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South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Bursary 2024-2025

South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Bursary 2024-2025

ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDER – SAAO

The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the leading astronomy research institute in South Africa. Established in 1820, it is home to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. The SAAO plays a crucial role in conducting fundamental research in astrophysics and astronomy, providing state-of-the-art facilities for young scientists. It also actively promotes these fields through outreach activities and sharing astronomical discoveries and findings.

The SAAO is part of the National Research Foundation and operates under the South African Department of Science and Innovation. While its headquarters are located in Observatory, Cape Town, it has research and observation stations in Sutherland, Northern Cape, where various telescopes, including SALT, are located.

ABOUT THE SAAO SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME – FIELDS COVERED

The SAAO offers the SALT-SAAO Scholarship for the 2024-2025 academic year, covering MSc and PhD degree studies. The scholarship is available for projects related to astronomy and instrumentation, including observational and theoretical aspects of stellar and extragalactic astronomy, astronomical instrumentation, and computer modeling.

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SCHOLARSHIP VALUE AND COVERAGE

The scholarship’s value depends on the level of study:

  • MSc level students will receive R180,000 per annum.
  • PhD level students will receive R190,000 per annum.

The scholarship covers the following expenses:

  • Tuition fees
  • Support for travel and equipment
  • On-site accommodation (may be considered)

SAAO will award a maximum of two scholarships at each study level. The scholarship covers two years for MSc students and three years for PhD students. SAAO reserves the right not to make an award if suitable candidates are not found.

SELECTION AND OBLIGATIONS

Scholars will be selected based on various criteria, including academic merit, motivation, aptitude for research, transformation considerations, and the outcome of the interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend interviews, which will take place in August or September . Successful candidates will receive offers by the end of September .

Before the scholarship is awarded, successful candidates must provide proof of registration from their university, agreed upon with their supervisor, and sign the SAAO student memorandum of understanding (MoU). Scholars are required to:

  • Submit a progress report each year.
  • Participate in the Postgraduate Advisory Committee process to ensure sufficient progress.
  • Spend at least 60% of their time at SAAO.
  • Visit their host university a minimum of once a year.
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ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SAAO SCHOLARSHIP

Applicants must meet the following minimum entry criteria:

  • Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents in South Africa, but students of ANY nationality can apply.
  • Eligibility to register for MSc or PhD studies in Astrophysics in 2024-2025.
  • Eligibility to study at a South African university.
  • A background in astrophysics.
  • MSc candidates must have completed a BSc Honours degree or an equivalent degree.
  • PhD candidates must have completed an MSc degree or have approval to upgrade to a PhD.
  • Ability to complete studies within the minimum timeframe (2 years for MSc and 3 years for PhD).
  • Application for a specific project and discussion with the supervisor before applying.

HOW TO APPLY FOR THE SAAO SCHOLARSHIP

To apply for the SAAO Scholarship, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the following documents (all documents must be certified copies):
  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Academic transcripts
  1. Compile the above documents into a single PDF document.
  2. Submit your application via email to: scholarship@saao.ac.za.
  3. In the email subject line, insert “Your surname, the surname of the project supervisor you are applying for, and the level (MSc or PhD) at which you are applying.”
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Please note:

  • There is no application form to complete; applicants need only submit the listed documents.
  • Two referees must submit their reference letters directly to SAAO via the provided email address, with the applicant’s name in the email subject line.

CLOSING DATE FOR THE SAAO SCHOLARSHIP

The closing date for the SAAO Scholarship is 31 July. Ensure that your application is submitted before this date, as late applications will not be accepted.

CONTACT THE SAAO SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDER

For inquiries related to this scholarship program, please contact the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) directly:

Email: scholarship@saao.ac.za

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