Prestigious Palaeosciences Honours Bursary

The Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) in collaboration with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences (CoE-Pal) is offering a Prestigious Palaeosciences Honours Bursary to an exceptional graduate. Candidates should demonstrate that they will be pursuing their Honours Degree with a supervisor who has a proven track record of excellent supervision. The success of the proposal is dependent on the strength of the student/supervisor team.

This Bursary provides support for Honours students working specifically within the research theme areas: Evolutionary Process, Cultural & Behavioural Evolution, Palaeo-environments & Palaeoclimates; and Applications & Innovations.


This Call is open to South African citizens and permanent residents, in accordance with the Department of Science and Technology Ministerial Guidelines for the Equitable Distribution of NRF Bursaries Students should have a minimum average of 70% in the previous degree to be considered.

Applicants must be full-time registered as an Honours student at an accredited South African University that offers research projects in one of the disciplines of Palaeosciences: Palaeonotology, Palaeobotany, Palaeo-anthropology or Stone Age Archaeology.

Value of the award

The monetary value of the award for 2017 is R 80,000.

Submission of nominations

Submissions may be received from individuals (self-nominations), or from Supervisors, Academic Heads of School or from Directors/Leaders of a South African university with a Palaeoscience Programme and should include:

From the applicant

  1. Applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, to include:
    • Contact details
    • Current University details
    • Publications if any
    • Learned societies, conference participation, etc.
    • Three academic references
  2. Letter of motivation, to include:
    • The applicant’s opinion as to her/his potential contribution to one of the palaeosciences disciplines, including specific research areas potentially addressed in an Honours thesis, and educational preparedness to conduct the research.
    • Potential Supervisor within the field of palaeosciences
  3. Certified Copy of Official Academic Transcripts

From the supervisor

  1. Supervisor’s Curriculum Vitae, to include:
    • Publications list, which should briefly describe the role of the author in any multi-authored articles, e.g., conceived the study, did the data analysis, supervisor of student author, wrote the final draft, etc .
    • NRF Rating, if any
    • Record of postgraduate supervision
    • Service to the discipline – learned societies, reviewing, conference organization, etc
  2. Letter of motivation from a supervisor under whom you will be conducting your Honours degree and who has an established research interest in Palaeosciences

Applications must be submitted electronically in PDF or MS-Word format to, using “Prestigious Palaeosciences Honours Bursary Application” in the covering email subject line. All materials from the applicant should be included in one file, and all materials from the supervisor should be included in a second file. Applicant and supervisor files may be submitted under separate cover, but the applicant is responsible for ensuring the supervisor’s submission has been made by the closing date. Incomplete applications or those received after the closing date will not be considered.

Submission of applications and closing date

The closing date for submission of applications to be received by PAST is Friday, 20 November 2016; 3pm (Central Africa Time, GMT+2)

Consideration of applications

This award will be given on the basis of excellence in the student and supervisor combination. Applications will be considered by the Bursary Committee on the afternoon of 05 December 2016. Short-listed applicants and their supervisors will be requested to make themselves available for interview via Skype.


Enquiries may be directed to Ms. Busie Mpofu, PAST Programmes Coordinator (

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