The Wits-Edinburgh Sustainable African Futures (WESAF) Doctoral Scholarship Programme 2023 for Young Africans

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Application Deadline:  May 15, 2023

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Edinburgh (UoE) inaugurated the Wits-Edinburgh Sustainable African Futures (WESAF) Doctoral Programme, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program – a global initiative that enables learning and leadership development for talented young people, primarily young Africans, who face the highest barriers to accessing higher education. The WESAF doctoral programme aims to build sustainable development-focussed, interdisciplinary research capacity in partner higher education institutions in Africa.

The programme will recruit an initial cohort of 50 students from faculties from partner African higher education institutions to complete sustainability focused doctoral studies. Following an initial online Masters by Research, to front-load the development of critical research skills and delivered full time, at least 30 of these students will continue to complete PhDs either full-time or part-time. Through its cohort approach and emphasis on advanced research design and methods training, the programme will produce a powerful cohort of African research specialists committed to addressing Africa’s sustainability challenges on its own terms.

Eligibility The target group for scholarships is emerging researchers and academics who meet the requirements to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh.

To apply for this programme, applicants must:
• have successfully completed a university degree that will qualify for entry into a Master’s programme at the University of Edinburgh (A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).
• demonstrate a level of English language competency that will enable one to succeed in the studies, regardless of nationality or country of residence.
• have generally completed their last university degree not more than three and a half years ago and/or have demonstrable experience in academia/research at the time of application.
• be nationals or permanent residents of an African country
• be a) a staff member at one of the partner universities, OR b) a candidate being considered for teaching or research staff recruitment by the partner universities.

Female applicants, applicants from refugee and displaced backgrounds, and candidates from other less privileged regions or groups are especially encouraged to apply.


The WESAF programme is in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Costs covered during the 12 months of the MSc by Research programme are:

• MSc by Research fees
• Participation in two sustainability schools (in person) in Johannesburg.

Covered costs include visa applications for South Africa entry, vaccinations as necessary, accommodation and subsistence while in Johannesburg, return flights and internal travel.
• Laptops and connectivity where appropriate
• Reading material will be accessible through the University of Edinburgh online library and other resources will be made available by course lecturers (no cost will be attached to courses or dissertation).

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Wits-Edinburgh Sustainable African Futures (WESAF) Doctoral Programme 2023

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