Application deadline: 31 December 2020

Relaunched in March 2019 and currently funded by the Department of Science and Innovation in South Africa, the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is the primary organisation representing professional astronomers from across the African continent. AfAS aims to be the voice of astronomy in Africa and to contribute to addressing the challenges faced by Africa through the promotion and advancement of astronomy while creating a globally competitive and collaborative astronomy community in Africa.

The AfAS Seed Research Grant

The AfAS Seed Research Grant supports research projects in Astronomy (including Astrophysics and Space Science) conducted by postgraduate students and/or early career researchers based in Africa. Two grants of up to ZAR 15,000 each will be awarded to outstanding applicants in 2021. The seed funding may be used for international/domestic travel, lodging, computer equipment and other research-related expenses.


  • Applicants can be citizens of any country, provided they are based in Africa during the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Applicants are currently conducting research in Astronomy (including Astrophysics and Space Science) at an academic or scientific research institute in Africa.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a postgraduate level or they must have received their PhD degree within the past three years (i.e. between September 2017 – September 2020).

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit the following documents combined in one single PDF to Mr Charles Takalana ( by 31 December 2020:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae including a full list of academic publications and details of two academic referees;
  • A research proposal, with a minimum length of five pages, including all tables and figures and the bibliography. The proposal should include (but are not limited to) the research title and abstract, the scientific rationale and an introductory background, the methodology and expected results, as well as the proposed timeline and a budget breakdown;
  • A motivation letter addressed to the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee;
  • A proof of registration (for postgraduate students) or a proof of employment (for early career researchers) at an academic or scientific research institute.

Applicants should also arrange for signed recommendation letters from two academic referees to be sent directly to Mr Charles Takalana by 30 November 2020. At least one letter must be from a senior scientist (e.g. the advisor) familiar with the applicant’s research work.

Incomplete applications or files received after the deadline, as well as applications which do not meet the conditions of eligibility will not be taken into consideration.

If you are submitting any supporting documents in your local language, you must attach at least an informal translation into English.

Selection criteria

Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee which is composed of senior astronomers and members from the AfAS Science Committee. Applicants will be evaluated by the jury based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the research proposal (e.g. significance of the research statement);
  • Publication track record, commensurate with the applicant’s career stage;
  • Excellence of the overall academic performance and achievements;
  • Potential impact on growing research collaborations in Africa.

Grant Awards Agreement

No funds will be released until AfAS has received the grant agreement signed by the successful applicants. The selected recipients are also required to submit a report including research updates and a financial report with expenses and scanned receipts of major expenses in the year following the award of the seed grant.

Estimated Timeline

• Opening of the call: 01 September 2020
• Closing of the call: 31 December 2020
• Applications review by the jury: between December 2020 – mid-March 2021
• Notification of successful applicants: 31 March, 2021


Zara Randriamanakoto
Early Career Representative Officer, African Astronomical Society Email:

Charles Takalana
Assistant General Secretary, African Astronomical Society Email: