UNU-WIDER, together with the National Treasury of South Africa (NT) is seeking collaborators for ongoing research projects under the second phase of the SA-TIED programme. Submission deadline: 13 October 2023

This call invites South Africa-based early-career researchers or PhD students to submit an application to join an existing research team using the South African tax administrative data as a locally based co-author. Opportunities for local co-authors are available in three of the SA-TIED workstreams: 1) enterprise development for job creation; 2) public revenue mobilization; and 3) structural transformation and inequality. The research is empirical in nature and will be based on South African tax administrative data. This call for local co-authors offers a unique research environment that brings together world-class academic researchers with policymakers and tax administrators, to answer policy-relevant questions. 

The workstream on enterprise development for job creation (WS1) focuses on understanding the drivers of changes in South Africa’s productivity growth, declining competitiveness as well as opportunities and constraints to private sector development and job creation.  

The workstream on revenue mobilization (WS2) sheds light on the determinants of revenue collection in South Africa and on the effects of the tax structure on economic growth and inequality. A particular focus is on understanding how people and firms respond to tax policy design and tax administration processes.   

The workstream on structural transformation and inequality (WS3) sheds light on the lack of inclusivity of South Africa’s growth path and current and potential policy options to promote inclusive growth.  

All research projects are led by experienced national and international scholars who are experts in the above areas. The projects are intended to result in research papers that will be published in leading academic journals and provide valuable input into policy discussions in South Africa.  

Against this backdrop, UNU-WIDER together with NT announce a request for collaborators. 

Offer and expectations 

We invite applications from qualified South Africa-based researchers to collaborate on the sketched research projects. Collaborators will be full-fledged members of the research team and are expected to contribute their expertise and ideas. Successful applicants will be co-authors on all project-related publications. As the research is mostly empirical in nature, we require candidates to have a sound background in econometrics and applied empirical work as well as experience with statistical software, ideally STATA. 

A total research honorarium of USD 2000 will be paid for the work undertaken. UNU-WIDER will cover all expenses associated with the research projects (including expenses on travel, data collection, research assistance, etc.). Submission of a budget is not required for the proposal. 

 What is expected of researchers? 
  1. Be based in South Africa. It is not required for the applicant to be a South African citizen.  
  1. Hold at least a Master’s degree in Economics, Statistics or a related field  
  1. Be able to travel to Pretoria to work in the National Treasury Secure Data Facility (all travel costs will be covered by UNU-WIDER), if required. 
  1. Have sound knowledge in econometrics and applied empirical work, and have experience working with microdata and using relevant econometrics software packages 
  1. Contribute as a co-author to producing a research paper of sufficient quality to merit publication in the SA-TIED Working Paper series.  
  1. Sign agreements and abide by all restrictions imposed by NT and other government agencies with respect to disclosure of confidential firm- and individual-specific information.  
  1. If applicable, to present work in progress at an appropriate venue (TBC) and to listen to and to comment upon work in progress of other researchers (1–1.5 days’ time commitment). 

Please submit your application by 10 October 2023 including a CV detailing your education and employment history and potentially academic publications.  

15 August 2023 launch of request for local co-authors
25 August 2023 deadline on questions on the application process
13 October 2023 application submission deadline
27 October 2023 target date for informing on decisions

Knowledge-sharing events will be planned subsequently. 

Evaluation process and criteria 

Each application will be reviewed on the basis of relevant experience and personal motivation.  Preference will be given to applications from early-career and female scholars, as well as researchers from South Africa. UNU-WIDER seeks to include researchers from a broad range of South African institutions, particularly Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs). This criteria will also be taken into consideration when applications are assessed.  

Only the final decision on whether an application is accepted or not will be communicated to applying researchers.  

For successful applications 

Researchers will sign a consultant contract with UNU-WIDER that follows the UNU conditions of service for Consultant Contracts (CTC), or Institutional Contractual Agreements (ICA).  

Researchers will transfer copyright of research produced under the contract to UNU-WIDER. The purpose of this copyright transfer is to allow UNU-WIDER to effectively negotiate with top academic publishers in order to seek the most desirable possible publication outlet for a related set of papers/studies, and to allow UNU-WIDER to license the planned book on full open access. If no (further) publication is expected by UNU-WIDER, the copyright can be transferred to the author(s). Any material published externally thereafter resulting from this body of work should carry due acknowledgement of UNU-WIDER as the original commissioning institute. 

Application submission procedure 

Applications should include a 2-page CV and a personal motivation statement of no more than 500 words. The motivation statement should clearly state the motivation for applying to undertake research under SA-TIED programme, and include a narrative of previous relevant experience and future career objectives. 

Submission of proposals is done electronically by using the online form on the RfRP announcement page. Details (such as address, gender, nationality, date of birth) need to be entered onto the form, and a CV and a motivation letter uploaded. Please familiarize yourself with the form in advance. 

Any questions on the proposal process should sent to  by 25 August 2023. All queries and response will be published on the RfRP announcement page. Selected answers will be updated on a rolling basis.