t eat democracy.”

Democracy, of course, is not for eating – though the phrase is well understood and is a common enough refrain, the token of an unsatisfied hankering, or a gnawing disillusion- ment in our post-liberation enter- prise.

On the other hand, what democ- racy can do is enable people to change the way the greater food sys- tem is managed so that better nutri- tion and a healthier society are placed front and centre of policy ini- tiatives.

And that, Battersby argues, is whatcities,especially,canandought to be looking at in a more executive- minded way.

The growing acknowledgement of the role of cities is underscored by the commissioning of a study by the SA Cities Network – a policy adviser to metros – on food insecurity across all nine metropolitan centres.

Food policy analysts insist, though, that a first step must be an at least partial devolution of a man- date for food security to cities.

As Battersby noted: “The absence of recognition of the urban within the new (national) policy means that we are unlikely to see the develop- ment of policies and strategies that can have an impact in urban areas.”

And, with rising urbanisation, it’s the cities that are hungriest.”

FAO/RUAF Urban Food Systems Assessment Meeting, Rome, March 2015

Project Research Coordinator, Jane Battersby, has just returned from attending the FAO/RUAF hosted meeting towards the development of City Region Food System (CRFS) assessment methodology.

The purpose of this meeting was to:

·         Refine objectives of the CRFS assessment

·         Refine data and indicator framework to characterize CRFS

·         Define of methods and tools to collect and process information

·         Identify operational aspects to implement the methodology

The experience of the ACC and AFSUN working on Cape Town’s Food System Assessment was one of three case studies presented. The other two were Bristol and Milan.

Further information on the development of this project will follow.IMG_0794