Call for Doctoral Scholarships for Research using a Systems Analysis Methodology

In collaboration with IIASA, the NRF is pleased to announce the second call for a three-year Doctoral bursary in any field, but with a Systems Analysis methodology and approach being applied to the research topic. 



The Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC) that was launched in November 2011 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 initiative 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 has dedicated three-year bursaries for South African and Africa 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 15 South African citizens and 5 African PhD students based at South African universities.
  • A two-month capacity development intervention during the early stage of their PhD studies.
  • Supervision by experienced South African/African and IIASA scientists/Alumni, 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.
  • Opportunities for research publications in internationally accredited/ recognised scientific journals in collaboration with IIASA and senior South African scientists.
  • Exposure to international research through engagements with national and international experts participating in the programme and seminar series.
  • Exposure to local, national, regional and international research programmes.
  • Opportunities to build long-lasting collaborative contacts with the senior supervisors and with other programme participants.

 Applying to the SASAC Programme

This Call for Doctoral Bursaries is aimed at NEW doctoral students from South Africa and Africa who plan to pursue Doctoral studies at any public university in South Africa in 2017. The call allows for applicants to register at any university in South Africa, in collaboration with their supervisor. The eligibility criteria for these bursaries are as follows:

  • Supervisors must submit applications on behalf of and in consultation with their students;
  • A supervisor can apply for a maximum of 2 students in this programme/call;
  •  The PhD proposal must clearly be aligned to IIASA’s research programmes and DST’s research priority areas;
  •  Students must be eligible to be admitted for PhD-level studies, for commencement in January 2017;
  • Proof of registration for a PhD programme should be provided by 20 February 2017 for NEW students;
  • Currently registered PhD students who will be in the first six months of a PhD programme by January 2017, will be considered;
      Only students registered or intending to register on a full-time basis will be considered for selection;
  • 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: participate in the 2-week inception meeting to be held in January and in the 5-week programme to be held in the first half of 2017; (ii) for supervisors: participation (for at least 3 days) in the January 2017 inception meeting and another 5 days during the last phase of the capacity development programme in June/July 2017.
  • 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;
  • 20 bursaries of R110 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: 15 September 2016
  • Call closes: 14 October 2016
  • Please note: DAs have until 19 October 2016 to validate applications.

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Last edited: 20 September 2016


Motsakwe Rakgoale

Professional Officer: International Relations and Cooperation

+27 12 481 4297


Sepo Hachigonta

Director: International Relations and Cooperation

+27 12 481 4180


Ulf Dieckmann

Program Director

Evolution and Ecology


Capacity Building and Academic Training

T +43(0) 2236 807 386


14 October 2016



Nkoana E (2018). Community acceptance challenges of renewable energy transition: A tale of two solar parks in Limpopo, South Africa. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 29 (1): 34-40. DOI:10.17159/2413-3051/2018/v29i1a2540.

Klausbruckner C, Hennemann LRF, Rafaj P, & Annegarn H (2018). Chapter 7. Energy Policy, Air Quality, and Climate Mitigation in South Africa: The Case for Integrated Assessment. In: Systems Analysis Approach for Complex Global Challenges. Eds. Mensah, P., Katerere, D., Hachigonta, S. & Roodt, A., pp. 113-138 Heidelberg: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-71485-110.1007/978-3-319-71486-8_7.

Orthofer C, Huppmann D, & Krey V (2018). South Africa’s Shale Gas Resources – Chance or Challenge? Energy Policy (Submitted)

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