The NSCF will offer postgraduate bursaries, postdoctoral grants, travel grants for visiting scientists working on the collections, and grants for accelerated species descriptions. Keep an eye on this site for postings of these opportunities.

Important notice: NSCF will not be offering travel grants until further notice due to Covid-19 and restrictions on travel. 

Bursary | Science Communication Online Short Course

The NSCF is offering to fund five deserving individuals that are interested in attending the online science communication short course that is offered by Stellenbosch University (full details below). The course comes highly recommended and scientists, science communication practitioners and senior research students are encouraged to apply.

Bursary selection criteria:

  • Permanently employed  or on a long term contract (more than two years) at a NSCF partner institution
  • Must have IT resources available to attend the course online
  • Must have time available for about 2 – 3 hours per week for doing readings and assignments, as well as attendance of one 60-minute online discussion per week
  • Must demonstrate a keen interest in developing science communication skills and an understanding of theories and concepts related to this discipline
  • Must demonstrate how the skills and knowledge will be applied in your own work, and benefit the wider NSCF network
  • Previous involvement and participation in NSCF activities and forum will be considered favourably
  • Must have a recognised university bachelor’s (or higher) degree or relevant tertiary diploma.

Course information:

The 2021 course runs for 6 weeks, from 14 June to 30 July 2021, followed by a practical project that will conclude by end August 2021.

The University has set a  limit of 60 participants for this course. Should seats to the course be filled before the NSCF selection process and awards are completed, the awardees may take up the course in 2022.
Course overview

  • Week 1 – Introduction to science communication (14 – 20 June 2021)
  • Week 2 – Science communication role players (21 – 27 June 2021)
  • Week 3 – Science and the media (28 June – 4 July 2021)
  • Week 4 – Creative approaches to sharing science (5 – 11 July 2021)
  • Week 5 – Science communication as a field of research (12 – 18 July 2021)
  • Week 6 – Practical skills for science communicators (19 – 25 July 2021)
  • 26 July – 31 August 2021: Practical science communication project

How to apply for the bursary:

Submit the following documents to Fulufhelo Tambani:

  1. Abridged CV (2 pages)
  2. Motivation letter (explaining how you meet the criteria)
  3. A letter of support from your supervisor (confirming that time will be available for the online sessions, and that IT resources required will be available)

*The bursary award will be for the course cost of R9000 only.

Call for travel grants for researchers to contribute to upgrading of natural science collections in South Africa


Applications for travel grants are invited from researchers in South Africa and internationally specifically to assist with the identification / verification of identifications of specimens for the following taxa:

 Plants: Fabaceae

 Animals: Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish

 Palaeontology: Karoo fossils

Researchers will be expected to work in one or more of the institutions participating in the Natural Science Collections Facility, and to assist with identification or re-identification of specimens for which they have scarce expertise. This is in support of upgrading collections and specimen data and the identifications must feed into the data that will be made accessible as part of the NSCF objectives.

Applications must be submitted jointly by the collection manager / curator and the researcher.

The application form appended here must be completed and submitted to Michelle Hamer (M.Hamer@sanbi.org.za). Applications must reach Michelle before 17h00 on the 31 January 2019. Awards must be taken up before the 31 July 2019 (ie. dates confirmed and flights booked) and completed by the end of September 2019.

Travel grant awards:

SANBI will make the travel arrangements for successful applicants, in consultation with the curator and researcher. The awards will cover travel and subsistence costs for the duration of the visit, in line with Treasury and SANBI’s policies and limits. No salary payments will be made, and costs of field work or research equipment will not be covered.

Successful applicants and their host institution will be expected to provide a report on the work done during the research visit.

Download the application form here: NSCF Travel Grant Application Form


Postdoctoral Scholarship: Biodiversity Biobank Infrastructure Project

The National Biodiversity Biobank Project, which is funded by the Department of Science & Technology as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), is offering a two-year postdoctoral scholarship to carry out a research project on the status of biodiversity biobanks in South Africa.

Applications must be submitted to Michelle Hamer at M.Hamer@sanbi.org.za before 16h00 on 31 October 2018.

See the attached document for more information, and please distribute to anyone who might be interested.

Download the pdf here to read more – Biodiversity Biobank Infrastructure Project