Grants for bioscientists

A top young researcher could claim a research grant of R31 200 as part of an initiative to encourage broader participation among young South Africans in the field of bioscience.

Pharmaceutical company Merck has made the sum available to bolster innovation through research. The award is co-sponsored by United States-based EMD Chemicals.

The Merck Young Scientists Award is open to South African post-graduate students in their final year of MSc or early PhD studies, enrolled at a South African university.

To qualify, papers must be published or accepted for publication in a scientific journal or submitted for a thesis during 2007/08 in one of the following research fields: proteomics/protein expression, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, obesity or neurodegeneration.

Entrants should also note that their paper must cite at least one product from the Merck Biosciences range (Calbiochem, Novabiochem, Novagen). An entry form can be downloaded from: and submitted to [email protected] The deadline for submissions is March 31 2009.

Biofuels programmes
Critical shortages of trained scientists and bio-engineers in South Africa are being addressed at Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town (UCT) through the biofuels research programme of the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI), a division of the Central Energy Fund (CEF).

Stellenbosch University has recently been awarded the senior chair of energy research and, together with UCT, will offer research-based MSc, MEng and PhD programmes in biofuels next year. Its vision is to focus on technological innovations for developing commercially viable value chains for converting agricultural resources into biofuels. The programme hopes to attract engineering or natural science graduates.

For more information contact Professor Emile van Zyl at Stellenbosch University on 021 808 5854 or e-mail [email protected]

Vital gender studies
Gender represents a hugely relevant area of study in a world where women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate — on a continent where women account for more than 60% of the rural labour force and produce 80% of the food, and where the risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes is one in 16 (in Asia it is one in 65; in Europe one in 1 400).

This also applies to South Africa where, despite a liberal Constitution, the majority of women still do not really have the right of choice in matters of sexual orientation.

The postgraduate gender studies programme at the University of the Free State will address a cross-section of these issues by offering a postgraduate diploma from 2009, in addition to the existing MA. Both qualifications are designed to educate and empower students in gender awareness, analysis, policy, practice and mainstreaming competencies very much in demand in both the public and the private sector as South African society develops towards true equity.

The programmes are structured to accommodate both part-time and full-time students, as attendance is only required at four brief contact sessions a year. For more information contact Marike Potgieter on [email protected]

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