NRF Conference

Chris-Elbers-op-NRF-conferentieThe number of people with PhDs in South Africa is alarmingly low. There is no equivalent to the trainee research assistant salary scheme that exists in the Netherlands. Moreover, unemployment is very high, which puts any possibility of being able to finance one’s own PhD programme completely out of reach. Those who do obtain a PhD often do so on a part-time basis, combining it with other jobs.

It was for this reason that the National Research Foundation (NRF) organized a conference in Johannesburg at which universities were given the opportunity to present themselves to aspiring PhD candidates. VU Amsterdam was there too, represented by the Desmond Tutu professors and SAVUSA. It was here that the programme and the professors were presented to the South African academic world.

In cooperation with the NRF, two PhD candidates were selected for each professor, who will supervise them along with South African academics. Of this, Chris Elbers said, “Jointly supervising PhD candidates [with South African colleagues] is an experiment but it is very promising. First, the notion of the PhD gains a firm basis in the South African academic tradition and its associated networks. But in addition to that, they gain a link to, if I may say so, one of the best universities in Europe and its international network. The PhD candidates will experience the best of both worlds – that is a very attractive prospect.”