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Call for Applications – AfAS-2023 Seed Research Grant

The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is the primary pan-African professional society representing astronomers across the continent. AfAS aims to create and support a globally competitive and collaborative astronomy community in Africa and to be the voice of astronomy in Africa while contributing to addressing the economic and social challenges Africa faces through the promotion and advancement of astronomy.

The AfAS Seed Research Grant

The Early-Career Researcher Sub-Committee launched the AfAS Seed Research Grant in 2021 to support postgraduate students and/or early-career researchers based in Africa with their research projects in astronomy (including astrophysics and space science). Three grants of up to a maximum of EUR 1,200 for PhD and Postdoc and up to EUR 800 for Master students will be awarded to outstanding applicants in 2023. In addition, the seed funding may be used for international/domestic travel, lodging, computer equipment and other research-related expenses.

  1. Applicants can be citizens of any country, provided they are registered at a university based in an African country during the 2022-2023 academic year.
  2. Applicants currently conducting research in astronomy (including astrophysics and space science).
  3. Applicants must be enrolled for a Master’s or Doctoral degree or have completed their PhD within three years of the application date.
  4. Priority will be given to students from under-resourced institutions.
Application Procedure

Applicants should submit the following information combined into one single PDF document through the AfAS online platform by 15 April 2023:

  1. A detailed curriculum vitae including a full list of academic publications and contact details of two academic referees who can write detailed reference letters for the application (see point 7 below);
  2. A research proposal (maximum three pages), including (but not limited to) the research title and abstract, the scientific rationale, the methodology and expected results. The proposal should also include a proposed timeline and a budget breakdown explaining how the grant funds will be utilised;
  3. A motivation letter addressed to the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee;
  4. Proof of registration (for M.Sc. students) or proof of employment (for early career researchers) from a university or research institute;
  5. University transcripts for the completed degree;
  6. Description of the level of funding support the applicant is already receiving; and
  7. Applicants should also arrange for signed recommendation letters from two academic referees to be sent directly to Dr Charles Takalana ( by 15 April 2023. In addition, at least one letter must be from a senior scientist (e.g. the advisor) familiar with the applicant’s research work. Incomplete applications or files received after the deadline and applications not meeting the eligibility conditions will not be considered. 

N.B: You must attach an informal translation into English if you submit any supporting documents in your local language.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee, composed of senior astronomers and members from the AfAS Science Committee. The committee will evaluate applicants based on the following criteria:

  1. Quality of the research proposal (e.g., the significance of the research statement);
  2. Publication track record commensurate with the applicant’s career level;
  3. The excellence of overall academic performance and achievements;
  4. Potential impact on growing research collaborations in Africa; and
  5. AfAS reserves the right not to accept any application in part or whole.
Grant Awards Agreement

AfAS will release the research funds once the successful applicant signs the grant agreement. Furthermore, the selected recipients must also submit a report including research updates and a financial report with expenses and scanned receipts of major expenses in the year following the seed grant award.

Estimated Timeline
  1. Opening of the call: 15 February 2023
  2. Closing of the call: 15 April 2023
  3. Application review process: May 2023
  4. Notification of successful applicants: By end-June 2023

Early Career Committee Chair, African Astronomical Society

Head of Secretariat & Assistant General Secretary, African Astronomical Society

How to Apply

Visit here to apply for the 2023 Seed Research Grant.

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