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DSI-HSRC Internship Programme 2021 for Unemployed South African Graduates

The DSI-HSRC Internship Programme 2021 for Unemployed South African Graduates are now open for applications

When is Application Deadline?

5th September 2021

Tell me about DSI-HSRC Internship Programme:

The Department of Science and Innovation-funded Internship Programme, previously managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF), has been moved to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).
Over the 15 years it was led by the NRF, the programme enabled over 6 000 young people to access internship opportunities, and the HSRC hopes to build on this impressive work.

The Internship Programme, intended to bridge the gap between academic study and competent performance in the workplace, places unemployed graduates in science, engineering and technology disciplines, as well as in the humanities and social sciences, at various research performing or research policy institutions.

Participation in effectively managed internship programmes is associated with improved career and employment prospects, enhanced motivation to continue studying, and greater confidence. An NRF study in 2018 showed that 54% of the interns who had been in the Programme between 2005 and 2017/18 were registered for postgraduate studies and 45% were in full-time employment. Significantly, of those in employment, 48% were working in the national system of innovation.

Over the next three years, the Internship Programme will focus on strengthening the transversal skills and capabilities of the interns, giving them a competitive advantage when entering the labour market, and supporting the growth of mentoring capabilities, particularly in the context of remote work becoming a mainstream phenomenon. The intention is to expand the reach of the Programme to include a greater number of interns and host institutions in the national system of innovation.

The new cohort of interns will be recruited to commence their two-year internships on 1 October 2021.

Type of Award?


Who is Eligible?

To be eligible, interns MUST meet the following minimum requirements:

• Be a South African citizen or South African Permanent Resident (with a valid South African Identity Document).

o Non-South Africans are not eligible to apply;

• Should be currently unemployed and 35 years of age or younger at the time of submitting the application;

• A graduate holding any of the following:

NQF Level 7: Bachelor’s, Advanced Diploma, or B-Tech Degree;

NQF Level 8: Bachelor’s Hons Degree, and Postgraduate Diploma;

NQF Level 9: Master’s Degree or M-Tech.

• Hold a qualification in Science, Engineering and Technology, Research, Development, Innovation, Social

Sciences and Humanities or related disciplines and SHOULD HAVE COMPLETED THEIR STUDY at the time of submitting the application. See list of areas of specialisations/disciplines by province below.

The following applies to candidates who are NOT ELIGIBLE to be appointed as DSI-HSRC interns:

• Candidates who hold a Diploma at BELOW NQF level 7 as well as PhD at NQF level 10;

• Candidates who would be registered full-time for study

• Registered Doctoral (PhD, DPhil and DTech) students; and

• Candidates who hold DSI-funded scholarships or bursaries during the internship year.

What is the Selection Process?

Short listing and interview of applicants will be conducted by mentors at the participating Host Institutions. Applicants will be shortlisted and contacted by the specific Host institution to schedule interviews, using the personal email you have provided in the application. Applicants are advised to check their emails regularly during the period 13 to 30 September 2021. After the Host Institution has selected their candidate, they will inform the DSI-HSRC Internship Programme office, and we will send out the letter inviting you to the programme and the contract documents that you will have to sign.

Which countries are eligible?

South Africa

Where will Award be taken?

Participating Host Institutions are located throughout the country and so interested applicants should ensure that they apply for a position available in the province where they would like to be placed. Kindly note that the HSRC does not pay relocation costs to any appointed candidates who choose to relocate to another province.

Applicants are urged to consider the choice of province carefully as the cost of living away from home maybe high and place a burden on you.

How Many Awards are available?

Not specified

What is the Benefit of DSI-HSRC Internship Programme?

The DSI-HSRC Internship will provide interns with a monthly salary depending on the level of qualification for the duration of the two-year period:

• Bachelors: R 6,375 per month

• Honours: R 7,055 per month

• Masters: R 8,375 per month

What is the Timeline/Duration of DSI-HSRC Internship Programme?

The internship programme is offered for a period of 24 months. Successful applicants will be required to sign a contract for the duration of the internship.

How can I apply for DSI-HSRC Internship Programme?

All applications must be submitted electronically on the DSI-HSRC Internship Online Management System. Applicants must first register under the tab new registration and provide their personal details as required. After registration, log in and go to my applications and create an application and complete all the relevant sections following instructions provided. The closing date for applications is Sunday, 05 September 2021; no late applications will be considered. You will be required to provide us with the following documents. Please click here to access the online system.


• Certified copies of certificates;

• Certified academic records; and

• Certified copy of the South African ID or Passport


Applicants can review the areas of specialisation or disciplines available in their respective provinces in the guidelines document attached.

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

Visit DSI-HSRC Internship Programme Webpage for Details

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