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Marie Curie Doctoral Studentship in African History

Marie Curie

Early-Stage Researcher (Doctoral Scholarship) Marie Curie ITN Project: Resilience in East African Landscapes: Identifying critical threshold and sustainable trajectories – past, present and future (REAL)

The History Department at the University of Warwick is able to offer a 3-year doctoral scholarship for research on the Environmental History of Africa, commencing in October 2013, under the supervision of Professor David Anderson.

The Doctoral Project

Historical change in the wider Kilimanjaro lowlands (Amboseli-Pangani-Challa-Pare), c.1830 to the present

Kilimanjaro has always had an iconic status among travellers to and cultures of East Africa, resulting in a rich archive of information on landscape dynamics and human-environment interaction. Colonial archival sources and topographic maps, travellers accounts and other forms of printed evidence, historical (aerial and landscape) photographs, local knowledge accumulated from field interviews with farmers and pastoralists, and remote-sensing data available for more recent years, will all be synthesized to give a coherent picture of what is known about landscape change, and its proximate causes, on the Kilimanjaro lowlands over the past two centuries. The project will require archival research in east Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), along with extensive fieldwork in the study area. Knowledge of KiSwahili will be an advantage.

It is the aim of the wider REAL programme to combine the findings of this historical component with palaeoecological data gathered by other researchers to provide a longer historical perspective within which to frame the current rapid transformation of the area, characterized by pastoral communities switching to sedentary agriculture, partly in response to recent decimation of pastoral herds by drought and the ready availability of pumped groundwater. These changes may be indicative of adaptability and long-term resilience to shifting environmental regimes; however, they also resulted in enhanced local human disturbance and human-wildlife conflicts, and may represent an unsustainable trajectory. The comparative and collaborative aspects of the programme will address these broader questions in a multidisciplinary way.

The REAL Programme

This is a multidisciplinary and multi-partner research project entitled ‘Resilience in East African Landscapes: Identifying critical thresholds and sustainable trajectories – past, present and future’ (REAL), which is an EU funded Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN). The doctoral award in History at Warwick is one of several grants within the project to support Early Stage Researchers (ESRs).

To fulfill Marie Curie mobility requirements applicants must at the time of recruitment by the host organisation not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the commencement of the award in October 2013. (Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.) Further details of the requirements of the Marie Curie scheme can be found at

The wider comparative REAL project focuses on the temporal, spatial and social dynamics of human-landscape interaction in East Africa over the last millennia, with particular reference to the Ewaso Basin and Eastern Rift Valley in central Kenya, and the Pangani Basin & Amboseli catchment in north-eastern Tanzania & south-eastern Kenya. These two areas cover a range of environments, presenting a mixed topography between the Rift Valley and adjacent uplands. A core consideration of the project will be on how societies, landscapes and ecosystems have responded to climate change both currently and in the past under different conditions, so as to better understand how they may respond to future climate change.

Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in this multi-partner project will be part of a network of ESRs and senior researchers involving several European and African universities and institutions (e.g. University of Uppsala, University of York, University of Cologne, Ghent University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, University of Dar es Salaam) as well as partners from industry. A number of common courses and training events will be organised within the project and a fieldwork budget will be available for the ESRs.

The person appointed to the doctoral scholarship offered at Warwick will be expected to commence their studies on 30 September 2013. The research will require several months of fieldwork in relatively remote rural locations in Kenya and Tanzania.

The scholarship will cover fees (paid directly) and a living allowance to the value of £37,831 gross per annum, provided through an employment contract adhering to standard FP7 Marie Curie guidelines. The scholarship will also provide an additional monthly mobility allowance depending on family situation. Project funds will also cover field costs and travel.

Applications, including a CV, covering letter, and the names of two referees, must be received by 21 June 2013. Interviews with shortlisted candidates are expected to be conducted between 1–5 July 2013, via skype or google hangout. For further information, please contact: Professor David M. Anderson, History Department, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, email

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Applicants will hold a First Class or Upper Second class BA or BSc degree, and a Masters degree in History, Environmental Studies, Geography, African Studies, or in a cognate subject, the latter to have been received no earlier than October 2009.

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Practical experience and academic background of relevance for the project, e.g. experience of work with archives relevant to East Africa, and/or interview based fieldwork in East Africa or in a comparable rural environment
  • Knowledge of scientific theory and method of relevance to the research project (i.e. environmental history of Africa)
  • Analytical ability and skills in writing, as demonstrated by the submission of written work for assessment by the appointments panel
  • The applicants personal references

How Do I Apply?

The application must include the following documentation:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A short (1–2 pages) personal presentation (letter of intent) that explains why you are interested in studying for a doctorate in History, and describes your suitability for and interest in this specific research project
  • One example of an independently written paper or thesis authored by the applicant within the framework of his/her bachelor or masters level university education
  • References from two university lecturers or professors (with telephone numbers and email addresses) who have taught the applicant and who have a good knowledge of the applicant’s academic achievements

A complete application should be sent by email to to arrive no later than 11pm GMT on 21 June 2013. Email attachments greater than 10MB cannot be accepted by the Warwick University email system, but can instead be uploaded at