Johannesburg, 13 May 2011 – PetroSA, South Africa’s national oil company, today announced the granting of a R3 million cash donation to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to assist historically-disadvantaged learners in the areas of research, innovation and advancement.
The cash boost is the continuation of a scholarship programme begun by PetroSA to fund black and female post-graduate candidates in the levels of Masters and PhD studies at the UJ. The programme began in 2009 and to date the national oil company has donated R9 million. The donation is worth R3 million a year, over three years.
Named the Next Generation Scholars programme, it aims to change the face of postgraduate studies in the country by focusing on the value of research outputs in universities. Scholars are selected on grounds of their academic record, their skills for and inclination towards an academic career, and whether their disciplines complement the UJ’s research and academic niches.
The programme began following a realisation that most research at South African universities is currently being undertaken by mature, mostly male, white academics. Several universities are already relying on post-retirement contracts with senior researchers to maintain research outputs. The lack of a new generation of scholars is impacting on the future of academic research. The PetroSA donation assists with the unearthing of new talented researchers.
Nkosemntu Nika, PetroSA’s Acting President & CEO, said the donation was also aimed at ensuring the university was able retain skilled black graduates as academics.
“At PetroSA we are proud innovators of cutting-edge technology. We are leaders in our field and therefore encourage the development and nurturing of academic talent. That is why we are involved in the Next Generation Scholars programme,” he said.
“This will ensure that we build a pool of talented young professionals, mainly from historically-disadvantaged communities. This can only be good for the country,” Mr Nika added.
Over the past three years the programme has dozens of post-graduate students. As a result of the programme successful master’s students receive R80 000 per annum for two years. The master’s bursary programme acts as a portal into the PhD programme, as the best 50 per cent of the master’s students will be admitted into the PhD programme. PhD students will receive R130 000 per annum for three years. One year may be spent abroad at one of the UJ’s partner universities.
PetroSA is a leading state-owned energy company. The company operates and owns one of the world’s largest Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) refineries at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. GTL technology is renowned for producing some of the cleanest fuels in the world. The company also has a robust and dynamic Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme. PetroSA has invested over R200 million towards CSI initiatives that better the lives of all South Africans.
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