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Request for Applications: PhD scholarships  

Deadline for submission:  15 December 2017

This is an announcement of the inaugural Request for Applications (RFA) for PhD scholarships funded by the Swiss Confederation in partnership with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) in an effort to further strengthen efforts towards growing health research capacity for South Africa.

The SAMRC invites research proposals from South African citizens or permanent residents for a PhD scholarships for a full time study opportunity at a Swiss university or an institution affiliated to a Swiss University in the field of health and/or clinical research. Please see attached webpage for further information on Swiss Universities. https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/

Who may apply
The PhD Scholarships will be awarded for research to be conducted in the research field of Public Health and biomedicine. The scholarships are tenable in Switzerland, funding is for a 12 month (or up to 36 months for PhD scholarships only) as a tax free scholarship for full-time study. Please see Annexure A concerning the scholarship guidelines.

Value of the scholarships
The value of the scholarship will cover all expenses living costs per annum. Travel expenses to Switzerland and to South Africa or as agreed will be covered by the SAMRC.  This will be stipulated in a contract to be signed between the Scholar and the SAMRC.

How do I apply?
Applicants can respond to the RFA in one of two categories:
 
Category 1: These are applicants who are currently registered for PhD at South African universities. The applicants should have a planned or existing research projects with researchers based at institutions in Switzerland. The scholarships can allow them to spend a significant part of their time and research work in Switzerland but not less than 12 months and not more than 36 months. For this category, the applicants should provide the following:

For the Swiss Application:

  1. Signed FCS application form (typed and printed) with photo (Annexure 2).
  2. A full CV with list of academic publication
  3. A motivation letter (max. 2 pages)
  4. A complete research proposal (max 5 pages, signed), using exclusively the FCS research proposal form (Annexure 3)
  5. A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to support and supervise the research.
  6. 2 confidential letters of recommendation from two different professorts in the applicant’s field (use exclusively the FCS reference form – originals in sealed envelopes only for the 1st set) (Annexure 4)
  7. Signed Medical Certificate (Annexure 5)
  8. A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) as the chosen Swiss university confirming that she/he is willing to support and supervise the research (Annexure 6)
  9. Two copies of the applicant's passport (main page with personal data). Dual nationals add copies of both passports.

For research fellowship in addition:
A short CV of the academic mentor at the home institution.

For PhD scholarships at doctoral schools *
A proof that the applicant is being considered for admission. Except: EPFL: accepted admission required

*A support letter from a host professor is required in any case additionally 

For acceptance by SAMRC

  1. An abridge CV
  2. Ethics clearance (if available)
  3. Certified SA ID document
  4. Certified academic certificates
  5. Half page letter of motivation for funding
  6. A statement of support for application from SA research supervisor if applicable
  7. Signed and completed SAMRC application form

Category 2: These are applicants who are currently not registered for PhD in South Africa or Switzerland. The applicants may or may not have a planned or existing research projects with researchers in Switzerland. If the applicant does not have any links with Switzerland, the SAMRC would assist in finding a suitable collaborator using its networks. The purpose of the scholarship is to allow the recipient to spend full time study at selected universities or institutions in Switzerland in the field of health and/or clinical research. For this category, the applicants should provide the following:

For acceptance by SAMRC

  1. PhD proposal, if applicable
  2. Ethics clearance (if available)
  3. Abridged CV
  4. Certified SA ID document
  5. Certified academic certificates
  6. Half page letter of motivation for funding
  7. A statement of support for application from SA research supervisor if applicable
  8. A statement of support for application from Swiss researcher or collaborator who will act as a host, if applicable.
  9. Signed and completed SAMRC application form

For the Swiss Application:

  1. Signed FCS application form (typed and printed) with photo (Annexure 2).
  2. A full CV with list of academic publication
  3. A motivation letter (max. 2 pages)
  4. A complete research proposal (max 5 pages, signed), using exclusively the FCS research proposal form (Annexure 3)
  5. A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) at the chosen Swiss university confirming why she/he is willing to support and supervise the research.
  6. 2 confidential letters of recommendation from two different professorts in the applicant’s field (use exclusively the FCS reference form – originals in sealed envelopes only for the 1st set) (Annexure 4)
  7. Signed Medical Certificate (Annexure 5)
  8. A copy of the letter from an academic host professor (including her/his short CV) as the chosen Swiss university confirming that she/he is willing to support and supervise the research (Annexure 6)
  9. Two copies of the applicant's passport (main page with personal data). Dual nationals add copies of both passports.

For research fellowship in addition:
A short CV of the academic mentor at the home institution.

For PhD scholarships at doctoral schools *
A proof that the applicant is being considered for admission. Except: EPFL: accepted admission required

*A support letter from a host professor is required in any case additionally 

How are applications evaluated?
There will be a three-step review and evaluation process; i) in-house screening and ii) by an evaluation committee and iii) a final evaluation and selection mady by the Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarships

In-house screening
The RCD will screen applications for responsiveness and completeness.

South African Evaluation Committee
The committee comprising members of the SAMRC and the Swiss embassy will objectively score applicants against set criteria to determine candidates for scholarship.

Swiss Federal Comission for Scholarships Evaluation
The application packs consisting of three hard copies supplied by the successful candidates will be send to Switzerland where it will be reviewed independently by the Swiss expert panel for the final selcetion and awarding of the scholarships.

Notification of applicants
Successful candidates will be advised by May 2018 and will be required to take up the PhD scholarships in September 2018 at a university that best fits the research area of the awardee and where a research supervisor has been secured by the SAMRC.  Successful applicants will be required to send three hard copies to the Swiss Embassy by no later than 15 December 2017.

Deadline for submission:  15 December 2017

Application Process
Forward application pack by email to the SAMRC Research Capacity Development (RCD) jorene.naidoo@mrc.ac.za

Queries in writing : Dr T Maitin at thabi.maitin@mrc.ac.za

Website: https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/scholarships_eng see > South Africa

Documents

warnung_e
The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation issues this warning regarding false advertisements for Swiss government scholarships sent by email or on social media. Fraudsters are offering fake scholarships in an attempt to get their victims to transfer money (e.g. by claiming that this money is required for visa or social insurance costs).

The Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students FCS recommends that members of the public ignore these fraudulent offers and above all do not transfer any money. The application process for a Swiss government scholarship is free of charge.

Swiss government scholarships are offered by the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students exclusively via Switzerland’s official diplomatic representations in the applicants’ countries of origin.

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Last updated:
8 November, 2017
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