Job opportunity: Futures Researcher

SAIIA seeks to appoint a Futures Researcher for the SAIIA Futures Programme.

The successful candidate will be responsible for supporting existing projects related to the application of futures thinking and systems thinking to complex interrelated problems across and beyond various fields of study and disciplines (inter and transdisciplinary), as well as supporting the Programme Head in fundraising activities to secure additional projects. Research will be both desktop and fieldwork-based (once COVID-19 restrictions allow for travel) and the successful candidate must have excellent research and writing skills as well as the ability to work in a flexible and demanding environment.

The SAIIA Futures Programme builds African foresight and innovation capacity to anticipate and prepare for major political, economic, social, security, technological and environmental disruptors facing the SADC region by discovering new possibilities for systemic innovation and anticipatory governance; and by assisting policymakers, the business community and civil society to deal with strategic risks and leverage emerging opportunities for meeting development goals. This position is based in Cape Town; however, regular regional and international travel is anticipated.

Futures Researcher:SAIIAFuturesProgramme (RSFP0921) – Cape Town (One -year contract) R360k-R500k p.a.


  • Support the implementation of existing projects through conducting futures research, writing, coordination and presentations. Strong qualitative (action) research experience will be beneficial.
  • Support fundraising activities by scanning for fundraising opportunities, developing proposals and engaging with funders.
  • Undertake futures research activities (desktop and fieldwork) on the core themes of the programme (strategic foresight, systemic innovation and anticipatory governance) under the direction of the Programme Head.
  • Supporting futures research programme outputs through coordination with SAIIA publications, events and communications teams to design and promote impactful dissemination of research that inform innovative interventions, generate knowledge, shape public discourse, influence policy, hold states and institutions accountable.
  • Undertake ongoing monitoring of developments in the various fields related to futures studies, systems and complexity studies to enable research on strategic foresight, systemic change, innovation, and anticipatory governance.
  • Support for logistics, record keeping, coordination, donor reporting, financial tracking, research assistance and writing, relationship- building and various administrative duties associated with programme implementation under the supervision of the Programme Head.
  • Support and coordinate timely implementation of projects and regularly ensure the feedback of results, impacts and learning through several reporting mechanisms including (internal and external reporting) covering overall progress, progress against outputs, main activities and outputs for the next period, budget, spend and forecast, and risks.
  • Representing SAIIA in relevant stakeholder networks, technical working groups on SAIIA’s research focus areas and delivering evidence-based policy messages.
  • Coordinate monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) and the mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion (GESI) within the research programme.
  • Support the Programme Head with developing Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plans according to funder requirements and the SAIIA Futures Thematic Research Areas, or areas of policy influence.


  • Minimum of a Master’s degree in a relevant field such as futures studies, sustainable development, environmental studies, international development, business development, management sciences, international relations, economics or related area required.
  • A minimum of five years’ relevant work experience is required.
  • Proven content expertise relating to SAIIA Futures Programme research themes: strategic foresight, systems change and systemic innovation, anticipatory governance applied to climate change/green economy/ sustainability transitions, development, economic diplomacy, foreign policy and governance with relevant examples of publications in futures studies, systems/complexity studies related topics are required.
  • Experience in foresight competencies (framing, scanning, futuring, visioning, designing, adapting) and futures methods such as stakeholder analysis, horizon scanning, systems mapping, causal layered analysis, 2×2 scenario matrix, futures wheel, strategic planning, Three Horizons Framework, action research, and risk analysis.
  • Experience in green economy/digital economy/just transitions/TVET/skills training will be beneficial.
  • Experience in fundraising with strong communication, writing skills, MS Word and Excel expertise will be required.

Candidates for this position should submit a cover letter stating why they are the best choice for this position and quoting clearly the reference number of the position that they are applying for. They should include a comprehensive CV together with the names of three referees with their contact details and forward these to

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview. For more information on SAIIA and its research agenda, please visit Applications close on Monday, 18 October 2021. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Preference will be given to South African Citizens and Employment Equity candidates. SAIIA reserves the right not to make an appointment.