Home » RISA Directorates » IRC » International Relations and Cooperation Funding » SASAC Call for PhD Bursaries 2016
Opening Date: 
Monday, 16 November, 2015
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, 2 December, 2015

Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC)

Call for Doctoral Scholarships for Research using a Systems Analysis Methodology

Online applications open: 16 November 2015

Closing date: 2 December 2015

The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have taken a strategic decision to continue investing in and expanding activities around systems analysis over the coming decade in the context of the pivotal role that this type of research plays in solving global challenges and contributing to development. In collaboration with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the NRF is pleased to announce the first call for a three-year Doctoral bursary in any field, but with a Systems Analysis methodology and approach being applied to the research topic.

A new framework of engagement to strengthen systems analysis capacity in South Africa has been inaugurated. The Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC) is a multi-year initiative coordinated by the University of the Western Cape, in partnership with the Universities’ of Limpopo and the Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University. This model takes cognisance of additional and multi-level systems analysis capacity interventions, and a comprehensive approach to policy related activities in South- and Southern Africa. SASAC will dedicate three-year bursaries for South African PhD students based at a South African university to complete their studies with a supervisor from South Africa, experienced in systems analysis, possibly in collaboration with a co-supervisor associated with IIASA.

SASAC PhD Programme Objective

The aim of the SASAC PhD programme is to provide an opportunity for excellent young doctoral students to advance their research under the direct supervision of senior scientists from South African research institutions and IIASA, and at the same time contribute to IIASA’s on-going scientific agenda and to the DST’s strategic research agenda as documented in the ‘Grand Challenges’. The SASAC PhD curriculum will provide young and emerging researchers with the following benefits:

  • A three-year bursary for South African PhD students based at South African universities.
  • A two-month capacity development intervention targeted during the early stage of their PhD studies.
  • Supervision by experienced South African and IIASA scientists, as well as contributing to collaborative research by the supervising senior scientists.
  • Broadening their research into interdisciplinary and trans-boundary research relevant to national, regional, and global needs.

Applying to the SASAC Programme

This Call for Doctoral Bursaries is aimed at new or recently enrolled doctoral students from South Africa (only citizens or permanent residents are eligible) who plan to pursue Doctoral studies at any public university in South Africa. They will be registered at the University of their choice upon acceptance and admission, in collaboration with a supervisor. The eligibility criteria for these bursaries are as follows:

  • Supervisors must apply on behalf of their students;
  • Students must be eligible to be admitted for PhD-level studies;
  • Currently registered PhD students who are in the first six months of a PhD programme, will be considered;
  • The students must have the ability to work independently and to interact with other scientists;
  • The supervisor and students must have the willingness to participate in a range of interdisciplinary scientific activities including: (i) for students: participation in the 2-month and subsequent 3-week programmes; (ii) for supervisors: participation (for at least 7 days) in the respective 2-month, and 3-week programmes;
  • The PhD students must be committed to completing their PhD. They must also submit a manuscript to an international scientific journal within the period of support of the bursaries;
  • Priority will be given to candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • 10 bursaries of R180 000 per year for three years will be awarded. Universities can supplement these bursaries through own funds, within the applicable framework.

Application Deadline

Online applications open: 16 November 2015
Call closes: 2 December 2015


Ms Motsakwe Rakgoale
Professional Officer: International Relations and Cooperation
Email: motsakwe@nrf.ac.za
Tel: +27 12 481 4297

Dr Sepo Hachigonta
Director: International Relations and Cooperation
Email: sepo.hachigonta@nrf.ac.za
Tel: +27 12 481 4180