Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) Masters Scholarships 2024 – Stellenbosch University

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The Centre for Sustainability Transitions builds on a strong history of transdisciplinary research and complexity studies at Stellenbosch University, providing a vibrant hub for solution-oriented sustainability science that hosts leading scientists and students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds in a state-of-the-art research centre. 

Application Deadline: 30th June 2023

About the Award: The primary objective of the CST is to provide transformational knowledge on the dynamics of multi-scale social-ecological change, and strategic insights into the new modes of research and governance that can bring about a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable society, in southern Africa and globally.

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Eligible Field(s): Masters bursaries for 2024 – Seeds of Good Anthropocenes Initiative

Type: Masters,

Call for applications

We seek motivated individuals interested to pursue a Masters degree linked to the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes initiative, who have a keen interest in sustainability, biodiversity and transition-related research, an interest and ability to integrate across the social and natural sciences, and who enjoy collaboration and working in teams. The candidate will be expected to be based at the CST, and interested individuals should have a strong academic track-record, participate in the events and activities of the CST, and be interested in developing a career around topics such as social-ecological systems, resilience and risk, complexity thinking, and sustainability transformations.

The main theme of the Masters project would relate to analyzing select examples of sustainability-related transformations to explore patterns and processes of change. This could draw on examples from the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes database (https://goodanthropocenes.net/). A variety of focal topics under this theme are available:

  • Investigating the long-term impact of “Seed” processes and projects, to explore these initiatives have created transformative change in key thematic systems e.g. food systems;
  • Exploring the conceptual and theoretical impact of the Seeds of Good Anthropocene initiative, to explore how this work has been expanded, translated, and transformed in research across the world;
  • “Seeds” of equitable biodiversity conservation in Africa- focal topics could include responses to illegal wildlife trade; Indigenous responses to biodiversity conservation; sustainable use of wildlife or biodiversity conservation and equity outcomes;
  • “Seeds” of Indigenous plant use and conservation- focal topics could include responses to climate change, biodiversity loss or food insecurity, or sustainable use and management of Indigenous plant resources.

Supervisors will include Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs, and one or more CST researchers, depending on the topic, including Dr Nyasha Magadzire and Dr Julia van Velden. Studies will generally be registered in the CST’s MPhil in Sustainable Development in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, but other options can be considered.

Eligibility: Potential students applying for a Masters degree should have completed an Honours or four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent to be eligible. All candidates should show evidence of strong scholarly performance. Based on the National Research Foundation’s funding guidelines, strong preference will be given to South African nationals and under-represented groups.

To be Taken at (Country): South Africa

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: Bursaries will be funded from the DST/NRF SARChI chair held by Prof Biggs. The NRF minimum academic requirement for first-time master’s funding is a minimum average of 65% for all subjects at the honours level OR a minimum average of 65% for all subjects of a postgraduate diploma OR a minimum average of 65% for all final year subjects of a four-year degree. Applicants for master’s funding must be 30 years of age or younger in the year of application i.e. applicants must not be over 30 years by 31 December 2023.

Successful applicants will be funded either at Full Cost Study (FCS) or Partial Cost of Study (PCS). The FCS funding will be awarded to South African citizens and permanent residents only, who are either financially needy (i.e., those whose combined household family income is less or equal to R350 000 per annum), living with a disability, or exceptional academic achievers. PCS funding will be awarded to 5% of international students including South African citizens and permanent residents who could not be funded under FCS but meet other minimum requirements for the NRF scholarship funding criteria.

Subject to availability of funds, CST aims to top-up NRF funding for living costs to Masters to R 120,000 pa (R 10,000 per month) for full-time studies over 2 years. Tuition and reasonable running and travel expenses will also be covered where possible.

How to Apply: Applications will follow a 2-step process:

Step 1. Apply to CST

All interested candidates should first apply to the CST by emailing the following documents to [email protected] by 30 June 2023 with the subject line “Masters application: Seeds of Good Anthropocenes”:

  • a motivation letter (detailing your previous academic and work experience, and how your experiences and skills speak to the proposed research topic, as well as your interests with regard to the specific proposed project),
  • a detailed CV that includes your academic record, previous work experience, any scientific publications on which you have been an author, and the names of at least two academic referees,
  • transcripts of academic qualifications,
  • at least one example of recent written work (e.g. a paper, report, thesis chapter).

Interviews will be conducted with shortlisted candidates in early July.

Step 2. Apply to NRF

Selected candidates from step 1 will be instructed to apply on the NRF system by 14 July 2023, and link their application to Prof Biggs’ SARChI Chair. Instructions on this process will be communicated to successful applicants from step 1.

Please note that funding will only be awarded to candidates selected and approved by the NRF.

Please click on the links above for further details.

  • It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.

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