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Gauteng, South Africa – Sasol, through its Foundation and Research & Technology function, today signed two significant cooperation agreements with the National Research Foundation (NRF) to jointly sponsor and support South Africa’s next generation of science and engineering researchers.

The first agreement relates to the joint implementation of the NRF-Sasol Foundation Scholarship Programme, which aims to bolster the number of science researchers from historically disadvantaged universities as well as Black and/or female scientists and those living with disabilities. Since its inception in 2011, the scholarship programme has sponsored over 300 postgraduate students, producing over 500 peer-reviewed research publications.

“What we have learned over the years is that the scale and complexity of the transformation that needs to take place in our country’s education sector is such that no organisation can achieve it alone. We need strategic partnerships and collaborations to effectively address these challenges,” said Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive Vice-President: Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations.

The NRF-Sasol Foundation Scholarship Programme’s target is to sponsor at least 102 candidates over the next three years from 2022, with nearly half of them being Master’s and Doctoral students.

The second agreement is with Sasol’s Research and Technology function and pertains to dedicated industry-academia research collaboration. It aims to provide funding and strategic support such as assistance with research focus and direction, for research in science and engineering areas that can enable South Africa’s energy transition as well as the development of its green economy. The intention is to enhance the research capacity of South African tertiary institutions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, thereby addressing some of the key scarce skill gaps identified by the NRF. Sasol R&T will also provide support in the form of student and research departments mentoring and industrial exposure.

“The NRF acknowledges the significant contribution these agreements will make to enhance excellence in research, and especially the significant impact to the transformation of the South African research and education system. These programmes, and our partnership with Sasol, attest to our mutual intent to support and foster a globally engaged cohort of exceptional researchers and students, in collaboration with industry,” stated Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, CEO of the NRF.

Sasol and the NRF issued a joint call for research proposals in September 2021, which closed at end of October, and is in the process of finalising the awards which will be announced by 13 December.

For more information on these two initiatives, as well as to apply for the NRF-Sasol Foundation Scholarship, interested candidates must please visit www.nrf.ac.za.