By Dr Lita Pauw

Capacity building initiatives are vital to achieve excellence and to sustain and grow the foundational biodiversity research and information sector. One of our main initiatives to enable capacity development is through providing scholarships to postgraduate students.

The FBIP is proud to have awarded 111 postgraduate student bursaries from 2014, including 43 Honours students, 42 Masters students, 22 Doctoral students and 4 Postdoctoral fellows.

The main mechanism of support is through Grant-linked bursaries but the FBIP has also offered ‘free standing’ bursaries when the opportunity arises. One of the highlights for 2020 was the scholarship awards to postgraduate students working in the Biodiversity field.

The FBIP opened a call for applications for postgraduate student scholarships at the end of 2019 for 2020 – we received more than 300 applications through this call, and awarded bursaries to 23 students for Honours, Masters, and Doctoral studies. Considering the quality of the applications received, the process of narrowing down such a large applicant pool with many exceptional applications was very challenging.

Successful candidates for the 2020 student bursary awards are listed below.

NameSurnameDegreeInstitution
SamishaBeepathBScHonsUKZN
MokgadiSerumulaBScHonsUWC
ThulisileMkhayiphiBScHonsUWC
Oripha SigidaBScHonsUniVen
BiancaFerreiraBScHonsWits
FransinahHarnosterMScNWU
LindaVan Der SpuyMScNWU
NicoletteSianyukaMScRU
KaylanReddyMScSU
LlyleStevensMScSU
RouaneBrokensha MScUCT
MphoMaduenyaneMScUJ
SibusisoMahlanguMScUJ
AbusisiweNdabaMScUKZN
ThembalinyeChoncoMScUKZN
NondunduzoSimelaneMScUP
ThaboMkizeMScUFS
TokaMosikidiMScUFS
Brian du PreezPhD UCT
VivienneCoetzeePhDUCT
SbongiseniXoloPhDUKZN
ZwanndaNethavhaniPhDSU
LehlohonoloMofokengPhDNWU

Furthermore, 14 postgraduate students (2 Honours; 6 Masters; 5 PhD; 1 Postdoctoral fellow) are currently receiving bursaries through their involvement with FBIP Large projects.

Successful Honours candidates receive bursaries with values of R60 000 for one year, Masters candidates R90 000 per year for two years and PhD candidates receive R120 000 per year for three years.

The Programme also provides travel support and has sponsored 17 postgraduate students to participate in the 2018 International iBOL Conference, 2019 Zoological Society (ZSSA) and Entomological Society (ESSA) conferences, by paying for their registration fees, and contributing towards travel and accommodation.

Over 140 postgraduate students have also been funded from 2016 to attend the annual FBIP Forum.

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