Oppenheimer research grant offers R2 million funding to African scientist

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jun 4, 2021

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The Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Research Grant is offering funding of over R2 million to an African scientist with a trans-disciplinary research applications that seek solutions to challenges in Africa.

The grant was established in honour of the late Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer who was passionate about preserving the continent’s natural heritage. It aims to continue her contribution to and love for Africa, the environment, and for pioneering science.

The successful candidate will receive R2 059 938 – $150,000 (USD), which will support a research programme of up to three years. The funds will be distributed in agreed tranches, based on satisfactory progress as measured against agreed milestones.

Head of Oppenheimer Generations Philanthropies, Bridget Fury, said: “We are delighted to continue to give tribute to Mrs Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer, preserve her legacy, and make known her lifelong vision of seeing research being at the forefront of developing solutions in conserving Africa’s natural heritage.”

While the head of research and conservation said: “We look forward to receiving ground-breaking research applications from entrants for the third JWO Research Grant. We are confident that the contributions will not only enhance how we better manage our natural environment but also ensure the continued advancement of science on our continent.”.

Grant eligibility

  • The lead applicant should be an early career African scientist.
  • Must have strong links to a credible African institution.
  • Should be proposing to conduct research on the continent.
  • The applicant must hold a degree (PhD, equivalent or higher qualification), and should have no more than seven years of work and/or research experience post-degree (excluding career breaks, including family-related breaks).
  • The institution must have a proven ability to manage funding and subscribes to good financial grant practice.
  • The institutional affiliation may be academic, research, government, NGO and for-profit organisation.


  • 31 May - Online applications open.
  • 30 June - Online applications close.
  • 12 August - Invitations for full proposal.
  • 13 September - Full proposals due.
  • 13 October - Successful applicant will be notified.

Grant guidelines:

Special consideration will be given to empirical research that:

  • Advances the frontiers of knowledge within the chosen field.
  • Enables solutions to African challenges.
  • Exhibits scientific rigour and excellence.
  • Contributes to human capital development (e.g. mentorship, support, and professional development opportunities) for the next generation of researchers.
  • Involves trans-disciplinary collaboration with partners (preference intra-African) to leverage time, expertise, skills, materials, resources and reduce duplication.
  • Creates impact both during and beyond the grant period.
  • Displays knowledge of associated recent or on-going work on the continent.
  • Defines a clear plan for disseminating research outcomes both inside and outside the scientific community.
  • Endeavours to open access publications (popular and scientific).
  • Does not present unacceptable ethical or safety risks.

Grant process application:


  1. Open to all eligible applicants
  2. Will include lead applicant CV, and a 1 200-word research concept note
  3. Successful pre-proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal via email.

Full proposal:

By invitation only

  1. Will include detailed technical and budget information, and a letter of support from the applicant’s institution (further detail will be included in the invitation)
  2. The top three applicants will need to be available for an interview the week of 4 October 2021.
  3. The successful applicant and recipient of the JWO Research Grant will be notified via email and telephonically.
  4. The recipient will be formally awarded the JWO Research Grant at the Annual Oppenheimer Research Conference (Covid-19 dependent) and required to present an overview of their research programme/project.

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