Stellenbosch University
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Strategic doctoral partnership with University of Groningen
Author: SU International
Published: 20/08/2020

​Working towards comprehensive internationalisation, Stellenbosch University (SU) has over 300 bilateral partnerships with like-minded institutions across the globe. This has been achieved through functional engagement, active collaboration and mutually beneficial, complementary, reciprocal and transformational relationships. One of SU's valued partners is the University of Groningen (UG) in the Netherlands.

To ensure that the existing partnership between SU and UG keeps pace with changing circumstances, the two institutions are currently re-evaluating and redesigning their collaboration agreement. From SU's perspective, the aim is to focus on priority actions that would contribute to the University's strategic goals. Over the period 2021 to 2023, the focus of the partnership will be on increasing the number of joint degrees between SU and UG, enabling “talent travel", and encouraging postdoctoral students' participation in joint research programmes.

On 30 June, the two universities met online to develop the strategic joint PhD initiative and discuss measures to build on their existing collaboration, particularly in the field of medicine and health sciences. Funding mechanisms will be developed jointly, with a concerted effort to identify candidates based on existing research collaboration.

In South Africa, increasing the number and quality of doctoral degrees is a national priority, which should be well served by this joint PhD initiative. The project will also offer the added benefits of co-supervision and improved supervisory capacity, and will enable postdoctoral exchanges. While the two partners will be dedicating financial support to the initiative, research groups at SU are also encouraged to seek additional funding on their own. Researchers may also access the Nuffic Neso joint PhD scholarship programme of the National Research Foundation (NRF), which could enable more students to take up the SU–UG opportunity.

For further information on the NRF scholarship opportunity, click here. To find out more about SU's partnership with UG, contact