DSI – CSIR Inter-Bursary Support Programme (IBS)

Closing Date 23 October 2020.

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) established the inter-bursary support programme for postgraduate studies to support capacity development in key strategic and priority areas identified in key departmental strategies. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is supporting the DSI in the development of skills in these areas. 


  • All students accepted for- or registered for full-time studies at any South African public university 
  • All students who intend to register or are registered for the following: 
    • -  Honours/4th year Engineering/BTech/Advanced Diploma 
    • -  Masters 
    • -  Doctoral

The CSIR-DSI Inter-Bursary Support Programme applications are restricted to those students
whose degrees are aligned to the thematic research areas and research themes/technology streams indicated below. Supervisor endorsement and motivation will be required with each bursary application for Masters and Doctoral applications.
Preference will be given to applicants from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and people living with disabilities.

Value of the bursary award per annum 


Honours Masters Doctoral 

R90 000 R100 000 R130 000 

The full bursary amount will be deposited to the student’s university account to cover registration and tuition fees, the balance will be allocated on a monthly or quarterly basis by the university to the student. This funding cannot supplement existing bursaries from other government sources (e.g. NRF or other government-derived bursaries). If the student, applies for more than one government derived bursary and becomes successful in all of those s/he should choose only one before accepting this award. Once the funds have been legally paid to the student’s university account, the reversal of the funds is not allowed later in the course of the academic year. 

Funding allocated for each bursary is for the specific academic year in which it was awarded. For first time registration, an Honours/4th year Engineering/BTech/Advanced Diploma award will be limited to one year, Master’s award to two years and Doctoral award to three years. Funding is guaranteed for one year, continuation of funding is dependent on student’s performance and the availability of funds from the sponsor. The period of the award is calculated from the first year of registration of the study or research regardless of the Inter- Bursary Support Programme funding. For example, a Master’s student who obtains support in their second year of registration will only be funded for 1 year. 


Feedback will ONLY be sent to successful applicants, within two months of the closing date of the applications. If you do not receive any feedback from us within two months of the closing date of applications, please consider your application unsuccessful. 

All successful applicants will be informed by email and are required to accept the allocated funds by signing an Award Letter, Bursary Contract and submitting their proof of registration within the prescribed time period. The funds will be processed by the CSIR after the submission of all the required documents. 

5. Reporting Requirements 

Students are required to submit mid-year progress reports, which are to be signed-off by the supervisor. At the end of the academic year, students must submit an annual progress report (APR). An official template for the APR will be provided. The purpose is to ensure that stated objectives are met within the stipulated timeframes. 

6. Work-back requirements 

Students are not subject to any work-back agreement with the CSIR upon completion of their studies. 


Thematic Research Focus Areas 

Preference will be given to projects within the below mentioned areas. 

Honours/4th year Engineering/BTech/Advanced Diploma level students should state clearly which thematic research focus area they are applying for, so that it is clear that they can form part of the future pipeline development. It will be an added advantage to show whether their final year project is aligned with the research focus area. 

Thematic research areas of interest for bursary support are summarised below: 


Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in areas relating to Aerospace, specifically within the research themes/technology streams prescribed from the Commercial Aerospace Industry Development Study (CAIDS) will be considered. Proposed projects must be directed towards one of the following: 

  • Aero-structures;
  • Propulsion;
  • Avionics;
  • Sensors;
  • Information Technology.


Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in areas relating to Composites (natural fibre or bio-composites) may focus on any area of composites that contributes towards the improvement of lightweight components in one of the following areas: 

  • Transportation (including but not limited to general aviation, automotive and rail);
  • Structural Applications (including but not limited to building and construction);
  • Marine Applications (including but not limited to boat building).

Modelling and Digital Sciences
Prospective physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering postgraduate students intending to pursue topics in the following streams of information security are considered:

  • Biometrics (including but not limited to fingerprint, iris, facial and gait recognition)
  • Token-based authentication (including but not limited to smart card systems)
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science

Microsystems Technology
Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in areas relating to microfluidics and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), broadly referred to as Microsystems Technology, may focus on any area which will contribute towards the improvement of one of the following streams:

  • Microfluidics
  •  MEMS
  •  Printed functionality
  • Sensors

Titanium (Manufacturing Elements)
Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in areas that are in support of the Titanium Centre of Competence (TiCoC), a program in support of a sustainable South African Titanium Industry that will contribute to future growth of the economy, will be considered. Preference will be given to projects that are aligned with research and development within the following streams:

  • Primary Metal (Titanium) Production
  • Titanium Powder Consolidation
  • High Speed Additive Manufacturing
  • Investment Casting
  • High Performance Machining
  • Friction Welding
  • Sheet Forming
    Cross-cutting aspects such as Physical Metallurgy and Characterisation, Design, Simulation and
    Modelling will also be considered.
    Please note that students that are already funded under TiCoC will not be considered for funding in this program.

Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in the following areas will be considered:

  • Free-space and Fibre Optics
  • Optical tweezing
  • Bio-photonics
  •  Quantum optics
  • Laser research
  • Quantum control with photonic systems
  •  Laser cooled atomic systems research
  •  Laser welding
  • Free-space and fibre optical communication systems


Biopharming; Bioprocessing; Bio-catalysis

Information and Communications Technology

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  •  Information Technology
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  •  Electronic Engineering
  •  Information Systems Management
  •  Statistics
  • Data Science
  • Mathematical Statistics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)
Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in the following areas will be considered:

  • Bio-economy (African traditional medicine, food security, health, technology, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals)
  •  Climate Change (Environmental Management)
  • Technology Innovations
  • Energy (alternative and clean sources)
  • Indigenous farming practices
  • Engineering (Product and process development)
  • Ethnobotany and Ethno-pharmacology


Students interested in pursuing post graduate studies in the following areas will be considered: 

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  •  Health Sciences (excluding Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science)
    o Biochemistry o Pharmacology o Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Forensic medicine
  • Nutrition
  •  Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Precision Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Bioinformatics

8. Continuation of funding 

Although the award is for the 2021 academic year, continuation of the award for Masters and Doctoral students will be dependent on the availability of funds and the academic progress of the student (as captured in the APR with input from the supervisor of the proposed research). Students will be notified about the outcome of their renewal via direct correspondence. 

The applicant and supervisor must indicate when they submit their APR whether continuation support is requested. 

9. Successful completion of the online application form
Applicants are required to complete their online application forms in full. Incomplete application 

forms will not be considered.
All applications must be accompanied by the following supporting documents: 

  • −  Proof of South African Identity Document (ID) or Passport (for international students) and Permanent Residency
  • −  Official and certified university degree certificates
  • −  Transcript of academic record indicating a minimum accumulative academic achievement in previous degree.
  • −  Recommendation letter by Supervisor (compulsory for master’s and doctoral applicants).
  • −  Admission letter indicating full time registration (if available). This will be required if application is successful.
  • −  Reference Letters (if available). This will be required if application is successful.
    Please note the following: All required documents must be attached as one PDF file in the following order: Identity document, proof of permanent residence and/or passport, certified university degree certificates and transcripts, letter of admission (if available). Submit all the required supporting documents by email to: HCD-INTERBURSARY@csir.co.za
    When submitting the supporting documents, please make sure that you write your initials, surname, level of study applying for and Thematic area on the subject line of the email. See example below:
    E.g. JT Komane_Hons_Photonics
    It is the responsibility of the student to find a suitable supervisor and ensure that the supervisor supports the application.
    Contact details
    For Enquiries the CSIR may be contacted by email at HCD-Interbursary@csir.co.za