Funding opp: UCT – ARUA Collaborative Research projects

Deadline: 15 June 2017 - 12:00am

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), inaugurated in Dakar in March 2015, brings together a network of sixteen leading African universities from countries with different historical backgrounds, but all with a common vision. Aiming to expand and enhance the quality of research done in Africa by African researchers, the network’s institutions will pool their own limited resources to generate a critical mass that will more effectively support their growing numbers of researchers. Underlying this is the conviction that such collaboration would effectively leverage additional resources from outside of Africa and provide a fertile training ground for postgraduates. The ARUA network, of which UCT is a member, consists of:

Addis Abba University

University of Lagos

University of Ibadan

Obafemi Awolowo University

University of Ghana

University of Dar es Salaam

University of Nairobi

University of Rwanda

University of Cheikh Anta Diop

Makerere University

University of Cape Town

University of Witwatersrand

University of Stellenbosch

University of Pretoria

Rhodes University

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Being a founding member of ARUA, UCT is committed to activities and programmes that will help to achieve the network’s objectives. This call aims to establish or strengthen collaborative research projects with non-South African ARUA partners within the following thematic areas:

Climate Change                                                             Poverty and Inequality

Food Security                                                                Unemployment and Skills Development

Non-Communicable Diseases                                        Notions of Identity

Materials development and nanotechnology                  Good Governance

Water conservation                                                        Post-Conflict Societies

Energy                                                                          Urbanisation and Habitable Cities

Mobility and migration

The UCT – ARUA grants consist of a once-off contribution of up to R50,000 towards the running and/or travel costs for the UCT PI of a collaborative research project that includes an ARUA partner located outside SA. Grants may also include a three-year UCT Mobility Doctoral Package to a student whose research is embedded in the collaboration. These UCT Mobility Doctoral Packages consist of a capped contribution to the study and travel costs of a student who is registered for the first year of doctoral study and who works in a department (maximum 12 hours per week) on projects relating to his/her research, and where the supervisor can source further bursary support to ensure that the student holds no less that R150,000 for each year.

In order to simultaneously optimise links with member universities of UCT’s two global research networks of choice (IARU[1] and WUN[2]), three- or even four-way collaborations are encouraged and would be an advantage. However, student mobility supported through the UCT Mobility Doctoral Packages must be between UCT and the ARUA partner.

The ARUA grants aim to:

  1. Initiate or strengthen collaborative research projects between the Principal Investigators (PI) based at UCT and at the partner institution(s) to (i) produce co-authored publications; and / or (ii) train PhD students through the proposed UCT Mobility Doctoral Packages; and / or (iii) jointly leverage external funds through collaborative research proposals.
  2. Give PhD students embedded in the collaborative project the opportunity to advance their research in the context of a collaborative, international partnership and to spend time at the partner university in Africa.
  3. Strengthen international collaboration that might include co-supervision or joint training of PhD students.
  4. Establish two-, three- or four-way partnerships between UCT and ARUA members external to South Africa that might include collaboration with members from the IARU and / or WUN networks.  


  1. Please note that funding is limited and the grants are therefore likely to be highly competitive. There are only 15 research grants for PIs (valued at a maximum of R50,000 each) and six UCT Mobility Doctoral Packages (as described above).
  2. Researchers may apply for the PI grant only, although preference will be given to projects that include the training of PhD students.
  3. A successful PI applicant who still needs to recruit a PhD student may nominate the student after the closing date for project applications (i.e. 15 June 2017).
  4. The UCT Mobility Doctoral Package described here should not to be confused with the UCT PhD Packages (the latter is not available through this call).
  5. A UCT Mobility Doctoral Package and a UCT PhD Package can not be held concurrently.



The UCT Principal Investigator (PI) can be a permanent staff member appointed on academic conditions of employment or joint PGWC/UCT academic staff (excluding registrars), or a contract staff member on condition that the employment contract is valid for the duration of the grant period.

Students nominated for a UCT Mobility Doctoral Package should meet the following criteria:

  • be registered for the first year[3]of full-time doctoral study at the University of Cape Town in 2017;
  • have achieved an excellent Honours (where applicable) degree with a minimum average of 75%;
  • have achieved a good Master’s degree (preferably with distinction); and
  • the proposed PhD project must be embedded in the larger collaboration between the UCT PI and his/her ARUA partner.



The grants are capped as follows:

  • A grant of up to R50,000 per application as a contribution to the PI’s costs. These funds may be used towards running or travel costs.
  • The UCT Mobility Doctoral Package is made up of (i) a PhD scholarship of R86,500 (tuition fees of R17,850 and living costs of R68,650) per annum, for a maximum of three years and (ii) a further once-off award in the form of a Travel Grant of up to R50,000 to assist the student with the cost of travelling to his/her supervisor’s partner institution, or to travel to an international conference to present a paper. The UCT Mobility Doctoral Package will be awarded on the condition that:
    • the academic department in which the student is registered provides the student with part-time employment relating to his / her research for up to a maximum of 12 hours per week; and
    • the academic department assists the student with the sourcing of further bursary support to ensure that the student holds no less than R150,000 for the year.


The following considerations will apply when evaluating applications:

  1. The collaborative project objectives must include a clear indication of proposed research outputs, such as peer-reviewed, co-authored publications or PhD graduates who have some international and collaborative experience.
  2. The PhD project for which funding is sought must be outlined and clearly embedded in the overarching collaboration between the PI and his / her research partners.
  3. The existence of a team of researchers, which includes postgraduate students and / or postdoctoral fellows will be an advantage.
  4. At least one of the research partners should be from an ARUA institution located outside of SA.
  5. There should be evidence of mutual complementarity between project partners as well as the growth potential of the project.

The following considerations will be an added advantage:

  • Proposed outputs that include the development of collaborative grant proposals that will leverage external funds will be an advantage.
  • Three- or four-way collaboration between UCT, ARUA and either IARU or WUN partners would be an advantage.



The PI needs to submit a narrative and financial report 12 months after the grant was awarded. A template will be provided for this purpose.

Recipients of the UCT Mobility Doctoral Package will be required to provide bi-annual narrative and financial reports. These are due each year on 30 June and 31 December respectively until the student graduates. A template will be provided for this purpose.



  1. The UCT PI needs to submit an application using the attached APPLICATION FORM.
  2. If an applicant has not yet identified a student at the time of applying for the research grant, but wishes to nominate one, he / she could submit such nominations to Wilna Venter ( until 31 August 2017A template will be provided for this purpose.
  3. For the grant conditions for the UCT Mobility Doctoral Package scholarship, see second attachment.
  4. For additional information, please contact Wilna Venter (
  5. Application forms together with the required documents need to be submitted electronically to Latiefa Jattiem ( by the due date, 15 June 2017.
  6. No incomplete or late applications will be considered.


[1] International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU): Member institutions are the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Cape Town, Berkeley, Yale, Tokyo, Singapore, Peking, ETH (Zurich), Copenhagen and Australian National University.

[2] Worldwide Universities Network (WUN): Member institutions are University of Alberta, The University of Auckland, University of Basel, The University of Bergen, University of Bristol, University of Cape Town, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Ghana, University of Leeds, Maastricht University, The University of Massachusetts Amherst, The University of Nairobi, National Cheng Kung University, Renmin University of China, The University of Rochester, The University of Sheffield, The University of Southampton, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia, The University of York, and Zhejiang University.

[3] In the case of a coursework PhD programme, the student must be commencing the first year of the thesis research component.

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