South African PhD candidates selected for the NRF-Nuffic Doctoral Training Programme

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20 PhD candidates have been granted a scholarship by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) and Nuffic’s Netherlands Education Support Office (Neso) South Africa.
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The NRF-Nuffic Doctoral Training Programme will provide up to 50 scholarships for South African citizens and permanent residents between 2018 and 2022 for either full-time PhD studies in The Netherlands or studying partly in the Netherlands, partly in South Africa to obtain a joint degree.

Dr Romilla Maharaj, Executive Director for Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development at the NRF said: “with this programme we aim to strengthen sustainable institutional cooperation between Dutch and South African universities, contribute to the bilateral research agendas, and support the development of a critical mass of globally competitive knowledge-workers in South Africa in prioritised research areas”.


The second call for applications was launched on 1 April 2019 during the South African-Dutch Joint Working Committee meeting and closed on 7 June 2019. In total 12 universities and 139 individual supervisors from the Netherlands expressed their interest to participate in the jointly funded programme. After the closing deadline, 64 complete applications were received from South African candidates. Following a rigorous selection process, 20 scholarships have been awarded: 13 PhD candidates will undertake full-time PhD studies in the Netherlands and 7 PhD candidates will divide their time between South Africa and the Netherlands to study for a joint degree.

Strong interest

Mervin Bakker, Director of Nuffic Neso South Africa commented: “We are very happy with the strong interest shown by the Dutch universities, as well as the South African candidates and their home universities. It shows the mutual demand for a Dutch-South African PhD programme, as well as the impact of the joint outreach campaign designed to connect supervisors from both countries with interested applicants”.

The next call for applications will be published in the first half of 2020.

Read more about the NRF and Nuffic Doctoral Training Programme.

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