Human Factors and Enterprise Engineering: Funding available

We hereby invite candidates interested to pursue a full-time PhD or a PostDoc within Human Factors or Enterprise Engineering, to consider the following call:

The National Research Foundation invites doctoral candidates and postdoctoral research fellows who are South African citizens to apply for funding in the DST-NRF Professional Development Programme (PDP). In this programme, the student or fellow will be placed at the Science Council or National Facility (CSIR). The amount of funding per individual for doctoral studies and postdoctoral research fellowships is R200 000 and R300 000 per annum respectively.

Applications must be completed on the NRF Interim system at http://nrfinterim.nrf.ac.za not later that 30 September 2010. Incomplete application forms and late submissions will not be considered. For guidelines on the application process, applicants are advised to refer to the attached “Guidelines for applicants” document.

The following are descriptions of the opportunities within the Human Factors and Enterprise Engineering key priority research area:

Research Group: Human Factors and Enterprise Engineering- 2 PhD and 2 PostDocs
PhD student 1 (Capturing of Indigenous Knowledge):

The focus of this student will be on the capturing of indigenous knowledge: Designing interactions compatible with sharing rural wisdom and skills can contribute to bridging the digital divide for 200 million, often acutely impoverished, Africans and to community cohesion in the face of Africa’s urbanisation and Diaspora. For generations face-to-face transfer of wisdom and practical know-how, from animal husbandry to plant use, has sustained the livelihood and identity of rural communities in Africa. Designing media and/or mobile applications to contribute to this process requires responding to the way that interactions between spoken and performed practices and material settings embed knowledge in locations. This may not be as obvious, as systems developed to preserve local cultural heritage often, almost entirely ignore the aspects most critical to local dwellers. This research priority area brings together domains from human-computer interaction, anthropological and technical backgrounds in order to examine the possibilities modern ICT offers in supporting these nontypical user groups in preserving, managing and sharing their knowledge. It aims at developing first prototypes based on participatory design studies (previous and ongoing) to show the feasibility of the approach. Moreover, the resulting design patterns for knowledge interactions are useful beyond the special case of indigenous communities as they aim at location based experiences in general.

PhD student 2 (Capturing of Knowledge to make the small town environment sustainable):

Large parts of the South African rural landscape are dominated by economically undiversified, single resource small towns with rather bleak future development scenarios. Declining economic functions in such towns, often triggered by the demise of the core economic activity, inevitably result in the so-called “ghost town” outcome with numerous negative socio-economic and environmental consequences. There is an opportunity to define a PhD study where the focus will be on the exploration of a socio-technical approach to support decision making within these towns in order to enhance economic diversity and meet the conditions of sustainable economic development at small town level. The aim will be to identify and define the components of the Enterprise Architecture needed to create the knowledge base with regard to “what is” and to use this knowledge to introduce development initiatives that will both diversify and propel
economic sustainability in the local context.

Fellow 1 (Dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge):
Complimenting the suggested PhD study above, a research project can be demarcated that focuses on the conceptualisation and development of architectures to assist in the modelling and dissemination of indigenous knowledge systems.

Fellow 2 (Dissemination of Knowledge to make the small town environment sustainable):

Complimenting the suggested PhD study mentioned above, a research project can be demarcated that focuses on the development of intelligent tools that assist the role players to manage complexity and change within the town more efficiently and create a more sustainable economic environment.

Successful applicants will be required to sign conditions of grant with the National Research Foundation.

For queries with regard to the application, please contact Mr Envor Moeng at Telephone: (012) 481-4081, E-mail: envor@nrf.ac.za

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