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Application deadline: 15 April 2023


The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is the primary pan-African professional society representing astronomers from across the continent. AfAS aims to create and support a globally competitive and collaborative astronomy community in Africa and to be the voice of astronomy in Africa while contributing to addressing the economic and social challenges Africa faces through the promotion and advancement of astronomy.


Launched in 2021 by the Early-Career Researcher Sub-Committee, the AfAS Seed Research Grant supports postgraduate students and/or early-career researchers that are based in Africa with their research projects in Astronomy (including Astrophysics and Space Science) Three (3) grants of up to a maximum of 1 200 Euros for PhD and Post-Doc and up to 800 Euros for Master students will be awarded to outstanding applicants in 2023. 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 registered at a university based in an African countryduring the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • Applicants who are currently conducting research in Astronomy (including Astrophysics and Space Science) 
  • Applicants must be enrolled for a Master’s or Doctoral degree, or they must have completed their PhD degree within three years of the application date.
  • Priority will be given to students from under-resourced institutions.


Applicants should submit the following information combined into one single PDF document through the AfAS online platform by 15 April 2023:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae including a full list of academic publications and contact details of two academic referees who can write detailed reference letters for the application (see point 7 below);
  • A research proposal (maximum three pages), including (but not limited to) the research title and abstract, the scientific rationale, the methodology and expected results. The proposal should also include a proposed timeline and a budget breakdown explaining how the grant funds will be utilised;
  • A motivation letter addressed to the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee;
  • Proof of registration (for M.Sc. students) or proof of employment (for early career researchers) from a university or research institute.
  • University transcripts for the completed degree
  • Description of the level of funding support the applicant is already receiving.
  • Applicants should also arrange for signed recommendation letters from two academic referees to be sent directly to Dr Charles Takalana (charles.takalana@afasociety.org) by 15 April 2023. 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 and applications that do not meet the eligibility conditions will not be considered. If you are submitting any supporting documents in your local language, you must attach at least an informal translation into English.


Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the AfAS Seed Research Grant Committee, composed of senior astronomers and members from the AfAS Science Committee. The committee will evaluate applicants 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-level
  • Excellence of the overall academic performance and achievements
  • Potential impact on growing research collaborations in Africa

AfAS reserves the right not to accept any application in part or in whole.


No funds will be released until AfAS has received the grant agreement signed by the successful applicant. 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.


  • Opening of the call: 15 February 2023
  • Closing of the call: 15 April 2023
  • Application review process: July – August 2023
  • Notification of successful applicants: by end-September


Dr Sthabile Kolwa

Early Career Committee Chair, African Astronomical Society

Email: skolwa@uj.ac.za

Dr. Charles Takalana

Head of Secretariat & Assistant General Secretary, African Astronomical Society

Email: charles.takalana@afasociety.org