There are various funding opportunities for which students can apply to support their studies at the NWU. Candidates are advised to secure additional support, as the bursaries or scholarships are only a contribution and do not always cover the full costs of a postgraduate student.

Please note the following: 

  • There are downloadable PDF documents that vary in file size available on this page.
  • Some funding calls may have an internal closing date (which is always earlier than the call closing date) PLEASE ADHERE TO THE INTERNAL CLOSING DATE
  • Applicants should view and read call documents and guidelines thoroughly before submitting an application
  • If you have any questions, there are dedicated staff members in the Research Support department to assist you

Below is a list of different funding opportunities that are available to those candidates who comply with the minimum requirements.

NEOFrontiers: Virtual Consultations - 2 December, 09:00 - 12:00

NEOFrontiers is the new SANSA/DSI earth observation R&D funding programme, managed by the NRF. SANSA invites the EO community to an open consultation on R&D priorities for the 2022 call.

Register here...

SAIRA - Open Innovation Hub: Parner search - EU-China international cooperation

HORIZON-CL6-2022-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-03. EU-China international cooperation on nature-based solutions for nutrient management in agriculture


International grants

Call for nominations: 2021/2022 NSTF-South32 Awards

Register nominations online by 10 December 2021.

More information...

VLIR-UOS scholarships for master's 2022 - closing date: 1 March 2022

VLIR-UOS contributes to generating future changemakers by providing scholarships for relevant, high-quality English-taught educational programmes in Flanders and Brussels. There are 15 international master’s programmes (ICPs) that have been selected for the academic year 2022-2023.

Together with the launch of our new five-year programme, each selected ICP Connect Master’s programme will be part of a new conceptual framework from next academic year onwards to ensure systematic integration of global perspectives and a strong international dimension.

Discover all relevant information about the scholarship offer, the individual master’s programmes, the eligibility and selection criteria, and inspiring videos and scholarship reviews on the new ICP Scholarship call page.

Candidates from 29 scholarship countries can apply to the call until 1 March 2022.

Call for proposals: Inclusive Community-based Research (SAASTA) - closing date: 17 December

The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) in partnership with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) would like to invite South African universities to submit proposals in response to the grant call for facilitating inclusive community-based research under a science shop model. The grant call is managed by SAASTA, a business unit of the National Research Foundation, which is responsible for the national coordination of the DSI science engagement programmes.


United Nations-Japan postgraduate study on Nano-Satellite Technologies (PNST) Fellowship Programme 2022 - closing date: 10 January 2022

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Government of Japan in cooperation with the Kyushu Institute of Technology are inviting suitable candidates to apply for the United Nations/Japan Long-term Fellowship Programme on Nano-Satellite Technologies for academic year 2022.

The Postgraduate study on Nano-Satellite Technologies (PNST) Fellowship Programme will provide extensive research opportunities in nano-satellite systems using the nano-satellite development and testing facilities available at Kyutech. The programme is targeting nationals of developing countries or non-space-faring nations including South Africa.

Annually, the Programme accepts up to three students in the Master's Programme (2 years duration) and up to three students in the Doctoral Programme (3 years duration). The successful candidates will enroll in the Space Engineering International Course delivered in English after passing an official entrance examination by the Graduate School of Kyushu Institute of Technology.

The deadline for submitting applications is 10 January 2022, 23:00 JST.

The Fellowship will cover the following:

  • Enrollment fee
  • Entrance examination fees
  • Tuition fees
  • Monthly allowance of about 144,000 JPY (approximately R18 760) to cover housing, food, local transportation, and other expenses
  • Economy class airfare from home country

More information...

NRF | RISA Call for applications for evaluation and rating - closing date: 31 January 2022

The NWU internal closing date for this call is 31 January 2022. All applications must be submitted to the NWU Research Support Department on the NRF online submission system by this date. Applicants who will not submit their applications before/on internal closing date should advice on when it will be suitable for them to submit their applications.
The Research Support Department will provide on-going support with the NRF online submission system during the application process. You may contact Funanani Lavhelani or Prof Nnenesi Kgabi should you require any assistance. A consultation meeting is planned between the Research Support Department and the applicants, after which Deputy Deans will also provide support in terms of the faculty support strategies.
Applicants who wish to make use of the opportunity should contact Funanani Lavhelani to schedule appointments with an experienced Research Consultant.
The table below indicates the submission schedule:


Responsible person/s


One-on-one session with potential applicants

Funanani Lavhelani, external consultant and / or mentors appointed by faculties

10 December 2021

First submission of applications to the NRF online submission system (in prep for the internal review)


31 January 2022

Internal review of applications

Faculties take care of internal review process according in terms of their own internal strategies

1-16 February 2022

Feedback from the panels to applicants


17-18 February 2022

Final submission of applications


25 February 2022

Open grants

Click here for current open grants.

International scholarships: Sub-Saharan Africa, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Hungary, Germany and Switzerland

TU Delft Sub-Saharan Africa Excellence Scholarship - closing date: 12 December

The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands is offering the Sub-Saharan Africa Excellence Scholarship. TU Delft is a technical university with a leading global reputation. Our education and research encompasses virtually the full range of high-quality disciplines, courses and unique facilities in the engineering sciences.


BRICS multilateral call for pre-proposals

The BRICS STI Framework Programme aims to support excellent research on priority areas which can best be addressed through a multinational approach. The initiative should facilitate cooperation among the researchers and institutions in the consortia which consist of partners from at least three of the BRICS countries. As part of the initiative the following 12 research funding agencies from the BRICS countries have agreed to jointly establish a new scheme for funding multilateral collaborative research consortia for 2022 – 2024 years.

  1. Brazil: National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq)
  2. Russia: Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MSHE)
  3. India: Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science and Technology (DST)
  4. China: Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
  5. South Africa: Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), National Research Foundation (NRF), South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Water Research Commission (WRC)

The NRF will support interdisciplinary research projects submitted only within the following 5 BRICS themes:
-  Transient astronomical events and deep survey science.
-  HPC and big data for sustainable development: solving large scale ecological, climate and pollution problems.
-  Materials science and nanotechnology for addressing environmental, climate change, agricultural, food and energy issues.
-  Renewable energy, including smart grid integration.
-  Ocean and polar science and technology.

South African researchers interested in submitting applications within the other five BRICS themes should apply directly to the other South African funders mentioned above.

Applicants must submit their pre-proposals (mandatory) directly to the BRICS Call Secretariat. The Project Coordinator must submit the pre-proposal Joint Application Form (JAF) to the BRICS Call Secretariat through the online BRICS STI Framework Programme Application Management System (BRICS AMS) at The JAF must be completed in English. Only 1 JAF should be submitted per project consortium.

The NRF Online Submission System ( will be open only to those researchers who have been approved to submit a full proposal.  
Key dates:
Applicants who will be able to submit full proposals, will be notified when the call opens. The deadline for DA submission to the NRF is Monday, 28 February 2022, 23:59:59 hours SAST
-  South African researchers must consult their institutions for internal closing dates.
-  Applications received after the abovementioned closing dates will not be considered for review and for funding by both the BRICS Call Secretariat and the NRF.

Applicants are encouraged to follow the link: for further details on the application process (including the NRF eligibility criteria and funding regulations).
NRF Contacts:
Ms Nombuso Madonda
Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS)
Tel: +27 12 481 4285

Open call 2021 and information webinar: Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Call for citizens of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Namibia and Mauritius is open until 15 December 2021.

The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are aimed at young researchers from abroad who have completed a master’s degree or PhD.

Three different types of fully funded scholarships are offered starting in September 2022 in all academic fields:

  1. PhD Scholarships
    - The scholarship is valid for 12 months and renewable for a maximum of 3 years
    - Applicants should have a master’s degree or equivalent university degree recognised by a Swiss University.
    - The applicant must not be older than 35 years at the time of application (born after 31 December 1986)
  2. Postdoctoral Scholarships
    - The scholarship is valid for 12 months and renewable for a maximum of 6 months.
    - The applicants should have a PhD degree.
    - There cannot be a gap of more than 5 years between the award of the PhD and the application deadline (PhD degree achieved after 31 December 2018 and before 31 July 2022)
  3. Research Scholarships
    - The scholarship is intended for highly qualified postdoctoral researchers from all academic fields as well as young medical doctors.
    - The scholarship is valid for 12 months maximum and non-renewable.
    - The applicant should have a master’s degree or equivalent
    - The applicant must not be older than 35 years at the time of application (born after 31 December 1986)

The Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students assesses scholarship applications according to three criteria:

a) Candidate profile
b) Quality of the research project or artistic work
c) Synergies and potential for future research cooperation

Funding from the Swiss Confederation
The following expenses are funded through the scholarships:

  • Stipend: Postdoctoral research: CHF 3500/month
  • Stipend: PhD and Research scholarship: CHF 1920/month
  • Mandatory Swiss health insurance
  • One-time lump sum of CHF 300.- with the first grant payment to help for payment of the housing deposit.
  • Flight allowance (lump sum) for a ticket back to their country of origin (provided at the end of the scholarship).
  • One-year half-fare public transportation card.

For more information, please visit: and

To enquire the full application package, please contact the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa by email:

Southern African Artificial Intelligence Conference: Artificial Intelligence for Science, Technology and Society (SACAIR2021)

SACAIR2021 will be hosted from 6 to 10 December 2021 at the Simbithi Country Club, Simbithi Eco-Estate, Dolphin Coast, KwaZulu-Natal.

SACAIR2020 is the third international conference focused on Artificial Intelligence hosted by the Centre for AI Research (CAIR) – and the second to be held under the SACAIR brand.

The programme includes an unconference for students on 6 December 2021 (a student-driven event for students to interact with each other as well as with sponsors and other possible employers), a day of tutorials on 7 December 2021 and the main conference from 8 – 10 December 2021.

View the following:

Available bursaries


FMCSA Ford Bursary


Open now – no deadline reflected


Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) helps the youth of South Africa make their dreams for a bright future come true by providing invaluable practical experience in the workplace every year. FMCSA will provide a sponsorship to top final year students to complete their academic qualifications. Bursary students may be considered for the Graduate Trainee Program once they have successfully completed their studies.

Focus areas

For Studies In
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Undergraduate / Post Graduate

Qualification: National Diploma

Grant amount



Applications must be emailed to:
The email subject line should read: “Bursary: Industrial Engineering” or “Bursary: Mechanical Engineering”


UCDG 2021: Advancing higher degree qualifications of emerging researchers

Herewith the guidelines and application form for funding made available in support of the completion of master's and doctoral degrees of NWU staff members.

Target Group: full-time, permanently employed / fixed-term appointments with benefits, registered for a first master's/doctoral degree, who has not received this previously for the same degree/level and with the intension to submit for examination in 2021.

Kindly note that funds will have to be spend in the funding year i.e. 2021. Unspent funds will be written back and accounts will be closed. If this is not achievable, applications should rather be submitted in the following round (2022).

The signed application form, after obtaining all relevant signatures, should be returned to the Research Support Office (Mr Melvin Mothoa) as soon as possible.

Mobility Grant for outgoing academic visits in 2021

Kindly receive this call for funding (maximum R40 000/applicant) made available in support of the enhancement of research profiles of emerging and established researchers/academic staff members - specifically to obtain / improve their NRF rating status in the near future.

Priority will be given to first-time applicants and candidates with the intent to apply in the upcoming round (Feb 2022) after which those aiming at subsequent rounds (Feb 2023 and 2024) will be considered.
The signed application form, after obtaining all the relevant signatures, should be submitted to the Research Support Department (MPE Meintjes) as soon as possible.

All academic staff: Invitation to apply for SoTL funding

Click here to

UCDG 2021 Advancing higher degree qualifications of emerging researchers (DHET)

Click here to

Funding opportunities from the Fogarty International Center at NIH

NIH funding opportunities for which foreign organisations, foreign components of US organisations and/or other foreign components may apply:

Invitation to register details in African Scientists Directory

With funding from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) of South Africa, the International Science Council (ISC) Regional Office for Africa (ROA), in collaboration with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the African Academy of Science (AAS), the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and the World Academy of Sciences Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Partner (TWAS-SAREP) have developed an African Scientists Directory. This directory is generally envisaged to serve as a dynamic platform that contains information on African experts in the natural and social sciences, humanities, engineering and mathematics, residing within and outside the continent, which would make it easy to identify, engage and co-design as well as carry out research across disciplines, countries and regions of the continent and beyond.
In essence, it is an online database, hosted on the ASSAf server and self-operable using the link: Access is open to scientists from all categories with a doctorate or equivalent qualification.
With this background, we invite you to help us create a vibrant and well-connected African science community through registering your details in this directory to among others collaborate, build trust, increase impact and connect.
Please be advised that registration is free of charge and personal information such as your email address and phone number/s will not be displayed and shared with any third party. Initial contact between listed scientists will be done by means of an electronic form and the scientist is at liberty to accept or decline any opportunities sent to him/her.
You are welcome to reach out to Ms Bongiwe Zwane at should you have any questions or require assistance in this regard.


All students who received funding for master’s or doctoral degrees need to provide the NRF with information regarding their completed degree, as stated in the M&D agreement form that all grant holders sign before the NRF funds are released.