SARAO’s Undergraduate Block Grant Programme aims to partner with South African universities to increase the number of South African graduates available to pursue postgraduate research in areas relevant to the SKA and MeerKAT radio telescopes.
Thus, successful university departments will be awarded a grant, including funds for student scholarships and a laptop grant per student. The selection of the students to be funded by a SARAO block grant is the responsibility of the relevant university department. However, students selected for the programme must align with SARAO HCD’s transformation targets.
Eligibility for a SARAO Undergraduate Block Grant
For 2024, SARAO will consider applications from university departments that propose to support between four to eight South African citizens/permanent residents studying any of the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Electronic Engineering
- Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering
- Bachelor of Computer Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Applied Mathematics and Physics
- Bachelor of Science in Physics and Electronics
- Bachelor of Science in Astronomy/Astrophysics and Physics
- Bachelor of Computer Science, with co-major in Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
- Bachelor of Science in Physics and Electronics / Astrophysics / Computer Science
Structure of a SARAO Undergraduate Block Grant for 2024
- Successful university departments will be awarded a grant that includes funds for scholarships (at the same level as SARAO free-standing undergraduate scholarships) and a laptop grant per student.
- The award’s value will depend on the number of students to be supported by the block grant.
- Funding for this programme is for a maximum of four years (2024, up to and including 2027) for B.Eng degrees to allow the entire duration required by any student entering the first year in 2024 to complete their B.Eng degree by 2027; and for a maximum of three years (2024, up to and including 2026) for B.Sc degrees to allow the entire duration required by any student entering the first year in 2024 to complete their B.Sc. degree by 2026.
Evaluation of Applications for a SARAO Undergraduate Block Grant for 2024
- Applications will be evaluated using the following:
- The university department’s track record of graduating students, generally.
- The university department’s track record of graduating Black and Women South African students.
- Support systems in place to ensure the success of the students selected for the undergraduate block grant. Structure of the degree and its relevance to MeerKAT/SKA, or the “ability” of the degree to prepare the students for postgraduate research in MeerKAT/SKA engineering.
- Availability of postgraduate research in MeerKAT/SKA-relevant engineering at the university.
Conditions of Award for SARAO Undergraduate Block Grant Programme
- In selecting students to be funded by the block grant, the university must meet the following targets: 100% to South African Students, of which 90% must be awarded to Black South Africans (African, Coloured and Indian), and 50% to South African Women.
- The list of students selected by the university to be funded by the block grant must be submitted to SARAO HCD for approval before the university notifies the students.
- Students selected for the programme must maintain a minimum average of 65% in their mid-year and year-end results. In addition, the university must submit the students’ mid-year and year-end academic transcripts to SARAO. Students who do not obtain a minimum of 65% may not be eligible to receive further funding from the programme unless motivated by the university for SARAO’s consideration.
- The grant is renewable each year, at the sole discretion of SARAO, and is subject to the satisfactory performance of the students.
- Suppose any of the students selected for the programme do not meet the minimum academic requirements, change their degree of study, do not graduate from their degree, or leave the programme for any reason. In that case, the university may NOT replace these students with new students.
- If, in the first year of the grant, a university selects less than the number of students to be supported by the grant, the funds not used in the first year of the grant may be carried over to the next academic year if approved by SARAO, for a maximum of one year only.
- The annual grant provided by SARAO will include scholarship funds at the same level as freestanding SARAO undergraduate scholarships, which are currently ZAR 168,000 per student, and a laptop grant, which is presently ZAR 12,000 per student.
- The university must ensure resources and programmes are in place to support students who may require academic support to maximise the success of the students selected for the programme.
- On completion of studies supported by the block grant, the university must submit a copy of the respective student’s degree certificate to SARAO.
How to Apply for a SARAO Undergraduate Block Grant
- Download the application form here.
- Complete the application form and submit it as a PDF document to Mr Mkhululi Jodwana, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 31 August 2023.
SARAO Contact Information
Should you have any queries regarding the application requirements or procedure, please contact Mr Mkhululi Jodwana via email and telephone at (011) 268-3412.
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