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Apply for the TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship 2022 | Fully Funded

The TWAS-NRF Doctoral Programme is open for international students who would like to pursue Ph.D. in research or Ph.D. in NRF, South Africa, for the academic period 2021-2022. The program will offer an annual allowance of a certain amount intended to be used to cover living expenses such as accommodation, food, and health insurance.

The South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) are together (TWAS) the World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries to promote science in developing nations through TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowships. TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowships are available at research institutes in South Africa for a maximum duration of three years. They are given 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 developing science in developing countries – committed to promoting sustainable growth through education, research policies, and diplomacy. TWAS is a worldwide science academy located in Trieste, Italy.TWAS was created in 1983 by a prestigious team of researchers from developing countries under the direction of Abdus Salam, the Pakistani scientist, and Nobel laureate. They believed that nations in need, through strengthening their engineering and science, can acquire the expertise and know-how 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, 2022

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

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

  • Partially Cost of Study (PCS) financing and can only cover tuition costs (R30 000 per year)
  • Costs for accommodation up to the maximum amount of R101 196 per year per student.
  • NRF will pay for 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 Fellowship, the candidate must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Required Language: English.
  • Eligible countries: All world countries (non-EU). Click here to see the complete list of eligible countries.
  • should not be studying, living or employed, or studying in South Africa in 2022;
  • Applicants who previously worked or pursued the completion of a degree or studies or research in South Africa and have returned to their home country and have been in their home country longer than (2) years applicants are ineligible to apply; eligible to apply.
  • Must have completed the MSc degree in the field of natural sciences.
  • Must have achieved a minimum average of 65% at the master’s degree to be eligible to apply for doctoral funds;
  • They must be registered at the South African public university in 2023 on the full-time schedule and could be located at the institution of your choice. South African public research institutions comprising Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Science Councils, and National Research Facilities;
  • The applicant must be at least 32 years old on December 31 of an application year;
  • The applicant must provide evidence of the assessment of any foreign qualification (obtained from universities outside South Africa) assessed at SAQA. South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) or proof of the applicant submitting their capabilities to SAQA to be evaluated by SAQA. In event of not submitting evidence, it can result in the application being denied. More information about the process is available by logging onto;
  • Must meet the requirements for visas and immigration regulations of the home country and South Africa. The applicant is required to arrange for a Visa or study permit following the study program within South Africa. Both NRF nor TWAS will be accountable for assisting with visa arrangements. However, NRF will pay for the most affordable return economy flight as well as the cost of a study permit or visa for doctoral candidates who apply through NRF-TWAS;
  • They must return to their homeland after the conclusion of their studies. Students who do not return to their origin will be required to repay that amount of NRF in proportion to the length of time of study assistance they’ve received.
  • Only those who are eligible can pursue research within Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) disciplines since only those disciplines will be supported by the NRF-TWAS Ph.D. support:
  • do not accept other assignments during the duration of their fellowship
  • Provide valid evidence of your application to study and an acceptance letter from a hosting South African institution, department, or laboratory
  • Include a letter of motivation from the supervisor of the doctoral candidate. The responsibility lies with the prospective doctoral candidate to contact the appropriate institution to request acceptance and to find an advisor to conduct the postgraduate studies.
  • Provide an English certification of proficiency in English (if one is available during the application process). If this is not provided, it will be required before any NRF funds can be disbursed to the student. The student must meet the conditions 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. The IELTS test information can be obtained through the British Council in the applicant’s home country or at More information regarding the TOEFL test is available via The applicants can contact the British Council in their home country for help.
  • Present a complete research proposal acknowledged and approved at the host institution. Include a letter of support from the potential supervisor;
  • Make sure you have at least an official academic transcript, which is on the letterhead of the university;
  • Be financially responsible for family members who accompany them.
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How to Apply for TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship?

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 to be placed in the doctoral training program. Visit this page for information on accredited HEIs and other Public Research Institutions.

  • The applicant must submit an official invitation letter issued by the host’s South African institution, department, or laboratory and a motivation letter from the host institution. The responsibility lies with the candidate to contact the relevant institution to make an application for admission. The applicant also must locate a supervisor for the research;
  • The research project has to be approved and registered with the host institution (a letter of approval from the potential supervisor should be attached to the request.
  • Universities set their cut-off dates for applicants, and applicants must stick to these dates.

Application for evaluating foreign qualifications issued by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

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Candidates must possess all international qualifications (obtained from non-South African universities) assessed at SAQA. South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). The proof that applicants have submitted their qualifications for evaluation by SAQA must be included in the application. If not, the application will be denied.

Candidates are advised to begin the process as early as possible to have time to process. Details on the process are available through Then, on the SAQA website, go to Service, the section titled Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications – General Information. The applicants must follow all directions and submit all relevant documents to prevent delays and the rejection of applications. Candidates are advised to forward all documents required for application submission to SAQA directly.

Stage 2:

Submitting your application

Applicants must apply for the NRF – TWAS Doctoral Fellowship for 2023 by accessing the link: on the NRF Online application system.

After logging in, follow the step-by-step instructions provided in the step-by-step “Application and Funding Guide for 2022 academic year”. The guide is available to view and downloads the document by scrolling down the page.

Be sure that you must apply to your application completion.

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The application deadline is July 08, 2022. However, universities will establish their application cut-off dates, and applicants must adhere to those deadlines.

The application process will not take place beyond the time limit. Therefore, submitting your application electronically at the earliest time possible is suggested.

  • The call for applications, where you will find the program information, eligibility criteria, the required documents and certifications, and the online application form, will be available when the application period opens. Candidates should know they are not eligible for the program. NRF and TWAS will not consider applications made through any other method except through an online portal for application.
  • Complete applications will not be considered, nor will those that do not meet the requirements for eligibility.
  • Contact the postgraduate or research office for questions concerning institutional processes or deadlines.
  • Questions regarding the solicitation for applications to the TWAS NRF Fellowships programs can be addressed to the contact details below:


To learn more about The TWAS NRF Doctoral Fellowship, visit the official website:

Official Website

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