​Centre for Global Surgery​​


National Research Foundation PhD Student Bursary in Global Surgery


The National Research Foundation (NRF) has awarded a doctoral grant for research focused in global surgery to identify transfer delays to operative treatment of acute appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy in the Western Cape. This bursary aims to recruit a talented candidate to pursue a PhD in this topic starting in 2020.

The degree can be obtained from any South African university. The candidate will be supervised by Professor Kathryn Chu, the Director of the Centre for Global Surgery located in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University, and can be co-supervised by a faculty member from other universities or departments. The PhD can be obtained in any discipline with an interest in or relevance to global surgery, for example, community health, public health, epidemiology, heath system strengthening, health policy, nursing, family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology.

The topic will focus on appendicitis and its outcomes in the Western Cape, including the risk factors or barriers contributing to delayed patient presentation and definitive operative treatment. However, the PhD can be further customized to fit the candidate's interests in global health issues.

Requirements and qualifications

  • South African citizenship.
  • A master's degree in Public Health, Epidemiology, an MMED, or equivalent.
  • Prior experience in global public health and health systems research, data analysis, and scientific writing.
  • Experience in STATA, SAS, SPSS, or R.
  • Candidates must have a strong work ethic and the ability to function in a multicultural environment, manage projects, and work independently.
  • Applicants from previously disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
  • Research and/ or professional experience in global surgery is highly desirable.
  • A track record of published research is preferred but not required.
  • Knowledge of ArcGIS or other GIS related software a plus.
  • Willingness to be based in Cape Town is preferred but not required.

Commencement, duration, and funding
Commencement: 2020 (start date flexible)
Duration: 2020-2021. Renewal for the second year and subsequent years will be considered on evidence of satisfactory academic progress.
Bursary: R120,000 per annum funded by National Research Foundation. The bursary is in accordance with the SARS Guidelines and is tax exempt.

Application procedure and questions

All applications should include:

  1. A letter of motivation stating the applicant's areas of expertise, research interests, and experience.
  2. A curriculum vitae, including a list of publications.
  3. One or two reference letters from academics, who have taught, supervised, or worked alongside the applicant.

Please direct all applications and queries to Professor Kathryn Chu at kchu@sun.ac.za​ or mailing: 

Professor Kathryn Chu,
Stellenbosch University, 
Department of Global Health, 
PO Box 241, 
Cape Town, 

Stellenbosch University strives to be a welcoming campus that makes all students, staff, and visitors feel at home. Stellenbosch University is committed to creating a
multicultural and inclusive environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment irrespective of origin, ethnicity, language, gender identity or expression, religious and political conviction, social class, disability, or sexual orientation.

The closing deadline is 5pm, Friday 7 March 2020.