The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (WITS) is located in the economic heartland of South Africa and in close proximity to important fossil-bearing sites. The fossil collections at University hold extensive mammal-like reptiles, early dinosaurs, plants, insects and hominins of international significance. The Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) has been established to create a centralised, sustainable, and prolific centre of research excellence.

Position: The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Postgraduate Affairs at WITS University invites suitably qualified and experienced applicants to apply for the position of Director for the ESI.
Purpose: The Director will lead and manage the ESI to maintain and grow its world class reputation of excellence in research, training (technical, undergraduate and mainly postgraduate), collections curation and outreach related to the palaeosciences.

The ESI is an inter-faculty and multidisciplinary research institution. It enjoys a long and illustrious history of discovery and scientific achievement and is uniquely synonymous with the name and good reputation of WITS. The palaeosciences include a range of knowledge disciplines related to the study of evolution of current and previously living things including, but not limited to, humankind, animals and plants starting from their fossil remains. Some of these disciplines would include paleontology, palaeo-anthropology, palaeo-botany, etc.

Key responsibilities: The primary responsibility of the Director is to lead and manage the ESI. This means that the candidate will need to write and implement five year plans, direct appropriate research programmes, and manage the Institute on a day to day basis. The candidate will also be expected to make a scholarly contribution to the Institute.

The requirements for this position include a:
• PhD in a suitable palaeoscience;
• Distinguished scholarly record in a field related to palaeoscience;
• Record of distinguished academic leadership;
• To be appointed at the level of Professor.

The following competencies are vital:
• Excellent research record;
• Excellent management record in an academic environment;
• Highly developed communication (written and spoken) skills using the English language;
• Excellent record of academic citizenship;
• Experience of activities related to curation;
• Experience of activities related to outreach;
• International standing in the palaeosciences.

Remuneration and conditions of service: A competitive university package with excellent benefits offered, commensurate with the level of appointment. The offer will be full-time appointment lasting for a period of five years, but renewable for another period of five years depending on performance and achievement.

To apply, please submit a covering letter explicitly addressing the above, as well as a detailed CV with names, addresses, contact numbers and e-mail addresses of 3 referees and certified copies of qualifications, as well as a South African ID (Passport if not South African).

Informal inquires may be directed to Dr. Christine Steininger (, Project Manager of the Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand.

External applicants are invited to apply, by registering their profile on the Wits i-recruitment platform located at and submitting their application. Internal employees are invited to apply directly on Oracle by following the path: iWits /Self Service application/” Apply for a job”. Job Category: Academic – Research. Vacancy Name: IRC59964.

The University is committed to employment equity. Preference may be given to appointable applicants from the underrepresented designated groups in terms of the relevant employment equity plans and policies of the University. The University retains the right not to make an appointment, to re-advertise and to verify all information provided by candidates.

Please note that correspondence will only be entered into with shortlisted candidates.