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Partnership awards for UK and South African PhD students announced


Eleven partnership awards for PhD students in the UK and South Africa, funded by the UK Research Councils and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Newton Fund, have today (19 October) been announced by the Science Ministers of the two countries.

The awards will support the development of an international cohort of researchers with the skills, links and contacts to operate in the global research environment in areas such as high performance computing, climate change, public health, social innovation and entrepreneurship and biomedical sciences. The Research Councils and the NRF are jointly investing £3.5 million to not only promote the mobility of PhD students between the UK and South Africa but also support the development of sustainable institutional links between UK universities and emerging centres of research excellence internationally.

Jo Johnson, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, and Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, announced the awards during their address to a delegation of Newton Fund delivery partner and senior academics at the UK-South Africa Ministerial Forum 2015 hosted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The awards, which are part of the Newton Fund International PhD Partnership Programmes, will be awarded to the following: 

UK Research Councils


UK Research Organisation

South African Research Organisations


Computational Catalysis: a sustainable UK-South Africa partnership in high performance computing

Cardiff University

University of Limpopo, Centre for High Performance, University of Cape Town (UCT)

Johnson Matthey SA


Developing Research Capacity for Inclusive Urban Governance: a Sheffield-Witwatersrand PhD training partnership

University of Sheffield

University of Witswatersrand (Wits)


UCT - UEA Newton PhD Partnership on Understanding the Climate system and Coping with Climate Change

University of East Anglia

University of Cape Town (UCT)


Development of multi-wavelength astronomy in South Africa on the pathway to the SKA, LSST and CTA.

University of Oxford

University of the Western Cape, Rhodes University, South African Astronomical Observatory, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, SA Square Kilometre Array, University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN), University of Witwatersrand


Biomedical Sciences Exchange PhD studentships

University of Oxford

University of Cape Town

NERC (lead)



Capacity building and PhD student partnership in the Marine and Maritime sectors

University of Southampton

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

EPSRC (lead)


Unsaturated Soils Mechanics for Engineering Practice (UnsatPractice)

Durham University

University of Pretoria (UP), Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN), University of Cape Town (UCT), Stellenbosch University (SUN)


A PhD partnership between the Durham Centre for Soft Matter and a South African Universities Soft Matter Community

Durham University

Stellenbosch University, University of South Africa, University of the Western Cape, CSIR South Africa, Walter Sisulu University, University of Kwazulu-Natal

MRC (lead)


Non-communicable disease epidemiology and public health

University of Cambridge

University of Witwatersrand


South African PhD Partnering Network for Inclusive Growth through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship - The SASIE Programme and Network

University of Essex

University of Witswatersrand


DGEMBE: Developing GEnomic Medicine BEtween Africa and the UK

University of Manchester

University of Cape Town (UCT)

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Further information

Katie Clark
Tel: 01793 444387 or email: Katie Clark

Notes to editors

  1. The Newton Fund is a £375 million fund (£75 million a year for five years) which, through science and innovation partnerships aims to promote the economic development and welfare of poor people in developing countries. The Fund is overseen by the Department for Businesses Innovation and Skills (BIS) and delivered through 15 delivery partners in collaboration with 15 partnering countries. For more information visit:

  2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

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