Job Vacancy: Principal Researcher


Do you believe in digital equality and recognise the need for data justice to underpin the adoption of advanced technologies for them to be truly developmental and transformative?

Do you want to be at the pulse of digital policy in Africa?

Are you interested in how, as a continent and globally, we can promote data justice and digital quality – and in conducting research on how this can be achieved through ensuring rights-preserving and economically enabling regulatory frameworks? 

How can we create a safe, secure, and trusted environment for the developmental application of Artificial Intelligence?

 What economic and social regulations are required to ensure a better distribution of the opportunities for innovation as well as mitigation of risks associated with platformisation and the gig economy? 

Are you keen to lead research projects within Research ICT Africa and co-ordinate them across African partners and with sister networks in Asia and Latin America?

This is a great opportunity for an individual interested in creating a space for themselves with a dynamic and diverse team to drive the public interest research-to-policy influence. Based at the Cape Town Waterfront under the iconic Table Mountain Research ICT Africa (RIA) conducts multidisciplinary research on digital governance, policy and regulation that facilitates evidence-based and informed policy making for improved access, use and application of digital technologies for social and economic development in Africa. Our public-interest research on the digital economy and society responds to national, regional and continental needs. It provides relevant stakeholders with the information and analysis required to develop flexible and adaptive policies and regulation to deal with an increasingly complex and dynamic digital environment. 

Key responsibilities of the job currently envisaged are:

Research leadership 

  • lead and coordinate public interest research projects for evidence-based ICT policy and regulation
  • initiate new research projects and prepare funding proposals together with the Research Manager
  • collaborate on global research commissions, technical assistance with projects and maintain relationships with multilateral agencies and donors 
  • mentor and create learning environment for in-house researchers and country partners
  • prepare papers for peer-reviewed journals and conferences

Communications and networking 

Prepare research for:

  • policy papers and briefs, blogs, podcasts to disseminate findings to diverse audiences at international/national levels; and
  • represent RIA at global policy, academic, ICT fora, conferences and events.

Key qualifications:

  • PhD (Law, Politics, Engineering) 
  • Policy

Skills and knowledge: 

  • Strong research skills and research management experience
  • Knowledge and experience in development/policy work using legal, quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Knowledge of telecommunications/Internet policy/digital regulation and data governance in developing countries
  • Experience in coordinating large scale research projects
  • Ability to travel as needed (20% of time) some time again in the future
  • Professional English language proficiency and strong writing skills essential


  • ability to work as part of a distributed team and to work with multiple priorities 
  • exposure to different cultures and nationalities
  • knowledge and background in ICT policy and regulation
  • familiarity with blogging and social media 
  • excellent public communication and speaking skills
  • research to policy influence experience (working in/ with governments and multilateral agencies)  
  • work experience in the global South
  • fluency in one major world language in addition to English, preferably French 
  • fluency in isiZulu, isiXhosa and/or Swahili also great.

Send your letter of motivation and curriculum vitae to

Location: Research ICT Africa Cape Town Office

Closing date for applications: 31 August 2021 

Remuneration competitive and negotiable within academic and non-profit sectors.