NRF Postgraduate Scholarships Road Show
The National Research Foundation (NRF) recently held a series of information sessions on the Howard College, Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses on how to apply for postgraduate funding in 2020.
Funding is earmarked for honours/BTech, master’s and doctoral candidates wanting to pursue studies in the areas of science, engineering, technology, social sciences and humanities.
The Westville campus was packed to the brim with students wanting to find out more on how to apply for the scholarships which they heard all about in a presentation by NRF Grants Management and Systems Administration Director, Mrs Thashni Pillay, who highlighted the programme’s targets and performances, key changes to the online applications system, scorecards for assessments, and timeframes for all cut-off dates.
Over the past two years, the NRF has embarked on a process to simplify its administration process by streamlining application templates and Open Call process. The NRF receives R1 billion from the government for funding and in turn is required to monitor the maximum number of applications submitted, the reviewing of applications, and the application of the ministerial guidelines target at each level of study.
‘The competition is tougher now that students are competing at a national level for funding rather than university level,’ Pillay said. ‘With the new system, the NRF takes decisions on funding instead of using block funding (previously awarded by universities) which is now falling away.
A few changes have been made to the application process, simplifying the application requirements for master’s and doctoral students. The different closing dates (for the different study levels) will also enable students to receive the outcome of their applications by December 2019 and their funding at the start of the 2020 academic year. Successful applicants will receive Grant Conditions which need to be read carefully, signed and returned to the NRF promptly,’ she said.
Students are encouraged to use the General Application Guide 2020 when applying, ensuring that they have applied for the correct level of study, their applications are complete, all required documents have been uploaded and that they have submitted their applications on time. ‘At a national level, we receive over 8 000 applications and we cannot go back to ask for missing or incorrect information,’ said Pillay. ‘So make sure your application is up to date or it will be rejected.’
Students wanting to apply for NRF postgraduate scholarships should visit the organisation’s website at www.nrf.ac.za/bursaries/calls
Queries about the scholarships can be directed to Mr Abongile Mpofu at email@example.com or Ms Hlengiwe Zondo at firstname.lastname@example.org at the UKZN Scholarships Office.
Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela