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Grant for early-career African researchers

The grant hopes to support those in the science field with an opportunity to bring their solutions to life.

South Africa has a massive funding issue and often times, background and circumstances act as a temporary barrier to achieving goals. The JWO Research Grant, now in its 5th year of funding, is an annual grant and winners go on to make powerful strides.

Since its inception, the Jennifer Ward-Oppenheimer Research Grant has awarded $600 000 to African researchers pursuing solutions to the continent’s environmental issues.

With more than 1000 applications since its inception and, with these numbers increasing each year, the grant is able to address the need for inclusive early academic and career scientist funding.

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The grant seeks to support early-career African researchers focused on research that will contribute to the advancement of environmental and allied sciences; and address relevant, real-world, South African and broader African issues of current and future importance.

Previous recipients such as Dr Gideon Idowu looked at the potential impact of microplastic pollution not only in terms of the ocean where research has been substantial, but also in Africa’s freshwater systems. What are their short and long-term effects to the human body?

Dr Idowu believes that “Beyond the unaesthetic scenes that plastic waste creates in the environment, we want to provide evidence in their effects in creating microplastics and endocrine disrupting chemicals, which potentially impair growth and reproduction in species. We believe that the findings will further compel policy makers to take real actions to reduce the disposal of plastic wastes”.

Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation Head, Dr Duncan Mcfadyen says  “The grant showcases cutting-edge, innovative research ideas and provides a platform to foster and support Africa’s most brilliant minds.”

Grant Legibility

The lead applicant should be an early-career African scientist, who has links to a credible South African and broader African institution and is proposing to conduct research on the continent. The 2023 JWO Research Grant is seeking out applications that seek solutions to challenges in Africa.

  1. The applicant must hold a degree (PhD, equivalent or higher qualification), and should have no more than seven years of work and/or research experience post-degree (excluding career breaks, including family-related breaks).
  2. The institution must have a proven ability to manage funding and subscribes to good financial grant practice.
  3. The institutional affiliation may be academic, research, government, NGO and for-profit organisation.

Grant Award

The 2023 JWO grant of $150,000 (USD) will be awarded to one successful applicant. The grant will support a research programme of up to three years. The grant recipient will be announced at the Oppenheimer Research Conference, and the funds will be distributed in agreed tranches, based on satisfactory progress as measured against agreed milestones.


To apply for the grant, please follow this link – https://jworesearchgrant.org

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