Funded ESRC linked project PhD studentship available at the School of the Environment, University of Dundee.

Applications are invited for a full-time, three-year PhD studentship to undertake a research project to examine: how political and economic power relationships between national and international institutions are implicated in the design and implementation of social cash transfer schemes.

The studentship is supervised by Dr Lorraine van Blerk (Reader, Human Geography) and forms part of a larger ESRC/DFID grant examining Social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi (PI: Dr Nicola Ansell, Brunel University). The project team comprise of UK/EU and African academics providing a large support network for the duration of the PhD. The studentship provides home/EU tuition fees, a research training allowance and overseas fieldwork costs for the duration of the studentship. Unfortunately, the award is not open to applicants who are liable to pay tuition fees at the international fee rate. The starting date for the PhD is October 2015 and the deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 12th June. Interviews are likely to be held on Thursday 9th July.

The linked project
Youth poverty is important, not least because of its implications for the future, yet rural youth poverty in particular has received little attention from researchers or policy makers. The major recent innovation in policy responses to poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has been social cash transfer (SCT) schemes which disburse cash to poor people. There is growing evidence that these address symptoms of poverty among their target populations, particularly children and the elderly. However, impact evaluations have paid minimal attention to their effects on young adults or generational relations. Researchers increasingly recognise that poverty is produced through structural power relations including political and economic relations, and relations within and between social groups (based on social categorisations such as gender, age, generation and class). If the impacts of SCTs are to be fully understood, it is necessary to examine how they intervene in and are negotiated through these structural relationships. Rather than examining the impacts of SCTs on youth as an age-based category, the research focuses on their effects on the power relationships that structure young lives. Drawing on recent calls for a ‘generationing’ of development, it examines how SCTs shape generational relationships (between older and younger people; between members of an age cohort; between life phases; and between young people and their wider structural contexts). As generational relations intersect with other social relations, effects of SCTs on relations of age and gender will also be examined. It focuses on two countries that have instituted contrasting SCTs in the past decade: Lesotho (social pensions and child grants) and Malawi (SCTs to ultra-poor labour constrained households).

The PhD
As an integral part of the larger project, the PhD on offer will address one of the key objectives by exploring how political and economic power relationships between national and international institutions are implicated in the design and implementation of SCT schemes. The research will principally be undertaken with policy makers in both Malawi and Lesotho, through qualitative data collection -principally semi-structured interviews, as well as contribute learning to the overall project feeding into workshops with agencies, NGOs and Government as part of the knowledge exchange and impact related activities sharing the outcomes and policy lessons from the research.

Candidates must have a first class or upper second class Honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in Human Geography or related social science discipline. It is expected that applicants will also hold (or will be completing) a relevant Masters degree. Applicants should have experience of undertaking qualitative research while the following skills/abilities are also strongly desirable:
· Experience of working with Non-Governmental Organisations
· Practical experience of working overseas, preferably in southern Africa (especially Malawi or Lesotho).
· An interest in, and open-minded approach to, understanding the role of (diverse forms of) social cash transfer schemes in young people’s lives.
· Additional language skills are not necessary, although an ability/willingness to communicate at a basic level in local languages would be an advantage.

How to apply
Please send a full CV; two academic references; a covering letter outlining your qualifications, skills and motivations for undertaking this project; and one piece of academic writing (this may be an essay, a published paper or a chapter of a dissertation). The deadline for applications is Friday 12th June 2015, with interviews expected to be held in early July 2015 for a 1st October start. Quote reference GEO-SCTPhD-2015 on your application
Please email completed applications to Alda Richie by the closing date.

Informal enquires can be made to Dr Lorraine van Blerk

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