NRF-Nuffic Doctoral Scholarships 2021 for young South Africans

Application Deadline:: 1 June 2020

NRF-Nuffic Doctoral Scholarships 2021

Through this partnership between the NRF and Nuffic, doctoral funding will be provided for South African citizens and permanent residents to study full-time in The Netherlands (i.e. single site mode). Institutional level agreements between Dutch HEIs and Partner Institutions in South Africa to enable full-time joint doctoral degrees will also be supported (i.e. split site mode).

In addition, the NRF is implementing a new Postgraduate Funding Policy in 2020 wherein postgraduate funding allocations will be underpinned by the principles of equity of opportunity; representivity; prioritisation; and enhanced access, success and throughput. This Postgraduate Funding Policy gives effect to the Ministerial guidelines for improving equity in the distribution of DSI/NRF Bursaries and Fellowships (2013). Citizenship, age, gender and disability will be considered in the allocation of funding, with transformation of the postgraduate cohort as the core objective. Financial need, is for the first time, included as a criterion for determining the level of funding. To attract and retain a diverse range of students, funding levels will be increased to cover the full cost of study for students who meet required criteria.


The objectives of this funding instrument are to:

  • Strengthen cooperation and internationalisation between Dutch HEIs and Partner Institutions in South Africa through joint supervision of doctoral candidates;
  • Foster sustainable institutional collaboration between South African and Dutch HEIs, contributing to the bilateral research agendas;
  • Promote and advance science, research and innovation;
  • Support the development of a critical mass of globally competitive knowledge-workers in South Africa in prioritised areas;
  • Contribute towards increasing the number and quality of South African postgraduate students in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, the Social Sciences and Humanities; and
  • Effect transformation in the percentage representation of postgraduate students from designated groups, namely black, female and persons with disabilities.

Doctoral Training Modalities

The two modalities of doctoral training that will be funded are:

(i) Full-time doctoral studies at a Dutch HEI, referred to as the Single Site Mode, and;

(ii) Full-time doctoral studies jointly developed and implemented by a Dutch HEI and a Partner University in South Africa, referred to the Split Site Mode and resulting in a joint degree from the partner institutions.

Application Process

Applications for funding for doctoral studies in the 2021 academic year must be submitted through the NRF Online Submission System at – NRF Postgraduate Scholarships.  Students must first identify the university where they will be registered for their postgraduate degree before submitting an application to the NRF.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the NRF-Nuffic Doctoral Scholarships 202

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