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NRF-TWAS Doctoral Scholarships/NRF-TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarships for African Researchers 2019 – South Africa

The National Research Foundation (NRF) and The World Academy of Science (TWAS) are pleased to announce the NRF – TWAS Doctoral Scholarship and the NRF – TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarship call for 2019 academic year. This scholarship will support Doctoral scholars from Africa and developing countries with scholarship funding per annum for a maximum of three (3) years to pursue full-time research training in South Africa.

Application Deadline: 15th June 2018

Offered annually? Yes

Eligible Countries: Developing countries and Africa (Africans are ONLY eligible to apply for the NRF-TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Fellowship)

To be taken at (country): South Africa

Fields of Study: 

01-Agricultural Sciences
02-Structural, Cell and Molecular Biology
03-Biological Systems and Organisms
04-Medical and Health Sciences incl. Neurosciences
05-Chemical Sciences
06-Engineering Sciences
07-Astronomy, Space and Earth Sciences
08-Mathematical Sciences

About the Award: TWAS has been supporting scientists and institutions in developing countries through a wide range of programmes that focus on scientific capacity building. The core mandate of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) is to promote and support research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of research. In order to realise this mandate, the NRF has made great commitment and investment towards supporting “next generation” researchers and to intensify and strengthen African and global networks.

The partnership between The NRF and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) has led to the establishment of two Doctoral Scholarships namely; the NRF – TWAS Doctoral Scholarship and the NRF – TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarship. This award is strategically aimed at increasing and supporting Doctoral scholars from Africa and developing countries who will be funded per annum for a maximum of three (3) years to pursue full-time research training in South Africa. There will be an intake of 70 doctoral scholars each year for three (3) years, starting in 2017.

Type: Doctoral, Fellowship


  • The NRF-TWAS Doctoral Scholarship funding Instrument is open to citizens and permanent residents from developing countries outside Africa
  • The NRF-TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarship funding instrument is open to citizens and permanent residents from Africa except South Africa
  • No resident of South Africa or citizen of South Africa in any developed country who holds temporary residence permits (this includes study permits) is eligible to apply;
  • Foreign citizens who were previously employed or studying towards a degree or undertaking research in South Africa, and have returned to their country of origin but have been in their country of origin for less than two (2) years are NOT eligible.
  • Applicants must be thirty five (35) years of age on 31 December of the year of application for the doctoral scholarship ;
  • Applicants must hold a university degree that will satisfy requirements for admission to doctoral studies at a South African public university, which is generally a Master’s Degree;
  • Visa and immigration laws of the applicant’s home country and South Africa must be met by the applicant.
  • Application Requirements: Applicants must provide an official letter from their host South African institution, department or laboratory and motivation from the applicant’s host.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the respective institution to apply for acceptance. In addition, it is also the responsibility of the applicant to secure a supervisor for the study;
  • The research project must be registered and approved by the host institution (a letter of support from the prospective supervisor must be attached to the application;
  • Applicants must have all foreign qualifications (obtained from non-South Africa universities) evaluated by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA).
  • A SAQA evaluation certificate must be submitted with the application, failing which the application will be rejected.
  • The applicant must secure their own visa’s or study permits under the programme for study in South Africa.

Selection Criteria: 

  • Scholarships may not be held simultaneously with another scholarship from any other TWAS, South African government or NRF administered source;
  • Doctoral scholars may not concurrently hold the scholarship with any full-time employment position;
  • Doctoral scholars can hold non-binding supplementary grants or emoluments to the institutional capped value.
  • Applicant expertise/training that will enable the applicant to successfully undertake the proposed research.
  • The applicant’s research track record which could include peer reviewed publications, conference proceedings, research prizes and awards.
  • Scientific and Technical quality of proposed research Literature review with citations, significance of the research in terms of the problem statement, aims and objectives.
  • Research design, methodology developed to address aims of the research.
  • Alignment with national and institutional research priorities.
  • Institutional support for the postdoctoral fellowship through infrastructure and facilities for an enabling environment.
  • Potential Research Outputs and Impact of the research Details of envisaged realistic outputs of the research such as publications, conference proceedings, toolkits, policy documents.
  • Contribution to postdoctoral research skills development in a priority research area (human capacity development of the applicant)
  • Potential for socio-economic impact of the research in South Africa

Number of Awardees: 

  • NRF – TWAS Doctoral Scholarship funding instrument: 20 scholars from developing countries outside Africa;
  • NRF – TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarships funding instrument: 50 scholars from Africa.

Value of Scholarship:

  • A single economy airfare to travel from home country to South Africa;
  • A single economy airfare to return to home country upon completion of the doctoral degree.
  • Non-taxable stipend of R110 000 per annum
  • Local travel costs R25 000
  • Maximum international travel costs R50 000

Duration of Scholarship: Up to three (3) years

How to Apply: Applicants must apply and follow the application process set out in the attached framework document and application guide in the Scholarship Page (see below).

Visit Scholarship Webpage for details

Award Provider: The World Academy of Sciences, National Research Foundation (NRF) and Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Important Notes: Institutions are required to set their own internal closing dates to enable validation by institutional DAs prior to submission to the NRF for review.

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