TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship Programme in South Africa 2023-24

The TWAS-NRF doctoral fellowship is a research institution in South Africa that is open for international students. This fellowship is granted to researchers who wants to pursue Ph.D. (or doctoral) research in the field of natural sciences in South Africa, for a maximum period of three years.The fellowship offers an average monthly allowance that is intended to cover the expenses of living, food and health insurance along with cheapest return economy flight, visa and study permit costs for the awarded candidates.

In South Africa, the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) works in collaboration with (TWAS) (The World Academy of Sciences for the development of science in developing countries) to promote science in developing nations through the TWAS-NRF Doctoral fellowships. 

Courses offered by TWAS-NRF:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Structural, Cell, and Molecular Biology
  • Biological Systems and Organisms
  • Medical and Health Sciences incl. Neurosciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Astronomy, Space, and Earth Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics

Opportunity detail: Language required for TWAS NRF is: TOEFL IELTS

  • Gender: male and female
  • Level of study: PH.D research
  • Eligible countries: Developing countries, except South Africa
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Medium of instruction: English
  • Funding type: Fully funded
  • Host country: South Africa
  • Minimum degree held is MSc

Eligibility criteria for TWAS-NRF doctoral fellowship:

Applicants must be able to meet the following requirements to be considered for TWAS NRF fellowships:

  • He/She must be citizens or permanent residents of developing countries
  • Cannot be studied, employed or living in South Africa in 2022.
  • The candidate should meet the specifications in English Language Proficiency Test IELTS 6.5 (no band lower than 6.0) or the TOEFL (paper) 575 (TWE 4.5) or TOEFL EBIT (min. 20) and Cambridge at least 58. Any information regarding IELTS can be taken through British Council in the applicant’s home country or at
  • Applicants that were previously employed or studied or conducting research in south Africa and they have returned to their birth place but hey have been there for less than two years cannot apply.
  • To get doctorate financing, one must have earned minimum 65% on master’s degree.
  • One must have a degree in a natural scientific discipline field.
  • Must be enrolled full time in South African public university in 2023 and can be based in any of the twenty six South African public Higher Education Institutions.
  • Age limit should be 32 years of age by the end of December 31 of the year of application
  • Must be able to provide proof of evaluation of all certificates from non-South African universities that is demanded by South African Qualification Authority( SAQA). The application will not be accepted if the applicant is unable to provide the evidence of qualifications by SAQA.
  • One should must be able to comply with the immigration and visa requirements of the applicant’s home nation and South Africa.
  • The applicant should be able to organize his/her own visa and study permit. TWAS-NRF will pay the cheapest return economy ticket and Visa or study permit for only TWAS-NRF award winning doctorate applicants.
  • Upon completing the studies, the TWAS-NRF recipients must have to return to their home country and they should spend at least three years of study financed in their home country.
  • Students that do not go to their home country will be responsible to repay the NRF equal to the number of years for study support that they have received.
  • Those candidates that would have been selected as NRF-TWAS doctoral funding will be eligible to do research in the Science, Engineering and Technology disciplines as TWAS-NRF funds support only these disciplines.
  • The candidates are responsible to not accept any other assignments during their fellowship.
  • The programme will not take any responsibility for any harm and loss caused personally.
  • Applicant will be responsible to contact the authorized institution by himself for further processing like to apply for acceptance and choose a supervisor for Ph.D. study.
  • The selected candidate, if bring any family member will be sole responsible for its expenses and accommodation. The programme will not bear costs of the family members.

How to apply for TWAS-NRF doctoral fellowship programme?

TWAS-NRF Doctoral Fellowship in South Africa
TWAS-NRF Doctoral fellowship


Following are the steps that are necessary to apply for TWAS-NRF programme . Have a look on them.

Step 1: Application for admission to South African Universities:

  • Candidates should apply for different institutions located in South Africa and they should locate for a supervisor that will further assist in the doctoral training program.
  • Applicants are responsible to submit an official letter along with the letter of motivation from their host department, laboratory and institution. Furthermore, he is responsible to contact the appropriate institution that will assist him in admission procedure.
  • The applicant is responsible to choose a supervisor for research.
  • The research project should be approved by the host institution. Also a letter of support by the host supervisor should be attached in the application.
  • Universities will set a deadline for candidates to be reach there on time and the applicants must be stick to these dates.
  • South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to evaluate international qualifications:
  • Candidates should possess all international qualifications obtained from different universities outside South Africa must be reviewed by SAQA. The application approval by SAQA should be attached. Otherwise, the application will not be accepted. For more detail review. one can visit

Step 2:Application submission:

  • Applicants can submit the application by accessing the link: on the TWAS NRF online application system.
  • After logging in, candidate should follow the step-by-step instructions provided in the application.One can also download the application easily.
  • Make sure to complete the application and submit it on time. keep in mind the deadline and application cut-off dates.
  • All the necessary documents and certificates should be attached.
  • TWAS-NRF cannot accept any other method for application other than online.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Note: For any query, regarding institutional processes and deadlines,contact the postgraduate or research office immediately.

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