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SU pays tribute to beloved microbiologist, Doug Rawlings

Stellenbosch University's (SU) Professor Douglas (Doug) E Rawlings (68), one of South Africa's foremost microbiologists, passed away on the 2nd of May 2020 after suffering a heart attack. Read more here

IFR director secures prestigious Club of Rome membership

Dr Morné Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, is set to engage with prominent scientists and other eminent global thought leaders from around the world after he was accepted as a full member of the renowned international think-tank, the Club of Rome (CoR). Read more here


CST researchers invited to join the Club of Rome

Professor Mark Swilling, Co-Director of the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) and Dr Rika Preiser, Senior Researcher in Complexity Theory, in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, will continue their engagement with prominent scientists and other eminent global thought leaders from around the world following their acceptance as full members of the renowned international think-tank, the Club of Rome (CoR). Read more here

Another international FLAIR grant for SU engineering researcher

A Stellenbosch University researcher and lecturer has managed to secure more research funding through the FLAIR (Future Leaders – African Independent Research) Collaboration Grant after she was selected by the Royal Society as one of 30 scientists in Africa for the international FLAIR  research fellowship in 2019. Read more here

EMS postdoctoral fellow wins international data science challenge

Dr Cobus Burger, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Economics, was named the winner of an international data science challenge aimed at helping the South African government reduce road accident fatalities. Read more here

NRF rating outcomes

Stellenbosch University currently (April 2020) has 486 rated researchers.  Stellenbosch University currently has 14 A-rated, 115 B-rated, 266 C-rated, 89 Y-rated and 2 P-rated researchers.

The categories are defined as follows:
  • A: Leading international scholar
  • B: Internationally acclaimed researchers
  • C: Established researchers with a sustained record of productivity
  • Y: Promising young researchers
  • P: Young researchers who are considered likely to become future leaders in their field
The outcomes from the 31 January 2019 submissions yielded 27 researchers who received a rating for the first time and 17 researchers whose ratings were re-evaluated. Amongst those evaluated, two researchers received A-ratings.
Professor Dieter Heiss, who is an Emeritus Professor within the department of Physics, has received an A-rating for the first time. Prof Heiss received the A-rating based on his world-class work on non-Hermitian photonics.
Professor Cornelius Van der Merwe, who is a senior research fellow within in the department of Private Law, has received an A-rating for the third time, consecutively.  Professor Van der Merwe received his A-rating based on his outstanding work on Sectional titles and Property Law.

Research Outputs

SU produced a record number of articles during the 2018 publication round (outputs of 2018 were submitted for subsidies to the DHET in 2019). Of the 1501 article units (2016: 1 381; 2017: 1 511), 88 % were published in journals appearing in one or more of the DHET-accredited international indices. SU also produced the third highest number of total publication outputs for the sector (after UKZN and UP) as well as the highest number of units awarded for books for the sector. In terms of research productivity SU had the second highest number of research outputs per capita after UP (1.64 vs UP’s 1.71) and the third highest weighted research output per capita at 3,19, with UP at 3,7 and UKZN at 3.33.
The Division for Research Development (DRD) at Stellenbosch University has a message for all our researchers and postgraduate students! We miss you and we are still here to support you in your research! We are your quaranteam! 

Research in a time of COVID-19

At SU, we use our research expertise to change society for the better and to make a significant and lasting impact in the world. When we adopted our new Strategic Framework 2019 – 2024 and Vision 2040 in 2018, we made it clear that we want to become Africa’s leading research-intensive university where knowledge is used in service of society. For this reason, we have identified Research for Impact as one of our six major institutional strategic themes. Through our continued investment in research, we have positioned ourselves well to respond to events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our researchers, both established and emerging, have thus far made a valuable contribution in terms of addressing the challenges that our country faces right now. They have been working tirelessly to help meet the health-related needs of our people and to curb the spread of the virus. Some have looked at ways to improve sterilisation in the food and beverage industries as well as in medicine; to reduce respiratory viral infections associated within public transport; to develop models to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 in African countries. Others have turned bread into hand sanitisers; printed 3D ventilator parts and protective gear for health workers; and volunteered for the CrowdFight COVID-19 initiative in South Africa. Some of our academics are also producing opinion editorials on topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Click here for a list of COVID-19 related research projects and selected opinion pieces by SU academics.

In response to the current global Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the significant number of SU Covid19 projects that were submitted to us in response to our previous request for information in this regard, Prof Eugene Cloete has now earmarked part of his 2020 discretionary fund to stimulate urgent research and innovation activities in this area. Researchers were requested to submit proposals (submission date 4 May 2020). This call is open across all faculties, and that project proposals can be related to a wide variety of issues affected by the current pandemic, our understanding of it, and assisting with the local and global responses to it. The fund will serve as seed funding/co-funding of larger expensive research projects. A maximum of R100,000 per project can be allocated.

To assess the financial- and contractual risks on the research offering of SU via research grants and -contracts, the DRD has launched an impact assessment survey to determine the impact of business discontinuity due to the Covid-19 national lockdown (and subsequent ripple effect), over a 3 months vs a 12 months period. This survey is closing on 30 April and the reports will be made available to Top Management and Deans by 15 May 2020. This will inform Top Management and Deans’ strategic decision-making capabilities in allocating available funds to the most pressing areas of concern, as well as allow SU to negotiate with funders to assist continuance with the research offering.

The research ethics committees of the university were all able to seamlessly continue their work despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and linked national lockdown. The committees all held virtual meetings and applications for Covid-19 research was dealt with through expedited procedures. Applications for amendments to existing projects, due to the requirements for social distancing, were also expedited. The ethics offices expanded their online offer of research ethics training and also shared general tools for online data collection methods and tips.

The Postgraduate Office (PGO) integrates relevant learning courses, capacity-building workshops, seminars and postgraduate group interactions into its regular offering on an ongoing basis, in order to help postgraduate students take charge of their research journey in a supported manner. During COVID-19, the PGO has managed to keep supporting postgraduate students virtually and compiled a range of helpful tips and resources to help students continue to progress during lockdown.

Postgraduate students can access additional online resources under the PGO’s SUNLearn
online training module. The resources housed under this module currently include a new research ethics podcast series, covering basic ethical principles and important information to consider when carrying out one’s research; an academic writing integrity course on avoiding plagiarism; and videos that cover tips and guidance on good academic writing.
The PGO is further working to adapt the face-2-face workshop offering for the second half of 2020 and expanding the animated series on writing and ethics.

SU and local biotech company tackle COVID-19 together

Stellenbosch University (SU) in South Africa and AzarGen Biotechnologies (Pty) Ltd, a South African biotechnology company focused on developing human therapeutic proteins using advanced genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques in plants, have joined forces in the global fight against the coronavirus. Read more here

The Stellenbosch University Open 4 Research funding portal for the identification of international research funding opportunities.

How to use the Open 4 Research platform:

  • Link to https://www.open4research.eu/stellenbosch
  • Register once off with your @sun email address and use any password
  • Use the “Search for funding” and/or “Browse funding” options for a wide range of funding opportunities
  • For some of the most recent research funding opportunities highlighted by Open 4 Research, refer to “News” or “Funding news”
  • Refer to “Help & advice” for more details on how to search
  • For enquiries, please contact research@sun.ac.za or dominiquem@sun.ac.za
   SU International  *     Postgraduate Office  * Library and Information Services
National Research Foundation Scholarship Call 2021​
The NRF Postgraduate Call for 2021 is currently open for Honours, Masters and Doctoral funding for Full-time students not in salaried employment (contractual or permanent) while studying.
The NRF minimum academic requirement for postgraduate funding is 65%. Applicants for honours, masters and doctoral funding must be 28, 30 and 32 years of age or younger respectively in the year of application. Successful applicants will be funded either at Full Cost of Study (FCS) or Partial Cost of Study (PCS). The FCS funding will be awarded to South African citizens and permanent residents only, who are either financially needy (i.e., those whose combined household family income is less or equal to R350 000 per annum), living with a disability or exceptional academic achievers. However, the PCS funding will be awarded to 5% of international students including South African citizens and permanent residents who could not be funded under FCS but meet other minimum requirements for the NRF scholarship funding criteria. 
Funding Opportunity

First-time Masters Scholarships (Including SARAO Masters Scholarships)

First-time Doctoral Scholarships (Including SARAO Doctoral Scholarships)

Honours Scholarships

SARAO Honours Scholarships
SU Internal Closing date                       Contact person
Thursday, 18 June 2020                           Rozelle Petersen 

Friday, 03 July 2020                                 Rozelle Petersen 

Friday, 30 October 2020                          Nugent Lewis 

Monday, 03 August 2020                        Nugent Lewis 
For more detailed information, please click here

Keep track of wonderful opportunities on offer to postgraduate students at SU. The Postgraduate Times collates information on postgraduate skills development events and opportunities, e.g. workshops designed to enhance postgraduate careers and important resources to add to postgraduate student success. 
To view our Postgraduate Times Newsletter click here
Subscribe to the Library Research News blog

Did you know that the Library has a blog on library research support services? Subscribe to the blog to receive new posts in your inbox. This will also be an easy way to stay up to date with important news on research related products and services. Some of the recent blog posts were about resources available during the COVID-19 outbreak, #SmartResearcher workshops presented online and research data services.

Is your profile updated on the SU Knowledge Directory?

The aim of the SU Knowledge Directory is to make information about the expertise of our researchers more accessible by means of a web console which will feature on the SU website.  

Click here to read more.

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