STEP 1: ELIGIBILITY CHECK

1.1 WHICH TARGET GROUP DO YOU BELONG TO?

Target Group 1 (TG1) can be defined as:  African nationals and/or residents registered or having obtained a degree in one of the Higher Education Institutions that is a member of the PAPSSN consortium.

Target Group 2 (TG2) can be defined as:  African nationals and residents (students) registered in Higher Education Institution of African countries not included in the partnership, or whom have obtained a Higher Education Institution degree or equivalent from an institution of these countries.



1.2 WHO CAN APPLY?

Each student target group has its own eligibility criteria. Please check the eligibility criteria of your student target group carefully.

The eligible countries for TG2 are as follows;

  • Central:  Burundi,Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Principe

  • Eastern:  Comoros,Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania

  • Northern:  Algeria,Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco

  • Southern:  Angola,Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe

  • Western:  Benin,Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo

1.3 WHICH TYPES AND LEVEL OF MOBILITY ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU?

Available scholarships under the First call for applications:

Available scholarship opportunities for the PAPSSN first call are as follows:

 

7 PhD (6 full degree-seeking and one 12 months credit-seeking), 6 Masters (6 months credit-seeking visit) and 5 Staff short-term visit scholarships.



1.4 What does OUR SCHOLARSHIPS INCLUDE?

  • Roundtrip flight ticket and visa costs (using a preferred travel agent and calculated against direct linear distance)

  • Participation costs such as tuition fees, registration fees and service fees where applicable

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance (Health, Accident and Travel)

  • A monthly subsistence allowance for the mobility period

  • Settling in Allowance

  • Research Costs: only eligible to students on mobility for 10 months or more and to students who are registered for a minimum of 2 years. The distribution of funds from this pool shall be decided by the partners on the basis of the actual research needs of selected students. Students will be required to submit a budget for research.

  • An extra allowance corresponding to the monthly subsistence allowances will be paid per academic year to female master students and doctoral candidates, for mobility equal or longer than 2 academic years.

  • A second return ticket in case the mobility is equal or longer than two academic years.

Typeof mobility 

Subsistenceallowance

Settling-inallowance

Allowancesfor female scholarship holders

Participationcosts

Researchcosts 

Insurancecosts 

Travel and visa costs 

(per month) 

Singlepayment

(peracademic year only for mobility equal or longer than 2 academic years) 

(peracademic year only for mobility equal or longer than 10 months) 

(per academic year only for mobility equal or longer than 10 months) 

(per month) 

Master 

600

600

600

3500

600

75

According to travel bands 

Doctorates 

900

900

900

4000

2000

75

Staff 

1200

– 

– 

– 

– 

75

 

Must be paid in full to the scholarship holder 

To be managed by the partnership 

Note: Participation costs are transferred directly to the host institution. Insurance is arranged by the co-ordinating institution on behalf of students. 

Exchange opportunities (Masters and PhD):  Students registered as full-degree students at one of the partner PAPSSN universities within the consortium, spending a short period (6 months minimum) at one of the other institutions in the consortium and returning to their home institution after the exchange period to complete their degree at the home institution. Exchange students will spend their period at the host university as researchers, mainly being engaged in specialised theoretical or methodological training and research projects. Students will closely co-operate with their host and home university supervisors.

Full degree PAPSSN scholarships for Master and Doctoral students:

  In order to be eligible for this scholarship applicants must:

  • Be a national and resident in any of the eligible countries covered by the relevant Target Group; (Students cannot apply to study in an institution within their home country)

  • Be registered/admitted at one of the HEIs within the Partnership at the time of the application for a scholarship (Target Group I) or be registered/admitted in a HEI (not included in the partnership) of a country of the lot or having obtained a HEI degree (or equivalent) by an institution of a country concerned by the lot (Target Group 2);

  • Have sufficient knowledge of the language of the courses in the host Institutions.

Academic and administrative staff mobility:  These opportunities are designed to address the need for professional development of university staff and are limited to staff employed by the consortium partner universities, and aside from the individual opportunity, are aimed at building enhanced mutual institutional knowledge. This is intended to lead to the development of cooperative projects, benchmarking exercises, guest lecturing, curriculum development, sharing of knowledge and academic resources such as libraries and infrastructure and sabbatical research periods are included in this type of mobility. Individual projects will require strong support of the sending institutions and a matching host mentor / academic colleague will be found to support all staff during their mobility period. In addition to the above criteria there may be others defined internally by the partner institution to which you are applying. It is strongly recommended that applicants liaise with the relevant contact persons at the host institution and carefully read the relevant documents in the download section of this website.

STEP 2 – FIELD OF STUDY

Is your field of study eligible and available? Check the PAPSSN  fields of study  and its priority topics.

The complete list of courses and programmes offered at the partners institutions is presented in the PAPSSN prospectus downloadable here .



AVAILABLE FIELDS OF STUDY

PAPSSN will  ONLY  fund scholarship for mobility in the following fields of study and other fields related with Planetary and Space Science and Technology

  • Astronomyand Astrophysics

  • PlanetaryScience and Space exploration

  • Satellitetechnology

  • Earthobservation and remote sensing

  • Astrobiology

Note: PAPSSN scholarships will not fund an application outside the advertised research and academic offer.

STEP 3 – HOST INSTITUTION(S)

Check which partner University offers what you are looking for at the  study and research opportunities . Here you can also verify language and admission requirements. All Host Universities require you to apply for admission through their internal application process. Therefore, you are required to contact your preferred host University before you submit application for PAPSSN scholarship.

A detailed list of programmes offered is presented in the PAPSSN prospectus.

Below is the list of the research opportunities available for this first PAPSSN call for PhD candidates:

N.

Host institution

Research specialisation

Title

Abstract

Contact person

1

Addis Ababa University

Earth Observation, Atmospheric sciences

Studyingthe equatorial ionospheric irregularities

Ionized particles that inhabit the Earth’s upper atmosphere vary in space and time. The spatio-temporal variations of ionospheric ion density are a threat for trans-ionospheric propagation radio wave dependent applications like navigation and positioning. The effect of equatorial ionospheric ion density irregularities after sunset is found to be the most intense and most frequent compared to high and middle latitude regions ionospheric irregularities. As observed recently using Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) Satellite in-situ data, the African equatorial ionosphere exhibited the highest and frequency occurrence of equatorial ion density irregularities which is called equatorial plasma bubble (EPB). However, the triggering mechanisms for the day-to-day and longitudinal variations of EPB are not yet fully understood. To tackle this research problem multiple ground and space-based data will be used; for example COSMIC II is a constellation of six LEO satellites launched on June 25, 2019 into low degree inclination. It is equipped with different atmospheric and ionospheric sensors. From those sensors ionospheric and atmospheric parameters such as GNSS TEC, RO electron density profiles, amplitude and phase scintillation, in-situ ion density, plasma drift velocity, neutral temperature and wind speed are being obtained; and these measurements are available for public use. In addition, GNSS observations available for public use all over the globe are useful to drive conditions of the equatorial ionosphere. These and similar observations can be used to quantify equatorial ionospheric irregularity and associated driving parameters like vertical drift velocity. Moreover, it is suggested that atmospheric gravity waves seed the occurrence of equatorial ionospheric irregularity even though its role on the day-to-day and longitudinal variations EPB is not yet well understood. Therefore, the role of atmospheric gravity waves on the occurrence EPB will be investigated using atmospheric parameters such as neutral temperature profile and wind speed observed by SABER/TIMED and COSMIC II satellites. In addition to space observations different empirical and physical model data can be used to investigate this problem. Therefore, a student in this study will investigate comprehensively the playing factors in the occurrence of low-latitude postsunset ionospheric irregularities and their evolution, under varying space weather conditions, using multiple data sources and the underlying fundamental physics.



Contact person:

Nigussie Mezgebe Giday, PhD 

Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development 

Entoto Observatory Research Center (EORC)

Ethiopian Space Science  and Technology Institute (ESSTI)

Tele: (+251) 118961050

Mobile:   (+251) 944242039

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

P.O. Box 33679 




Earth Observation, Atmospheric sciences

Equatorialplasma drift velocity modeling

The equatorial ionosphere exhibits very complex variability that adversely affects trans-ionospheric propagation radio wave dependent applications. The equatorial ionospheric electrodynamics is believed to be the main role player for the occurrence of equatorial ionospheric irregularities. Especially, the post-sunset equatorial ionospheric irregularity which is commonly called equatorial spread F (ESF) is mainly controlled by the Pre-reversal Enhancement (PRE) vertical plasma drift velocity. Theoretical investigations have shown that the post-sunset F region zonal neutral wind speed, through ionospheric dynamo, produces PRE zonal electric field that is directly related to PRE vertical plasma drift. Other variables like the geomagnetic field strength and ionospheric conductivity affect the vertical plasma drift. To enrich our understanding about the role of the electrodynamics on the occurrence of ionospheric irregularity, plasma drift models have been developed by different studies. However, the empirical models that have been developed so far did not consider main drivers like zonal neutral wind speed as the model driver and as a result those empirical models are not able to mimic the diurnal and longitudinal variations vertical drift velocity. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop a model that can describe the longitudinal and diurnal variations of the equatorial ionosphere plasma drift velocity using multi-data sources. Different ionospheric and thermospheric parameters such as neutral wind speed, vertical plasma drift, ionospheric conductivity, geomagnetic field strength, and deviations between solar terminator and geomagnetic field line will be used in this model development. Therefore, a candidate must have an excellent background in modeling physical processes and processing Low Earth orbiting satellite and ground based ionospheric and thermospheric data using Python or R programming language.

Contact person:

Nigussie Mezgebe Giday, PhD 

Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development 

Entoto Observatory Research Center (EORC)

Ethiopian Space Science  and Technology Institute (ESSTI)

Tele: (+251) 118961050

Mobile:   (+251) 944242039

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

P.O. Box 33679 


2

Botswana International University of Science and Technology

Planetary Science and astrobiology

The astrobiological potential of the Makgadikgadi pans (Botswana)

The Makgadikgadi, Botswana, is the largest inland evaporitic basin in the world covering 16,000 km 2 . The basin comprises myriads of small evaporitic lakes and three larger pans, Ntwetwe, Sua and Nxai. Water and brines within the pans provide broad spectra of compositions have varying compositions: from Ca, Na and K dominated brines. The surface of the pan is dry for 8 months, from April to November, and is characterized by precipitation of layers of authigenic clays and evaporites such as gypsum, halite and potash. The halophilic environment harbours thriving microbial communities of extremophiles and fungi and includes unique niches ideal for testing new hypothesis on the resilience of life that can lead to breakthroughs in exobiological studies. Understanding functional metagenomics of the saltpans will potentially provide valuable information on the molecular adaptation and resistance to extreme environmental conditions.

The huge surface area provides environments that vary from playa lakes with ephemeral springs to the fossil dunes fields with direct analogies to Mars morphologies. The Makgadikgadi is fed by surface runoff and by groundwater upwelling that give rise to flood channels, ephemeral springs and layered morphologies. These peculiar layered morphologies are easily identified from remote sensing and are comparable to those observed in the equatorial region of Mars. The cyclical seasonal rise of water table leads to the formation of evaporite deposits comparable with the playa deposits found in Meridiani Planum and other regions on Mars with chloride and sulphate deposits. The Makgadikgadi pans represent an unparalleled example of the overlap of groundwater and wind activity paving the way for experiment aimed at testing existing hypothesis of Martian hydrogeology of Mars.

The main goals of this project would be to: i) perform a microstratigraphic study of the pan sediments to provide a geological and sedimentological framework to further studies; ii) perform radiocarbon dating measures to further constraint the age of the pan deposits; iii) study the presence of organominerals and the extent of the interactions between the extremophiles living in the pan and the authigenic minerals formed at the pan surface and in the subsurface. This project will include a strong field work component and analytical phase including Raman spectroscopy, SEM-EDX and cathodoluminescence.

Contact person:

Dr. Fulvio Franchi

franchif@biust.ac.bw

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST)

Private Mail Bag 16, Palapye

BOTSWANA




Remote sensing and earth observation

Dynamics of Surface Water Quality Derived from Satellite Remote Sensing: Insights from water quality contrasts of Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Okavango Delta in Botswana

Water quality refers to the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological characteristics of water. Surface Water quality indexes include physical, chemical, and biological properties These indexes are conventionally ascertained by in-situ measurements. For large area of water body, in-situ measurements are a labour intensive and time-consuming process. Moreover, the accuracy and precision of in-situ data can be questionable due to both asynoptic field sampling and laboratory errors. As a result, it is not viable to provide a simultaneous surface water quality fluctuation database on a regional scale that represent point estimations of the surface water conditions in time and space. Obtaining spatial and temporal variations of quality indices in large water body sampling is almost impossible under these conditions. Therefore, these difficulties of successive and integrated sampling become a significant obstacle to the monitoring and management of the dynamics of surface water quality.

However,with advent of space borne remote sensing techniques, it has become possible to monitor and identify large scale regions and water bodies that suffer from water quality problems in a more effective and efficient manner. Using remote sensing, water bodies can be monitored using the interaction of its optically active constituents with light and the change in reflected energy spectrum. Other properties of water which is optically inactive include acidity, and pathogens, which have no directly detectable signals, but may be interpretable and inferable from those detectable water quality parameters with which strong correlations can be found. Many researchers frequently use the visible and near infrared bands of the solar spectrum (mostly from blue to near infrared region) in their investigations to obtain robust correlations between water column reflection and physical and biogeochemical constituents, such as transparency, chlorophyll concentration (phytoplankton), organic matters and mineral suspended sediments in different water bodies.

Lake Tana is located outside the Rift Valley on the north-western plateau of Ethiopia and it is the largest water bodies in Ethiopia. In the Lake Tana watershed, four major rivers contribute about 93% of the stream flow into the lake. Among the largest tributary river, Gilgel Abay contributes 50% of the streamflow followed by Gumara 32%, Ribb 12%, and Megech 6%. The local and regional ground water in flows contribute only 3% and 7%, respectively. The lake is geologically dammed by quaternary and tertiary basalts in the south and western part where the out flowing Blue Nile River drains out. The damming has cut off any oozing out flow which simplifies modeling of the lake stage. Lake Tana has rich natural resources and great potential for the development of irrigation, hydroelectric power, high value crops, aquatic products, livestock products, and ecological tourism. But currently the lake is endangered by heavy sediment loads, eutrophication, invasive weed (e.g., water hyacinth) and heavy metals thereby degrading its surface water. Moreover, the water quality and quantity have been deteriorating due to rapid population growth, soil erosion, sedimentation and eutrophication by organic and inorganic fertilizers from agriculture. The quick loss of vegetative cover and land use change due to recent agricultural intensification could have also attributed to recent increases in sedimentation and biodiversity degradation in the lake.

In contrast, the Okavango Delta is believed to be pristine until recent past. The delta is known for its shallow valleys, meandering channels, oxbow lakes and grassy floodplains that sustain a fragile and complex ecosystem. The annual water inflow in the basin is in the range from 3120 Mm3, during the dry season, to 10,900 Mm3, during wet season. Approximately 95% of the water inflow into the basin is from the Angolan (upper) catchment. In the Delta, about 98% of all water is lost by evapotranspiration. The effects of climate changes and human activities on the water quantity and quality of the Okavango Delta are still poorly understood and there is, to date, no comprehensive report on the resilience of the system to hydroclimatic extremes.

This study aims to provide comprehensive and robust relationship between environmental factors and some of the major water quality indicators such as chlorophyll-a (chl-a), colored dissolved organic matters (CDOM), Secchi disk depth (SDD), turbidity, total suspended sediments (TSS), and total phosphorus (TP) for the two contrasting water bodies based on analysis of satellite imageries that cover longer period in order to determine (i) change in the land cover/land use around the two water bodies; (ii) water quality dynamics over a period of 18 years (2002-2019); and (iii) obtain insights from similarities and contrasts in the dynamics of water quality that might be useful for intervention measures and policies.


3

Copperbelt University

Cosmology

Investigationinto the Mass of the Photon Using Gamma-Ray Burst Time Delays

Gamma-RayBurst (GRB) events are one of the most energetic events in the Universe. In these events, it has been observed that photons of different frequencies emanating from these events arrive at the Earth based telescope at different times. This has given rise to the phenomenon known as “ TimeDelays in the Arrival Times of GRB Photons of Different Frequency “. The mundane assumption in prevalent and contemporary physics is that these time delays are a result of the Photon being endowed with a non-zero mass. In this project, while the Photon is assumed to be massive, the time delay is not attributed to the mass-effect but to the cosmic medium being a rare field plasma and this plasma has a dispersive effect on the propagating Photon. This view we have arrived at from preliminary results on 9 GRBs. In this project, the student is expected to make a wide survey of the GRB database and search for this signature of a rarefied cosmic plasma.

Dr. Golden Gadzirai Nyambuya

Copperbelt University

Department of Physics

School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

P.O Box 21692

Kitwe, Zambia

Phone: +260 21 2290945

Email: gadzirai@gmail.com

Mobile: +260 969269213 (WhatsApp)


4

University Of Nigeria Nsukka


High Energy Astrophysics

A Study of the Mechanism for the X-rays Emission from Symbiotic Stars

Symbiotic stars (SySts) are particularly interesting as they are possible progenitors of Type Ia supernovae, which are used as ‘standard candles’ for cosmological studies. Despite this use, the class themselves cover a broad range of systems, typically identified in the optical, where they are often bright. The X-ray emission is often quite soft (i.e. low energy), and many systems may be undetected due to absorption of the X-rays by the Galactic interstellar medium. In the case of a white dwarfs as a primary, the secondary can be either a red giant or an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star, and they are categorized as white dwarf (WD) symbiotic, whereas in the case of a neutron star as a primary, the secondary can be either a giant, AGB star, or a supergiant, and they are categorized as symbiotic X-ray binaries.

Efforts are currently ongoing to unravel the uncertainty associated with the origin of the X-ray emission from Symbiotic Stars (SySts), a broad class composed of interacting, binary systems formed from a red giant or a supergiant, which transfers matter to a much hotter companion, either a white dwarf (WD) or neutron star. A century ago Merril 1919, identified the first such system in the odd variable star, R Aqr, which appeared to have an optical spectrum typical of an M dwarf but with bright [O III] lines, a higher ionization state expected from a cool star. Decades later SySts were detected in X-rays, but this has not simplified the situation. Researchers have divergent views on the origin of the X-rays emission, resulting in classifications of X-ray emitting SySts as follows: (a) the supersoft X-ray sources with energies ≤0.4 KeV, likely emitted directly from the white dwarf , (b) soft X-ray objects that exhibit a peak at 0.8 keV and maximum energies up to 2.4 KeV, likely originating from a hot, shocked gas where the stellar winds collide (c) objects with a non-thermal emission and energies higher than 2.4 KeV

due to the accretion of mass onto a neutron star, and (d) those with very hard X-ray emission (>10 KeV) the , assumed to be emitted from the boundary layer of the accretion disk and the accreting hot companion. In many cases, however, the precise mechanism and physics responsible for the production of X-ray emission remains uncertain, in part because their distances are poorly estimated or not available. We propose to use newly-available data on the distances of X-ray emitting SySts from ESA’s Gaia mission combined with archival X-ray data from the Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift satellites to determine the true X-ray luminosities and spectra of SySts. We will then correlate this data with the different proposed types to search for a better understanding of the physics and origin of these unusual systems.


The main objective of this project is re-analyze all of the existing Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift X-ray observations of SySts with known Gaia distances to search for correlations between the different types SySts, with intention of getting a clearer understanding of the mechanism for the X-rays emission from these perculiar sources . Specifically, the research will focus on answering such questions like: (i) how does the hot component accrete matter from the secondary star? (ii) what is the physical nature of the accretion flow in SySts? and (iii) how are the X-rays (soft and hard) produced? A major component of this project is the re-analysis of all of the existing Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift X-ray observations of SySts with known Gaia distances using the latest Chandra CIAO and software from the other missions.

Prof. Romanus Eze

romanus.eze@unn.edu.ng

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Nigeria Nsukka

Enugu State

Nigeria




Astrophysics , Active Galactic Nuclei

Multi-wavelength Study of Active Galactic Nuclei across Cosmic Time

Galaxies are the fundamental building blocks of the universe and massive galaxies are known to be active due to intense accretion of matter onto a supermassive blackhole at the centre of the galaxy. It is widely believed that the energetic output of radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGN), which launch powerful relativistic jets of material, plays a significant role in controlling star formation in their surrounding galaxies. This PhD project is designed to address some of the existing gaps in our knowledge of the physical processes that drive radio-loud AGN activity and how these physical processes evolve across cosmic time. This research will be possible through the vast samples of radio-loud AGN being generated in various surveys at radio, optical, X-ray and γ-ray frequencies. The research will focus on developing some theoretical framework for modelling and statistical interpretation of the observed data for both high- and low-redshift AGN.

Specifically, the project will employ multi-wavelength data that are readily available in public archives to investigate the accretion/emission properties of AGN over a wide range of redshift. Special attention will be paid to similarities and/or systematic differences in the data, which could be interpreted in the context of the evolutionary scenario.

Dr Finbarr C Odo

finbarr.odo@unn.edu.ng

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Nigeria Nsukka

Enugu State

Nigeria


5

University of the Witwatersrand

Geophysics and Hydrogeology

Estimating groundwater storage changes in the western cape using satellite data and machine learning


Access to sufficient quantities of clean water for drinking, farming and sanitation is a fundamental human need. As the largest continental landmass straddling the Equator, Africa is predicted to be most at risk from climate change driven by increasing temperatures. This vulnerability is exacerbated by high poverty levels and a strong dependence not only on subsistence farming, but also rapid urbanisation (that will see Lagos, Nigeria becoming the largest city in the world by 2100) and growth of informal settlements lacking basic infrastructure. It is clear that groundwater resources will play an increasingly important role in Africa’s future. In South Africa in 2018, the Western Cape had experienced 3 years of drought and South Africa’s 3rd largest city Cape Town was on the brink of a complete water shutdown (“Day Zero”), despite stringent mitigation measures. Catastrophe was averted by good rains later in 2018; however, the neighbouring Eastern Province is now in the grip of a similar situation. In times of drought, groundwater can provide a much needed alternative; however, more research is needed to understand groundwater storage changes within the country.

One way in which storage changes can be quantified is through satellite data. The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission was launched in 2002 by NASA and DLR of German as part of the international Earth Observing System of satellites. The mission was made up of 2 identical satellites that mapped the Earth’s gravity field until 2017.

Because the GRACE satellites recorded from 2002 to 2017, it is possible to investigate changes in the Earth’s gravity field over time, such as changes due to groundwater variation. This project will use GRACE satellite gravity data in conjunction with machine learning to understand this change in groundwater storage over time in the Western Cape. This will be compared with ground measurements. Machine learning will also be used to investigate the impact climate change will have on storage changes going forward.

In this project, the near surface that hosts aquifers will be characterised using ESA’s Swarm (magnetic) and SMOS (soil moisture and ocean salinity) satellite data. The Swarm satellites were launched in 2013 by the European Space Agency and will continue until 2021. The 3 satellites host a variety of instruments, including magnetometers to map lithospheric magnetic sources. While the SMOS mission launched in 2009 and also continuing until 2021, has mapped variation in soil moisture levels using microwave L-band measurements, which have been used to create of climate change models.

The ultimate aim of this project will be to influence policy making around climate change and sustainable development in South Africa.

Requirements: Experience in geophysics and programming. Additional background in hydrogeology is beneficial.


Contact Person:

Stephanie Enslin
stephanie.scheiber@wits.ac.za
School of Geoscience,
University of the Witwatersrand
South Africa




MEERKATand SKA

Charactering antenna configuration performance in the transition from MEERKAT to the Square Kilometre Array


One of the great advantages of building a radio interferometer is that once a small sub-set of the total number of antennas have been built, astronomical observations can begin in parallel with the continued construction of the full array. This was the case with MeerKAT, with first science observations beginning with just 16 of the final 64 antennas. The same will be true of MeerKAT’s transition into the expanded MeerKAT+ array, which will see 20 SKA1-mid 15-metre antennas added to the existing 13.5-metre MeerKAT antennas in the first half of this decade. In the second half of the decade, the array will be expanded to a total of 197 antennas to make up the SKA mid-frequency array. Decisions on the optimal deployment and commissioning of antennas will have practical, financial, and scientific optimisation constraints. This PhD project will explore aspects of those tradeoffs using sophisticated interferometric simulation software. The software will produce synthetic data products that closely mimic those achievable with a suite of possible sub-sets of antennas in the transition from MeerKAT to MeerKAT+ to SKA1-mid. The supervisors of this group played an instrumental part in the optimisation of the MeerKAT+ antenna configuration and final design selection. The software and methodology they developed to do so will be used and enhanced in this PhD project in order to make informed, optimal decisions of the array expansion, including array performance metrics such as imaging fidelity and dynamic range using realistic sky models and instrument models (e.g. primary beams, polarisation leakage). The simulations will also include enhancements possible with prospective African VLBI stations, and explore performance metrics of sub-array of the MeerKAT, MeerKAT+ and SKA1-mid in this regard.


Contact Person:

Prof Roger Deane
roger.deane@wits.ac.za
Wits Centre for Astrophysics
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg
South Africa


Below is a comprehensive list of available projects for the MSc candidates, PAPSSN first call:

N.

Host institution

Research specialisation

Title

Abstract

Contact person

1

Addis Ababa University

Space Physics

Investigation of GICs over the African low-latitude region during varying geomagnetic storms


Geomagneticallyinduced currents (GICs) represent a significant space weather issue for power grid and pipeline infrastructure, particularly during severe geomagnetic storms. The impacts of GICs on critical infrastructure are severe in high-latitude regions due to the fact that the Earth’s magnetic field configuration is open at the poles. Thus, multiple studies have been conducted and despite understandable limitations in providing accurate warnings, research centres are in a position to offer near real-time forecasts of impacts of GICs on vulnerable infrastructures. However, not much studies has been conducted on the low-latitude regions that can be turned into early warning operational purposes to the said infrastructure, particularly in the African low-latitude regions. Ground-based magnetometer station data will be primarily used in order to investigate the severity of GICs during varying geomagnetic storms in the African low-latitude regions. Moreover, multiple solar and geomagnetic indices will also be used to supplement the investigation. Therefore, the student will employ different techniques using multiple data sources to analyse the cascading mechanisms during geomagnetic storms of varying magnitudes leading to the disturbance in magnitudes of the equatorial electro-jets (EEJ) which in turn results to GICs over African low-latitude region. It is also mandatory that the candidates have background in using Python or R programming languages.

Contact Person:


Dr Nigussie Mezgebe
Assistant Professor of Space Science at the Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development, Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Ethiopia Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development
Entoto Observatory Research Center (EORC)
Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI)
Tele: (+251) 118961050
Mobile: (+251) 944242039
P.O. Box 33679
Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia


2

Addis Ababa University

Cosmology

Evolution and day-to-day variability of night-time equatorial ionospheric plasma density irregularities


Post-sunset ionospheric plasma density irregularities in low latitudinal and equatorial regions are generally known as equatorial spread F (ESF). It is a post-sunset phenomena in which the F-region of the ionosphere becomes unstable as a result of Rayleigh-Taylor instability. As a result of this instability, large scale plasma bubbles develop at the bottom of F-region and arise to more than 1000 km altitudes. Although it has been studied more than eight decades since the discovery of ionospheric plasma irregularities by Booker and Wells (1938), the basic physical mechanism of how these irregularities form and their day-to-day variability remain a challenging issue. Understanding its short time characteristics and forecasting its occurrence is very important because of its impact on radio communications that degrade ground and satellite-based communications and navigation systems. In this study we will utilize data from multiple ground – based instruments including GPS and magnetometers and also satellite based measurements to study magnetically quiet and disturbed time characteristics of plasma irregularities. The study also includes developing empirical representation of ESF over the African longitudinal sector


Contact Person:

Dr Nigussie Mezgebe
Assistant Professor of Space Science at the Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development, Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), Ethiopia Department of Space Science and Applications Research & Development
Entoto Observatory Research Center (EORC)
Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI)
Tele: (+251) 118961050
Mobile: (+251) 944242039
P.O. Box 33679
Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia


3

BIUST

Cosmology

A Comparative Analysis of Galaxy Number Count and Cosmic Magnification as Cosmological Probes



As we enter the era of precision cosmology, where surveys will have unprecedented measurement ability, observational data will hold unmatched power for testing theoretical ideas. This presents a strong opportunity for innovative work. For example, it will be possible to develop a novel framework to answer the crucial question: Which is a better cosmological probe: galaxy number count or cosmic magnification? It is important to answer thi question since, in order to realise the full potential of the forthcoming precise observational data, we need to employ only the right, most effective and/or efficient analytical tools (the cosmological observables). The galaxy number count has been widely used in cosmology to hunt down the signatures of dark energy and modified gravity in the large-scale structure. However, most of the theoretical models appear degenerate by this approach. A recent work suggest that the cosmic magnification holds the potential to distinguish, specifically, models of interacting dark energy. This needs to be investigated further. In this work we will build on this effort and extend it to standard, non-interacting dark energy theories and alternative theories of gravity.

We will compare the results with a corresponding rigorous analysis using the galaxy number counts. We will provide a comprehensive investigation of the effectiveness of both the galaxy number count and the cosmic magnification as cosmological probes of models of the late-time cosmic accelerated expansion. Method: This project will involve mainly analytical calculations and computer programming in python. Given the allowed duration for this project (6 months), the potential student is expected to have good background in cosmology or astrophysics, and a substantial experience with python. The candidate needs to be hardworking. Potential output: A minimum of one research publication in an international journal is expected from this project.


Contact Person:

Dr. Adams Duniya
duniyaa@biust.ac.bw
Department of physics and Astronomy
Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST)
Private Mail Bag 16, Palapye 
BOTSWANA


4

Copperbelt University

Observational astrophysics and instrumentation – site selection


Survey and characterisation of potential observatory sites in Zambia


Zambia is centrally located and has great potential to complement sky surveys that, at present, are mostly done in the southern and northern parts of the continent. This is largely because there are no telescopes installed in Zambia in particular and Central Africa in general and that potential sites to host any such telescopes have not been sited save for the SKA site in Kasempa and the AVN site in Mwembeshi. This project aims to survey potential sites for hosting future telescope projects and carry out preliminary site characterisation for areas that will show potential for both optical and radio telescope observatories. The project will involve travelling to different places across Zambia, including mostly the remote places.


Contact Person:

Prospery Simpemba
pcs200800@gmail.com
Copperbelt University
Department of Physics
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
P.O Box 21692
Kitwe, Zambia

Phone: +260 21 2290945
Mobile: +260977704168 (WhatsApp)
Skype ID: simpemba


5

Copperbelt University

Theoretical Astrophysics

Investigation into the Origins of the Titius-Bode Law Using Exoplanetary Data



The Titius-Bode Law (TBL) is an empirical relation giving the placement of a planet from its host-star. In the advent of exoplanets, this relation has been tested by a number of authors and found to work. The shortcoming however is that there are two free parameters which are specific to the system under consideration and in-order to know what these parameters are, one has to first measure them. What this means is that the TBL is not only grossly limited but handicapped insofar as its predictive power is concerned. The reason for this is that the origins of the TBL are not known hence the free-parameters. In our recent works which are not yet published, it has been shown that these gap in the free-parameters can be closed. What is needed is to carry out field-wide study of explanets from the currently available data whereby a rigous statistical analysis is carried out in-order to strengthen the preliminary results that we have.


Contact Person:

Dr. Golden Gadzirai Nyambuya
gadzirai@gmail.com CopperbeltUniversity
Department of Physics
School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
P.O Box 21692
Kitwe, Zambia

Phone: +260 21 2290945
Email: gadzirai@gmail.com
Mobile: +260 969269213 (WhatsApp)


6

University of Nigeria Nsukka

Astrophysics

Pulsar glitch activity parameter and its effect on magnitude of neutron star inner crust



Spinning neutron stars, known as pulsars, provide specimens where matter exists in extraordinary conditions not found here on earth. Understanding the dynamics of their interior is of utmost importance to scientists as it presents a picture of how matter in degenerate state interacts. The interior of neutron star is mostly enriched with degenerate neutrons in form of superfluid. Based on current understanding of neutron star structure, this superfluid is located in the inner crust and the core of the neutron star. An impulsive dynamic anomaly in the spin evolution of neutron stars known as pulsar glitch is considered as the most striking manifestation of the existence of a neutron superfluid in the inner crust that rotates independently. However, due to a trigger mechanism that is yet to be well understood, this independently rotating superfluid can suddenly transfer angular momentum to the rest of the neutron star components resulting in the sudden spin-up of the crust – the glitch. Glitch behaviors in pulsar are mainly studied through the glitch sizes and the inter-glitch time intervals. The behavior can be very different from pulsar to pulsar and from event to event. Pulsar researchers rely on the glitch behavior to extract some information about the structure of neutron star. One of such behaviors of interest is the pulsar glitch phenomenon. Pulsar glitch activity parameter, which is the mean fractional change in pulsar spin frequency per year due to glitch, is being used to constrain the magnitude of the neutron star inner crust. The usual way to calculate the glitch activity parameter is a linear regression of the cumulative glitch sizes with respect to the cumulative inter-glitch time intervals. This approach certainly underestimates the errors on the activity parameter. This is largely because this approach assumes a linear dependence of glitch sizes on the inter-glitch time intervals, as well as equal variance in the fit residuals. In reality, both assumptions are not in line with glitch data. When the glitch activity parameter obtained in this approach is used to constrain the magnitude of the inner crust, results which are in conflict with theoretical predictions are usually obtained.

In this project, the usual ways of calculating the glitch activity parameter is to be reviewed, a model for proper quantification of the errors involved shall be developed. In addition, Equations-of-State governing the neutron star structure is to be constrained by the improved glitch activity results.


Contact Person:

Augustine Chukwude (Ph.D)
augustine.chukwude@unn.edu.ng
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Nigeria Nsukka
Enugu State
Nigeria


7

University of Nigeria Nsukka

Astrophysics

Star formation and AGN activities in nearby star-forming HII galaxies


Galaxyformation and evolution involves complex physical processes and understanding how galaxies evolve through cosmic time remains a fundamental question in astrophysical research. Star-formation (SF), one of the most important processes is fundamental to the formation and evolution of galaxies. A measure of the rate of star formation, along with other properties of a galaxy such as the stellar mass, are obtained through fitting SED (spectral energy distribution) models to multi-wavelength spectrophotometric observational data of the galaxy. This allows for SFR calibrations of luminosities at various wavelengths. The Hα emission line stands out as the best tracer of SF coming from HII regions ionised by massive stars. However such line can also arise from these same massive stars heated by Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), hence SFR calibrations based on Hα line can be overestimated by the presence of an AGN if the AGN’s contribution is not taken into account. In this project, our goal is to study the effect of AGN on the SFR of it’s host galaxy. We will use the python-based code, CIGALE (Code Investigating GALaxy Emission), a state-of-the-art galaxy SED-fitting model relying on energy balance, to compute the contribution of an AGN in a self consistent manner in estimating the SFR of a statistical significant sample of nearby star forming galaxies. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of the AGN contributions obtained from other independent methods such as line ratio diagnostic diagrams as well as that obtained with other SED-fitting models. Correlations between the AGN Xray luminosity and SFR will be searched for. The analytical component of the project will also involve some level of computing/modelling.

Contact Person:

Dr. Iyke A. Obi
tonykassidy_z@yahoo.com
NASRDA-Centre for Basic Space Sciences
University of Nigeria Nsukka
Enugu State
Nigeria


8

University of Nigeria Nsukka

Astrophysics

A Portable Pulsar Detection Radio Telescope operating at 608 – 611 MHz: Design, Construction and Performance


Pulsar signals are relatively weak and detected with a very sensitive receiver, at least when compared to that used to detect other radio sources. The first pulsar PSR J1919+21 was discovered by Jocelyn Bell in 1967 with a 16,000 m 2 array of 2000 dipoles tuned to 81.5 M Hz. With the recent introduction of the Software Defined Receivers (SDR) and availability of high performance PCs, this same observation can be carried out today with a relatively small antenna of no more than 2m2 and consisting of no more than 35 dipole elements, However, the detection of pulsar will NOT be in real time as done in professional radio telescopes but the approach is to record the signal and use modern specialised techniques of digital signal processing to increase the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and be able to detect the pulses. This project will basically involve the design and construction of a small portable radio telescope (along with its frontends and backends) with processing software capable of collecting sufficient data over a 4 to 6 hour time-frame to detect the brightest pulsars in the northern and southern hemispheres, PSR B0329+54 and PSR B0833-45, in the frequency band 608-611 M Hz.

Briefly, the front-end system will comprise a 2.5 m long 17-element Yagi which will be designed (using the YagiCAD software) and constructed by the student, a 5-element interdigital mechanical filter that will be also designed and constructed, ultra-low noise amplifiers, power dividers and bias tees that will be acquired from reputable radio astronomy equipments manufacturers. For the back-end components, a number of SDRs with at least a bandwidth of 2 MHz and precise internal clocks will be used as the receiver, a PC running Linux will be used for data acquisition and analysis.

Dataacquisition softwares will be based on the GNU Radio Consortium while data analysis and validation will be done using PRESTO (PulsaR Exploration and Search TOolkit), a C and python based analysis software primarily designed to efficiently search for binary millisecond pulsars from long observations. This project will serve as a basis for subsequent ones which will be aim at detecting less brighter pulsars by improving the overall system temperature.

Contact Person:

Dr. Iyke A. Obi
tonykassidy_z@yahoo.com
NASRDA-Centre for Basic Space Sciences
University of Nigeria Nsukka
Enugu State
Nigeria


9

University of the Witwatersrand

Astronomy

Designation of the astronomical plate archive of the South African sky

The Astronomical Plate Archive of the South African Sky, comprising dozens of historically important photographic plates taken at the Johannesburg Observatory dating back to 1909, is now based in the School of Physics at Wits. In order to maximise the potential of this invaluable data archive for scientific research, the contents of the plates must be digitised and rendered into a modern, open data format accessible to scientists worldwide.

Wits has begun the process of producing calibrated digital photographs of the plates and digitising the contents of the associated log books. What is needed is an automated process that can transform the digitised contents of the plates and log books into data formatted with astronomically relevant metadata and images compatible with resources such as the Virtual Observatory and other scientific open access databases. This MSc project will be to research the appropriate data format and algorithms and to develop and deploy the automated process that will transform the raw data of the digitised plate archive into a valuable and globally accessible resource for astronomical research.




Contact Person:

Prof Andrew Chen
andrew.chen@wits.ac.za
Wits Centre for Astrophysics
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg
South Africa


NOTE: ALWAYS CONTACT YOUR POTENTIAL SUPERVISOR (LISTED ABOVE AS CONTACT PERSON FOR EACH PROJECT) BEFORE ENTERING YOUR APPLICATION.

STEP 4 – READ THE GUIDELINES

Before entering the application platform, read our application guidelines ( PAPSSN prospectus ) to submit an eligible and successful application form. Find them in the  Downloads “section , at the top right of this webpage.

STEP 5 – DOCUMENTS

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

All documents must be provided in English language.

Each Host University may require additional mandatory documents (e.g. Pre-Acceptance Letter, specific certificates, etc.) so you must carefully check respective academic offer where this information has been specified. For some documents you can find the template to be used, in the  Downloads  section on the right.



5.1 MASTER FULL DEGREE

5.1.1 MANDATORY DOCUMENTS:

  • Passport or National ID

  • Bachelor’s certificate 

  • Transcript of Records of your Bachelor studies

  • At most 4-page Curriculum Vitae

  • Motivation letters: 1 per Host University. You can apply up to a maximum of 3 Host Universities. If you apply for 3 Host Universities, you must upload 1 motivation letter per each Host University. The 3 letters must be different!

  • Three (3) reference letters: One of the references must be from your last project supervisor.

  • Previous Intra-Africa/ACP Award Declaration. Downloads  Intra-Africa/ACPAward Declaration.

5.1.2. OTHER DOCUMENTS:

  • Language certificates. These are mandatory only if required by the Host University

  • Disadvantaged group supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you state to belong to a disadvantaged group

  • Target group 2 supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you apply under the Target Group 2 (A letter confirming your registration for postgraduate degree in your home institution).

  • All other documents you consider useful to evaluate your profile.

  • Pre-acceptance Letter issued by the Host University. All Host Universities require a pre-acceptance letter in order to be evaluated for PAPSSN Scholarship. If you do not upload this document when submitting your PAPSSN application, your application will not be considered valid and be excluded.

5.2 Master Exchange

5.2.1 MANDATORY DOCUMENTS FOR ALL TARGET GROUPS:

  • Passport or National ID

  • Proof of registration at a Master programme in your Home Institution

  • Transcript of Records of your Master studies

  • Bachelor’s certificate together with its Transcript of Records

  • At most 4-page Curriculum Vitae

  • Motivation letters: 1 per Host University. You can apply up to a maximum of 3 Host Universities. If you apply to 3 Host Universities you must upload 1 motivation per each Host University. The 3 letters must be different!

  • 2 Reference letters: One reference letter from your home institution supervisor

  • PAPSSN tentative study plan (your proposed mobility project). In the case you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 3 PAPSSN tentative study plans (1 per Host University). You must use the template found in the  Downloads  section,at the top right of this webpage

  • Previous Intra-Africa/ACP Award Declaration. Download  Intra-Africa/ACPAward Declaration PAPSSN Study Plan Template PAPSSN Research Proposal Template


5.2.2. OTHER DOCUMENTS:

  • Language certificates. These are mandatory only if required by the Host University

  • Disadvantaged group supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you state to belong to a disadvantaged group

  • All other documents you consider useful to evaluate your profile

  • Pre-acceptance Letter issued by the Host University. All Host Universities require a pre-acceptance letter in order to be evaluated for PAPSSN Scholarship. If you do not upload this document when submitting your PAPSSN application, your application will not be evaluated.

5.3 Doctorate Full Degree

5.3.1. MANDATORY DOCUMENTS:

  • Passport or National ID

  • Bachelor and Master certificates together with their Transcript of Records.

  • At most 4-page Curriculum Vitae

  • Motivation letters: 1 per Host University. You can apply up to a maximum of 3 Host Universities. If you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 1 motivation per each Host University. The 3 letters must be different!

  • 3 Reference letters: One of the reference letters must be from your Master supervisor

  • PAPSSN Research project proposal. In the case you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 3 PAPSSN Research project proposals (1 per Host University). You must use the template found in the  Downloads  section,at the top right of this webpage 

  • Previous Intra-Africa/ACP Award Declaration.

5.3.2. OTHER DOCUMENTS:

  • Language certificates. These are mandatory only if required by the Host University

  • Disadvantaged group supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you state to belong to a disadvantaged group

  • All other documents you consider useful to evaluate your profile

  • Pre-acceptance Letter issued by the Host University. All Host Universities require a pre-acceptance letter in order to be evaluated for PAPSSN Scholarship. If you do not upload this document when submitting your PAPSSN application, your application will not be evaluated.

5.4 DOCTORATE EXCHANGE

5.4.1. MANDATORY DOCUMENTS:

  • Passport or National ID

  • Proof of registration at a PhD programme in your Home Institution

  • Bachelor and Master certificate together with their Transcript of Records.

  • At most 4-page Curriculum Vitae

  • Motivation letters: 1 per Host University. You can apply up to a maximum of 3 Host Universities. If you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 1 motivation per each Host University. The 3 letters must be different!

  • 3 Reference letters: One of the reference letters must be from your Home Institution supervisor

  • PAPSSN Research project proposal. In the case you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 3 PAPSSN Research project proposals (1 per Host University). You must use the template found in the  Downloads  section,at the top right of this webpage

  • Previous Intra-Africa/ACP Award Declaration.

5.4.2. OTHER DOCUMENTS:

  • Transcript of Records of your PhD studies, if any

  • Language certificates. These are mandatory only if required by the Host University

  • Disadvantaged group supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you state to belong to a disadvantaged group

  • All other documents you consider useful to evaluate your profile

  • Pre-acceptance Letter issued by the Host University. All Host Universities require a pre-acceptance letter in order to be evaluated for PAPSSN Scholarship. If you do not upload this document when submitting your PAPSSN application, your application will not be evaluated.

5.5 ACADEMIC/ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF EXCHANGE

5.5.1. MANDATORY DOCUMENTS:

  • Passport or National ID

  • Proof of registration. This a certificate issued by your Home University stating that you are an Academic/Administrative Staff employed at your Home University.

  • Full Curriculum Vitae

  • For Academic staff only: list of main publications, research projects, titles and awards received

  • For Administrative staff only: description of the position covered, tasks and responsibilities

  • Motivation letters: 1 per Host University. You can apply up to a maximum of 3 Host Universities. If you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 1 motivation per each Host University. The 3 letters must be different!

  • Reference letters: at least one issued by the Head of your Department/Office responsible to approve your leave.

  • PAPSSN Work plan proposal. In the case you apply for 3 Host Universities you must upload 3 PAPSSN work plan proposals (1 per Host University). You must use the template found in the  Downloads  section,at the top right of this webpage 

  • Previous Intra-Africa/ACP Award Declaration.

5.5.2. OTHER DOCUMENTS:

  • Language certificates. These are mandatory only if required by the Host University

  • Disadvantaged group supporting documents. These are mandatory only if you state to belong to a disadvantaged group

  • All other documents you consider useful to evaluate your profile 

  • Pre-acceptance Letter issued by the Host University. All Host Universities require a pre-acceptance letter in order to be evaluated for PAPSSN Scholarship. If you do not upload this document when submitting your PAPSSN application, your application will not be evaluated.

STEP 6 SELECTION PROCESS

Get informed about the  selection process and criteria as outlined in the PAPSSN prospectus.

6.1. ADMINISTRATIVE CHECK .

Applications will pass through a preliminary screening whose goal will be to check the formal eligibility of the candidatures:

  • Completeness: all the mandatory documents have been uploaded by the candidate in her/his official PAPSSN application form.

  • Eligibilityrequirements: all the eligibility requirements have been met by the candidate:

    • nationality;

    • formerIntra-Africa scholarship;

    • other general requirement that the partnership would like to set.

  • Target Group: the candidate did apply for the correct Target group. In the case the candidate did not, she/he will be moved to the correct Target Group.

  • DisadvantagedGroup: in the case the candidate has declared to belong to a disadvantaged group supporting documents shall have been provided and will be checked by the Gender and Disadvantaged groups Committee.

The administrative check will be assessed upon the following application documents:

  • Informationprovided in the application form

  • Documentsuploaded in the application

In addition to the documents needed to assess the academic eligibility and quality of the candidate, the following documents are also required:

  • Passport

  • Declarationsregarding former Intra-Africa scholarship

  • Disadvantagedgroup supporting documents

6.2. APPEAL PROCEDURE

  • The PAPSSN general secretariat at the Central Management Unit will send out a “rejection notification” to those candidates who did not pass the eligibility check with 1-week time to appeal against the decision under well justified reason for appealing.

  • The Selection Committee will support PAPSSN general secretariat through the appeal procedure.

6.3. ACADEMIC ELIGIBILITY & QUALITY.

Admission office and Academic supervisors at the Host universities coordinated by the PAPSSN Local Management Unit will be in charge for this task:

  • ELIGIBILITY:Checking whether the candidate meets the admission requirements (including language requirements) of the programme s/he applied for – Actor: Admissionoffice

  • QUALITY:Performing the academic assessment of candidates and ranking applications against the following criteria – Actor: Academic supervisors

CRITERIA 1 – Academic background and candidate profile:

  • Coherence of the academic background and profile of the candidate with the programme selected

  • Academic performance during previous/current studies at the Home university

CRITERIA 2 – PAPSSN project proposal and motivation:

  • The mobility project submitted by the candidate (learning agreement; research agreement; work plan) is appropriate with the mobility opportunity the candidate applied for

  • The motivation of the candidate is strong and relevant with PAPSSN objectives and with the mobility opportunity the candidate applied for

When performing the academic assessment, the academic supervisors may decide to schedule interviews with the candidates.

The academic eligibility and quality will be assessed upon the following application documents:

  • Diplomas of previous university studies

  • Transcriptof Records of previous university studies

  • CV including list of publications, conferences attended, etc.

  • Reference letters

  • Language certificate, if required by the Host university

  • Motivationletter

  • Mobility project

    • Mastercredit seeking – courses  learning agreement

    • Mastercredit seeking – research  research proposal

    • Masterdegree seeking – courses  research proposal

    • Masterdegree seeking – research  research proposal

    • Doctoratecredit seeking  research proposal

    • Doctoratedegree seeking  research proposal

    • Staff  Work plan

6.4. APPEAL PROCEDURE

  • The PAPSSN general secretariat at the Central Management Unit will send out a “rejection notification” to those candidates who did not pass the Academic eligibility and quality within 1-week and give time to appeal against the decision under well justified reason for appealing.

  • The Selection Committee will support PAPSSN general secretariat through the appeal procedure.

6.5. DISTRIBUTION OF SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE.

The PAPPAN Selection committee will distribute the scholarship available to the candidates applying the following criteria:

CRITERIA 1 – Academic quality results and ranking provided by the Host universities

CRITERIA 2 – The distribution shall adhere as long as possible with the PAPSSN project as approved by the EACEA

CRITERIA 3 – Crosscutting issues such as favoring the participation of disadvantaged groups; fair balance among countries of origin (especially for target group 2); others.

During this PHASE 4 the Selection committee is also in charge to assess candidatures in cases of doubts among candidates.

STEP 7 – APPLICATION

If you have successfully carried out steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 you are ready to apply, enter the  application form

STEP 8 – WHAT NEXT IF YOU WIN A PAPSSN SCHOLARSHIP?

Find here a general overview of what will happen in the case you are awarded a PAPSSN scholarship.

8.1 – SCHOLARSHIP ACCEPTANCE

You will be sent a Nomination/Award Letter via email and asked to accept or reject PAPSSN scholarship within a certain deadline by sending an Acceptance Letter. Other documents to accompany the Nomination/Award Letter to be sent to you are

  1. Pre-departure Information  (Visa guidelines),

  2. Model Mobility Agreement for Staff ,

  3. Model Learning Agreement for Degree Seeking Mobility ,

  4. Model Learning Agreement for Credit Seeking Mobility .

Please find the template for each document i, ii, iii, iv and v in the  Download Section . All PAPSSN scholars will have to agree the starting date directly with the Host University/Supervisor.


8.2 – GET INFORMED

You will contact your Host Institution in order to receive pre-departure information about the university, the town where you will live, about how to organize your mobility and what are the documents to be produced before leaving according to the immigration laws of the hosting countries (e.g. VISA) and the admission procedure of the hosting universities (e.g. any specific document that is mandatory for the enrolment and to be produced in your home country).

8.3 – GET PREPARED:

You will have to obtain the main following documents:

  • Immigration documents : VISA for Study reason or any other immigration documents as required by the hosting country according to the national laws. Read more about VISA in our  FAQ section and Pre-Departure Information.

  • Admission documents : you may be required to produce official documents in your home country in order to register at your host university. Read more about it in our  Pre-DepartureInformation .

  • Logistics : you will organize with the help of your prospective Host University the logistics of your stay abroad: accommodation, scholarship management, classes, integration to the university life, etc.

  • PAPSSN documents : Exchange students and Staff will have to complete and get signed appropriate documents. Read more about these documents in our FAQ section.

  • Flight and insurance : The PAPSSN Team will book and buy your flight and your insurance, you will not have to cover these costs directly.

8.4 – ENJOY YOUR MOBILITY

You will travel to your Hosting country and university. You will have to attend academic activities and perform successfully. You will moreover enjoy all the other aspects of an academic mobility:

  • Live in an international academic context

  • Get in contact with different teaching and research methods and facilities

  • Live and travel around a different African country

  • Meet other students

  • Meet a different culture and habits

STEP 9 – CANCELLATION OF STUDIES

Important to note in the event of  interrupted studies  or in the case of  drop-out .


The scholarship can be put on hold if the student must temporarily leave the host institution following duly justified and well documented reasons (i.e. illness etc.). In that case, the scholarship payment must be interrupted until he/she has returned to the host institution and can actively participate in the activities. If despite the temporary absence, the scholarship holder can catch up on the study/research without extending the originally agreed scholarship duration, the monthly allowances corresponding to the period of interruption could be paid to the candidate if agreed among the partners and notified to the Agency (EACEA). If the reasons are due to force majeure, the absence of the scholarship holder would lead to an extension of the originally agreed eligibility period in order to finalise the mobility concerned. Hence, the Coordinator must send to the Agency a duly substantiated request to extend the eligibility period of the Grant Agreement in question. This request will be treated as an official amendment.

If the interruption is due to academic reasons, as students have to study or carry out research or other activities for a short period at the home country or at other countries which are not the ones of the institutions included in the partnership, the monthly allowance is not paid for this period.

For no reasons, the mobility can be extended beyond the limit of the project set for the 31 st of December 2025.

Mobility flows are not allowed between institutions placed in the country of origin/nationality of the individual(s) concerned.

The interruption can take place only after 6 consecutive months of study at host institutions.

The mobility for staff can be split in several shorter periods of minimum one month each, but in this case only one returns ticket will be covered by PAPSSN.

If a scholarship holder decides to withdraw before or during the study period, the Partnership has the possibility to replace her/him from the reserve list and within the deadlines for start of mobility of the respective cohort. If such replacement is not possible, the remaining monthly allowance and participation costs could be reallocated to another scholarship holder.