School of Public Health & Family Medicine Bursary 2018

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This bursary The Health Policy and Systems Division in the School of Public Health & Family Medicine is offering a bursary to undertake a PhD in Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) – with specific priority being given to Black South Africans.

School of Public Health & Family Medicine Bursary 2018

Suitably qualified candidates are invited to apply.   

This bursary forms part of the Division’s commitment to developing opportunities for emerging academics and researchers in the field of health policy and systems research. The topic and scope of the PhD will be further refined with the recipient as part of the development of the PhD proposal. We are particularly interested in those seeking a longer‐term academic and research career.

What is HPSR?

As defined globally, we understand HPSR to focus on understanding and improving how societies organize themselves in achieving collective health goals, and how different actors interact in the policy and implementation processes to contribute to policy outcomes.


By nature, it is inter‐disciplinary, a blend of economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, public health and epidemiology that together draw a comprehensive picture of how health systems respond and adapt to health policies, and how health policies can shape − and be shaped by − health systems and the broader determinants of health.



What HPSR interests do we have?

In this Division we have a particular, but not exclusive, focus on South Africa and Africa. Our work is founded in policy analysis and broader social science and humanities perspectives and draws on a range of methodological approaches.  

For this call, we welcome PhD applicants addressing our current areas of interest, including:

  • The political and organisational dynamics influencing policy implementation (of public health and health system policies) – including particular reference to power and trust dynamics  
  • Understandings of health system leadership, and leadership development approaches and interventions
  • The interface between health policy and system issues and child health e.g. in relation to policy development or implementation
  • Health system intersections e.g. multisectoral engagement, civil society, community, public‐private partnership, traditional health systems  
  • Everyday practice and change within health systems
  • The role of the health system in enabling health equity and public value
  • Health system resilience and responsiveness


We welcome applicants interested in conceptual or empirical work, and in using innovative methodological approaches.


Necessary qualifications and skills:

  • A postgraduate qualification of relevance to health policy and systems research, including, for example, development studies, policy sciences or organisational sciences  
  • Preferably, some prior experience in health policy and systems work  
  • Ability to work independently to meet deadlines, and also collaboratively
  • Strong analytical skills  

In addition, applicants must:

  • Have the relevant status for registration as a PhD student in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine
  • Be available to register for full‐time study in 2018 (by mid‐2018, at the latest)
  • Be willing to be physically based in Cape Town full‐time, or for lengthy periods of time
  • Be willing to comply with the policies and guidelines for postgraduate students at the University of Cape Town


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