Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award 2020 for South African Researchers (R2 million)

The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust has announced that nominations for the 2020 Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award are now open. 

Application Deadline: 25th October 2020

About the Award: The award, which carries a monetary value of R2 million, focuses unambiguously on excellence and exceptional scholarship. It is granted to candidates of the highest calibre to enable them to undertake a programme of cutting edge, internationally significant work.

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  • The Trust is calling for nominations from South African Universities, Science Councils, Research & Policy Institutes, and other institutions or agencies of similar national standing
  • The Trust will also consider applications from individuals who do not have specific institutional affiliations

The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust was established in 1958 by the late Mr Harry Oppenheimer in memory of his father, Sir Ernest, and has a long tradition of investing in education and related fields. The Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship was initiated by the Trustees some nineteen years ago and is the Trust’s most prestigious award.

The Guiding Principles

  • The Award seeks to attract world-class candidates with visionary ideas based on an exceptionally well-developed grasp of a field or topic
  • It is intended to enable scholars based in South Africa to undertake a programme of work that will ‘build the academy’ and contribute richly to intellectual life
  • It aims to strengthen relationships and partnerships between local and international institutions and the Trust

Type: Grants

Eligibility: The Trust will consider candidates who:

  • Are residents of South Africa (age is not a factor in selection)
  • Are outstanding achievers and very well established in their field
  • Are regarded as leading scholars internationally, have undertaken advanced research for many years and have a track record of sustained intellectual effort
  • Present submissions that describe a clearly focused and specific project that offers a ‘visionary idea’ that represents a paradigm shift in current thinking, seeks to make important discoveries and contributes significantly to new knowledge
  • Demonstrate a commitment to transferring skills and building capacity in South Africa

Special consideration will also be given to the following points:

  • The value of the proposed work: its particular application to teaching, research and development in South Africa; its potential to push the frontiers of knowledge in the given field or area of interest; its contribution to the advancement or application of knowledge in the service of society
  • The coherence and practicability of the proposed programme and its feasibility within the limit set for the Award and the given timeframe of approximately one year
  • The candidate’s proven achievement and his or her ability to profit from the use of the Award.

By proven achievement the Trust would be looking for candidates who have inter alia: attracted research funding on a competitive basis; published peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals or scholarly books through high-profile publishers; successfully supervised graduate students to completion; and secured invitations to, and seats on, international bodies and institutions.

Nominations, Applications & Selection Process

  • The Trust will consider nominations from institutions (the preferred route) as well as applications from individuals who do not have specific institutional affiliations
  • Institutions are requested to publicise the Award internally and actively seek out and encourage their best candidates to apply, including candidates who may have been nominated or short-listed in prior years. There is no limit to the number of nominations that may be made by any one institution but each nominee will require formal endorsement in the form of letters from his or her Vice- Chancellor, Principal, Rector, Chairperson or Chief Executive or one of their Deputies (as appropriate)
  • Candidates without institutional affiliations may apply directly to the Trust
  • The Trust will engage in a formal selection process and no correspondence on its decision will be entered into

Eligible Countries: South Africa

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value & Duration of Award: Funds will be disbursed in two instalments – an initial payment in advance and the second at the half-way stage, on submission of a progress report to the Trust. The Fellow will be required to submit a reflective report (including commentary on the impact of the work) to the Trust within six months of completion of the programme and undertake to deliver a public lecture on the work.

How to Apply:

  • The closing date for written applications or nominations is 25th October 2020
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered
  • Short-listed candidates or finalists should be available for interviews late January / early February 2021
  • Awards are made at the discretion of the Trustees
  • All submissions should be submitted electronically to the Trust to email: [email protected]

Written submissions must be supported by the following information:

  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae (not exceeding 6 pages)
  • A complete list of publications (by way of an annexure)
  • A brief synopsis in lay terms (2 to 3 A4 pages) of the work to be undertaken, together with a written motivation explaining the reasons for the work
  • Details of the proposed work programme, including estimated timeframes and costs (specifying the major components of the budget and associated expenses within the limit set and based on realistic needs) and commentary on the envisaged outputs and outcomes
  • Current reports from four highly-placed referees of international standing who are familiar with the candidate’s work. Referees should be properly briefed about the nature of the Award and its significance so that their remarks are directed appropriately and their reports must be submitted under separate and confidential cover directly to the Trust. The Trust reserves the right to contact referees or other experts for further information
  • Note: Electronic submissions must be made in ZIP file format comprising five parts – CV, record of publications, synopsis, motivation and work programme – as indicated in the guidelines

Visit Award Webpage for Details

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