South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Bursary Applications

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About the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO)

The South African Astronomical Observatory, or SAAO, is calling on eligible candidates to submit an application and qualify for bursary support through its Bursary Programme offering for 2021. Be sure to go over the programme’s minimum eligibility requirements before applying.

Founded in 1820, the SAAO is the country’s foremost astronomy research institute and houses the Southern African Large Telescope, which is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It seeks to carry out fundamental research and in the fields of astrophysics and astronomy by offering a world-class research facility to scientists.

The SAAO also furthers astrophysics and astronomy in southern Africa by publishing discoveries and research findings. In addition, the Observatory conducts and participates in outreach activities to spark interest among the citizens on physics and astronomy. Operating under the South African Department of Science and Innovation, the National Research Foundation  manages the

South African Astronomical Observatory Bursary

In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the SAAO will be selecting 10 beneficiaries who will receive R20,000 worth of bursary support. Candidates will be university students pursuing their qualifications in the Northern Cape. The bursary amount will cover school expenses  such as:

  • Textbook costs
  • Transportation
  • Food allowance
  • Computers and other educational equipment costs

Bursary Requirements and Eligibility

  • Northern Cape students pursuing their 1st or 2nd year of qualification in the following disciplines:
    • Mathematics
    • Tourism
    • Science
    • Science Education
    • Engineering
  • Household income does not exceed R600,000

How to Apply and Application Details

Eligible applicants who wish to apply will need to prepare and the following support documents to their application:

  • Application letter indicating field of study, household income, and motivation
  • 1st-year students must submit proof of admission at a South African university as well as a photocopy of the matric certificate
  • 2nd-year students must submit results from 1st year of studies

All applications are to be sent via email to

Closing Date

15 May 2021

Contact Details

Enquiries about the bursary programme are to be sent to

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