Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships 2017, South Africa


May 31, 2017


Opportunity Cover Image - Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships 2017, South Africa


The flagship educational initiative of the Claude Leon Foundation is the Postdoctoral Fellowship programme in the sciences, now in its nineteenth year. The main goal of the programme is to help build research capacity in South African universities and research institutions. The Foundation funds both South African and foreign postdoctoral scientists in Science, Engineering and Medical Sciences to increase the volume and quality of research output, develop and transfer technical skills, and generally enhance the research culture in South Africa.

Applications for fellowships are considered on a competitive basis and are open to all South Africa’s tertiary institutions. The awards are for two years and from 2017 are valued at R275,000.00 per year; fellows can also apply for relocation costs from abroad, and support for international conference attendance.

Since its inception the Foundation has spent well over R100 million on the programme and supported nearly 500 postdoctoral fellows. In the last five years the Foundation has been offering 40 – 50 new fellowship awards per year. This means that on an annual basis the Foundation funds 80 - 90 fellows – second only in numbers to the government-funded National Research Foundation programme. The largest beneficiaries of the programme to date have been the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Witwatersrand and Pretoria.


1. The Claude Leon Foundation (“the Foundation”) is offering Postdoctoral Fellowships for research in the faculties of Science, Engineering and Medical Sciences to be conducted at universities and some institutes in South Africa. The Fellowship will be awarded for two years and is worth R275 000 per annum in 2017.

2. It is understood that, subject to formal application by the host university/institution to the South African Revenue Services, the Fellowship should be exempt from South African tax although the Foundation can give no guarantee. It is the responsibility of the recipient of the Fellowship to ensure that their tax liability (if any) has been assessed.

3. The Fellowships are open to South African and foreign nationals.

4. Entirely within the discretion of the Foundation, one economy class return flight may be awarded to those coming from outside South Africa. The Foundation must be informed immediately of any supplementary travel grants and the conditions pertaining thereto which the Fellows may receive. The Foundation reserves the right to adjust or cancel its translocation allowance without prior notice.

5. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, taking the applicants’ academic achievements and potential as researchers into account. No discussion will be entered into after the award of the Fellowships.

6. Candidates should have received their PhDs within the last five years.

7. Preference will be given to candidates who are currently under-represented in South African Science, Engineering and Medical Sciences.

8. It is preferable, but not obligatory, that a candidate will undertake his/her postdoctoral research project in a department other than the one where his/her doctoral degree was obtained. Applicants who wish to remain in the same department where they completed their PhD should explain this choice. An accompanying motivation from the prospective supervisor is also required.

9. The Fellowship will lapse if it is not taken up within 12 months of the offer.

10. An applicant who has not completed his/her PhD at the time the Fellowship is offered (usually October) must have at least submitted the PhD thesis by the end of the calendar year in which the offer is made. In those circumstances the Foundation will require written assurance from the applicant’s PhD supervisor that the PhD thesis has been submitted and there is a reasonable expectation that the doctoral degree will be awarded.

11. In the case where the award of a PhD is imminent and the thesis has been submitted and the Foundation has received written assurance from the PhD supervisor that the doctoral degree will be awarded, the Foundation may allow the postdoctoral studies to begin and some initial payment to be made in terms of the Fellowship but will need to be assured of the success of the PhD. On application half of the award may be given before the PhD has been awarded. This grant would be subject to the rules of the host institution.

12. The Fellowship cannot be held concurrently with any supplementary funding without the prior written consent of the Foundation. This written consent should be requested annually. The Foundation does not give part grants and would need to be informed of any conditions that the other grantor has placed on its award. Where the grantee receives substantial supplementary funding from another source, it is recognized that both the Foundation and the other grantor may be regarded as co-funders. In those circumstances both the Foundation and the other grantor should be acknowledged as stipulated in paragraph 19 below, and on the basis that neither funder be regarded as the Principal funder.

13. The Fellowship must be undertaken in South Africa. If a Fellow wishes to conduct some research outside of South Africa the Trustees will consider allowing this up to a maximum of two months over a two year period and subject to written motivation by the Fellow and his/her Supervisor. The Foundation reserves the right to refuse such a request.

14. If a Fellow wishes to change his/her research project, supervisor or host institution for which the Fellowship was awarded, details must be submitted in writing to the Foundation’s administrator for consideration and approval in writing by the Foundation prior to such a change.

15. Maternity Leave: On application, a maximum of four months paid maternity leave will be granted to Fellows. The completion date of the Fellowship will be extended by the number of months maternity leave taken. This extended period will also be funded. The agreement of the supervisor and a doctor’s certificate will be required.

16. Fellows, after having completed their first year of Fellowship, may apply to the Trustees for one travel grant per Fellowship up to a maximum of R45,000 to attend (before completion of the Fellowship) an international conference for the purpose of presenting a paper or poster. The Foundation reserves the right to adjust or cancel its conference travel grant without prior notice. All other sources of conference funding should be disclosed.

17. As the primary purpose of the Fellowship is to enable the Fellow to undertake a significant piece of publishable research, teaching should average no more than three hours per teaching week in term time. The Foundation expects that the subject taught would relate to the main thrust of the Fellow’s research interests and not simply to the department’s needs.

18. To continue into the 2nd year of the Fellowship, Fellows should submit a written progress report at least two months before the start of the second year. This would normally be by the end of October. This should be endorsed by their supervisor and approved by the Foundation before commencement of the second year.

19. As a recipient of the Claude Leon Postdoctoral Fellowship, all Fellows are expected to acknowledge the support of the Foundation when interviewed, in publications and on any documents (abstracts included) for which the Foundation has given funding e.g. conference funding.

20. Should the successful candidate have also requested funding from the NRF, the Foundation will require a letter of withdrawal of the application for such funds before acceptance of a Fellowship grant offer from the Foundation as we understand the NRF do not allow concurrent funding.

21. If a Fellow completes his/her research before the end of the period for which the Fellowship has been awarded, the award will be decreased on a pro rata basis depending on the month in which the Fellow completes the research. The Fellow should refund the university/host institution any money paid him/her covering a period after the Fellow has completed his/her Fellowship or his/her Fellowship has terminated. This should be refunded to the Foundation by the host institution within 30 days of completion or termination of the Fellowship. One calendar months’ notice must be given should the Fellow wish to withdraw from the Fellowship. It is the responsibility of the Fellow, Supervisor and the University to advise the Foundation of any withdrawal.

22. Fellows must submit, no later than three months after the end of tenure or on withdrawal from the Fellowship, a comprehensive report on the research funded by the Foundation; this should include a report from the supervisor.

23. Applications will be considered at one closing date (usually the 31st May) to be announced each year.

24. The Selection Committee will comprise senior academics and will include representatives of the Royal Society of South Africa and will make recommendations to the Trustees of the Foundation who will make the final decision. The Fellowships will normally be taken up in January each year.

For more information click "Further official information" below.


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Publish Date
December 06, 2016