R190,000 NRF 2023 SAAO Prize Scholarship for African Researchers

Written by David on June 11, 2023

4 min read

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Scholarship details

  • Area of study

  • Country of the Scholarship

    South Africa
  • Scholarship Valid Until (Year)

  • Type of scholarship

    Ph.D. scholarship
  • Scholarship amount given

    9000 - 12000
  • Type of scholarship administrator

    Private sponsor
  • Mode of scholarship (Online/Offline)

  • Applier's country

  • Expenses covered

  • Scholarship Contact Details

    Mailto: [email protected]

Applications are currently being accepted for the Masters of Science (MSc) and Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) research opportunities that will be offered by the South Africa Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in 2024. Students are given the opportunity to collaborate on innovative astronomy and instrumentation projects with eminent experts through the SAAO. Observational and theoretical aspects of stellar and extragalactic astronomy, as well as astronomical apparatus and computer modelling, are discussed in these articles. 

In addition, a large number of projects require integrating and analysing data from a variety of wavelengths. For example, optical data from SAAO/SALT may be combined with radio data from MeerKAT and/or X-ray observations from satellites, and there may be potential for collaboration with national and international partners. 


About the Scholarship Provider:

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) was established in 1820 and serves as South Africa’s national centre for optical and infrared astronomy. It is primarily responsible for providing researchers in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics with access to facilities of the highest calibre so that they can carry out fundamental research. As part of its mission to advance astronomy and astrophysics in southern Africa, the SAAO disseminates the findings and discoveries of research projects and takes part in outreach initiatives designed to excite the general public about astronomy and physics.

The National Research Foundation, which is run by the South African Department of Science and Innovation, maintains the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) as one of its facilities. The Southern African Astronomical Observatory has its administrative offices located in the neighbourhood of Observatory in Cape Town, which gives the organisation its name. Additionally, the SAAO maintains a dedicated research and observation station in the Karoo town of Sutherland, which is located in the Northern Cape. All of the present astronomical operations are carried out in Sutherland since this location offers the most favourable conditions for conducting observations. In Cape Town, historical telescopes continue to see regular use, particularly in the context of outreach and public events.


SeNSS is one of only 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships in the United Kingdom that is sponsored by the ESRC, and they will be offering a handful of fully-funded ESRC doctoral studentships beginning in September 2023. SeNSS is one of the only 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships in the United Kingdom that is sponsored by the ESRC.


Scholarship Sponsor(s):  National Research Foundation (NRF)

Scholarship Country:  South Africa

Scholarship Worth:  R190,000

Study Level:  Postgraduate

Nationality: International Students


Scholarship Offer:

  • At the master’s level (MSc), the grant amount will be R180,000 per year, and at the doctoral level (PhD), it will be R190,000. In addition to this stipend, all of your tuition fees will be covered, you will receive considerable help for travel and equipment, and you will have the opportunity to investigate on-site housing possibilities. 


The Gustafsson & Skrondal Visiting Scholarship is administered by the University of Oslo’s Centre for Educational Measurement (CEMO). As part of the visiting scholar program, CEMO and the University of Oslo host a number of young researchers from Norway and elsewhere each year.


Eligibility for Scholarship.

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  • Students who want to pursue postgraduate research at SAAO must first register with a South African university. Those students who need financial assistance must submit an application to the National Research Foundation (NRF) following the regular processes, and they may also submit an application for the 2024 SAAO Prize Scholarship for PhD or MSc. Both the NRF and the SAAO offer bursaries, and both offer the same project opportunities.
  • Applicants must be in a position to begin studies towards a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Astrophysics at a university located in South Africa in the academic year 2024. Candidates with prior experience in astrophysics are strongly preferred.
  • Note that the NRF is encouraging students to submit their applications as soon as possible to avoid a surge in the use of the information technology system approaching the deadlines.
  • Students of any country are permitted to submit applications for NRF bursaries; however, South African nationals and permanent residents are given high preference.



The NRF 2023 SAAO Prize Scholarship for African Researchers  is open to all International Students


If a student enrolls in one of the degree programs offered by SOAS University of London, they may be eligible to receive a fee waiver award in the amount of £5,000. This award is available to students who are interested in receiving a degree from SOAS University of London.


Application Procedure

  • To apply for this scholarship, please email your cover letter, curriculum vitae, and academic transcripts as a single pdf file to [email protected]. Do not include any other attachments in your email. Your last name, the last name of the person who will be supervising the project for which you are applying, and the level (MSc or PhD) for which you are applying should all be included in the subject line of the email you send. You should also make the necessary arrangements to have two people send a reference letter directly to [email protected] before the application deadline. The subject line of the email should include your name.


Application Deadline

The application deadline for the NRF 2023 SAAO Prize Scholarship for African Researchers is July 31, 2023.

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