Oct 2021 2nd edition

Do you need funding for your research?

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

Sasol and the National Research Foundation (NRF) have partnered to fund collaborative research grants in science and engineering that will contribute to South Africa’s energy transition and green economy. 

Through the grants, Sasol wants to contribute to the development of research capacity in the country’s institutions of higher learning.

The focus is on scarce skills gaps in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr Aldo Stroebel, the Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships at the NRF, says universities are expected to produce meaningful knowledge that solves many of the challenges and questions society has.

“The demand for innovative solutions that respond to socio-economic challenges and opportunities results in an increasing need for collaboration between industry and academia,” he explains.

Former grant beneficiary Professor Zenixole Tshentu was awarded R400 000 from 2019 till 2021. He says the funding has enabled him to work on important projects that have yielded critical knowledge and helped students with their financial needs.

“Postgraduate students are able to receive bursary top-ups and can also be assisted to attend international conferences, by complementing the university funding for conferences. In my case, students also travelled to Sasolburg to work with collaborators,” he says.

Professor Tshentu encourages academics to apply for the funding, as it helps to carry out important research.

“It is also possible to buy small equipment required for the project, via this funding. The flexibility allows one to deal with a budget, based on demands, as the project evolves. The contribution of the Sasol funding to the training of postgraduate students in SA is commendable,” he says.

The funding available for 2022 is for research in the key areas of hydrogen production, renewable energy, energy storage and carbon dioxide conversion to chemicals and fuels.

Who is eligible to apply?

•  Academics from any South African university, working in any of the disciplines listed as key areas. Proposals should address the research areas.

•  Academics should hold a PhD in a relevant discipline and must have at least five years research experience, after the completion of their PhD.

How to apply

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