The TWAS-NRF Doctoral Programme is open for international students who want to pursue Ph.D. (or doctoral) research in NRF, South Africa, for the academic years 2021-2022. The program will offer an average monthly allowance intended to cover the expenses of living, such as accommodation, food, and health insurance.

In South Africa, the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) are in collaboration with (TWAS) (The World Academy of Sciences for the development of science in developing countries- to promote science in developing nations through The NRF TWAS Doctoral Fellows. TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowships are available at research institutes in South Africa for a maximum duration of three years. These fellowships are granted to researchers from developing countries (other than South Africa) to enable them to pursue Ph.D. research in the field of natural sciences.

TWAS is the World Academy of Sciences for the development of science in developing nations – it seeks to promote sustainable growth by advancing research, education, diplomacy, policy and. TWAS is a worldwide science academy located in Trieste, Italy.TWAS was established in 1983 by an outstanding team of researchers from developing countries under the leadership of Abdus Salam, the Pakistani scientist, and Nobel laureate. They believed that nations in need, through strengthening their engineering and science, can develop the skills and knowledge to tackle hunger, poverty, disease, and hunger. From the beginning, the Academy was supported by Italian scientists and politicians.

Scholarship Summary

  • Level of Study: PhD
  • Institution(s): National Research Foundation
  • Learn inSouth Africa
  • Program Time: Three years
  • Deadline: July 08, 2024

Courses Offered

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Structural, Cell, and Molecular Biology
  • Biological Systems and Organisms
  • Medical and Health Sciences incl.
  • Neurosciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Astronomy, Space, and Earth Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics

Scholarship Coverage

The TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship will provide the recipient with the following advantages:

  • Partially Cost of Study (PCS) is a source of funding and is expected only to cover the cost of tuition (R30 000 per year)
  • Costs for accommodation up to R101 $ 196 annually per student.
  • NRF will cover the cheapest return economy flight and fees for a visa or study permit for doctoral candidates awarded TWAS-NRF postgraduate degrees.

Eligibility Criteria for TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship

To be eligible for the TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowships, candidates must satisfy the requirements listed below:

  • Required Language: English.
  • Eligible countries: All world countries (non-EU). Click here for this list of eligible countries.
  • cannot be living, studying, or employed within South Africa in 2024;
  • Applicants who have previously been employed or pursuing an academic degree or conducting a study within South Africa and have returned to their home country and are in their home country not more than (2) years are ineligible to apply; eligible to apply.
  • You must have earned an MSc degree in the field of natural sciences.
  • Must have achieved a minimum of 65% marks of a master’s degree to be eligible to apply for doctoral funds;
  • It would help if you permanently enrolled at the South African public university in 2024 and can be based in the institution of your choice. South African public research institutions comprising Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Science Councils, and National Research Facilities;
  • Must be at least 32 years old at the time of the 31st day of December in an application year;
  • Must provide proof of assessment of any foreign qualification (obtained from universities outside South Africa) assessed at SAQA. South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) or evidence of the applicant submitting their capabilities to SAQA for assessment. In the event of not submitting proof, it is a cause for the application to be denied. More information about the process is available by logging onto;
  • Must comply with the visa requirements and the immigration law of the home country and South Africa. The applicant is required to arrange for the application for a Visa or study permit as per the program for studying within South Africa. The NRF nor TWAS is responsible for assisting with visa arrangements. However, NRF will pay for the cheapest return economy flights as well as fees for a visa or study permit for doctoral candidates who apply through NRF-TWAS;
  • Must return to the home country upon the conclusion of their studies. Students who do not return to their country of origin will be responsible for paying back that amount of NRF equivalent to the amount of support for the studies they’ve received.
  • They are only able to conduct research in Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) disciplines, as the NRF-TWAS Ph.D. funds support only these disciplines:
  • do not accept other assignments during the duration of their fellowship
  • You must provide an official document of the study program and an acceptance letter from the hosting South African institution, department, or laboratory.
  • Provide a reason for the doctoral supervisor who is a candidate. The responsibility lies with the prospective doctoral candidate to reach out to the institution to request acceptance and to obtain an appropriate supervisor to conduct the postgraduate studies.
  • Provide an English document of language proficiency (if available before application). If this is not provided, it will be required before any NRF funds are released to the student. The student must meet the specifications in the English Language Proficiency Academic test IELTS 6.5 (no band lower than 6.0) or the TOEFL (paper) 575 (TWE 4.5) or TOEFL EBIT (min. 20) and Cambridge at least 58. Information about the IELTS tests can be obtained through the British Council in the applicant’s home country or at More information regarding the TOEFL test is available on The applicants can contact the British Council in their home country for help.
  • Present a complete research proposal that must be acknowledged and approved by the hosting institution. Include a letter of support from the supervisor of the host institution in question;
  • Provide the official record of your academics, which is on the letterhead of the institution;
  • Be financially responsible for family members who accompany them.

How to Apply for TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship?

Please follow the below instructions for applying for the TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowships:

Stage 1:

Application for admission to South African Institutions

Candidates must contact institutions located in South Africa or potential supervisors for a place in the doctoral training program. Visit this page for information on accredited HEIs and other Public Research Institutions.

  • The applicant must submit an official statement from their home South African institution, department, or laboratory, along with a letter of motivation from the host institution. It is their responsibility to candidates to reach out to the institution to request acceptance. Additionally, the applicant also should find a supervisor for the research;
  • The research proposal must be approved and registered with the institution of the host (a letter of backing by the supervisor who is a potential candidate should be included with the application).
  • Universities will establish their cut-off dates for applicants, and applicants must stick to these dates.

Application to evaluate foreign qualifications issued by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Candidates must possess all international qualifications (obtained from universities outside South Africa) assessed through SAQA. South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). The proof that an applicant submitted their capability for evaluation by SAQA must be included in the application. If not, the application will be denied.

Candidates are advised to begin the process earlier to allow enough time for processing. Details on the process are available through Then, on the SAQA website, go to Service, the section titled Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications – General Information. Candidates must adhere to all directions and submit all relevant documents to prevent delays and the rejection of applications. The applicants are advised to forward all required documents in advance to SAQA direct.

Stage 2:

Submitting your application

Applicants must apply for the NRF – TWAS Doctoral Fellowship for 2024 by accessing the link: on the NRF Online application system.

After logging in, follow the step-by-step instructions provided in the “Application and Funding Guide for the 2024 academic year” step-by-step. You can view as well download the document below on this webpage.

Make sure that you must apply after your application’s completion.

The application deadline is July 08, 2024. However, universities will establish their application cut-off dates, and applicants must adhere to those deadlines.

Applications will not be accepted beyond the time limit. Therefore, submitting your application electronically as soon as possible is suggested.

  • The call for application, where you will find the program information, eligibility requirements, the required documents and certifications, and the online application form, will be available when the call is open. Candidates should know that NRF and TWAS cannot accept applications made through any other method except our online application platform.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered, nor will those not meet qualifications.
  • Contact the postgraduate or research office with questions concerning institutional processes or deadlines.
  • Questions regarding the solicitation for applications to the TWAS NRF Fellowships programs are to be directed to the addresses below:


For more information about The TWAS NRF Doctoral Fellowship, visit their official website:

Official Website

Categories: Scholarships


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