SACO Scholarship Programme

THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is committed to developing talented young researchers interested in pursuing a post-graduate degree related to arts, culture, research or statistics in an effort to grow the sector’s research base in alignment with the SACO Research Agenda.

“Research is the cornerstone of the work we do at the Cultural Observatory,” said Prof. Richard Haines, SACO chief executive. “Aside from tapping into past research, harnessing the insights of current research, we want to ensure that academics of the future have a vested interest in mapping, understanding, and counting the impact of arts, culture and heritage in the years to come. The scholarships on offer are designed to nurture and support research into our important sector.”
There are four scholarships on offer:
  • Honour’s Degree: R20 000
  • Coursework Master’s Degree: R50 000
  • Research Master’s Degree: nR80 000
  • PhD Degree: R120 000
Applications are open to any South African citizens who obtained an average of 65% in the degree preceding the Honour’s, Master’s or PHD and who have shown academic excellence in their field of studies. Priority will be given to designated groups. Applicants may come from all those fields of study that have a strong relevance to the national development of the country.

Scholarships-holders are allowed to hold supplementary bursaries, grants or emoluments, provided these bursaries or grants are not from Government Departments or other State Agencies. 
University staff members applying into the programme will have to provide a supporting letter from their human resource department clearly indicating their working hours and status of employment during the tenure of the award.

Prof. Haines added that the SACO encourages all young or ascending academics to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“Scholarship is an incredible opportunity to not only contribute to knowledge development, but also influence and shape policy, promote deeper understanding and to fundamentally change the way people view and value the creative and cultural industries,” he said.


The research undertaken must fall within the scope of the South African Cultural Observatory’s work within the cultural and creative economy and/or relevant industries. The successful candidate and  the supervisor/s involved must ensure that a working or research paper based on the research undertaken in the degree is lodged with the South African Cultural Observatory and that the contribution of SACO be formally acknowledged in any publication.

The scholarships will be awarded on an annual basis for a maximum two years duration depending on the degree.

Applications will be adjudicated by an independent selection panel consisting of South African experts in the various fields, which may include representatives of the Department of Arts and Culture, the South African Cultural Observatory, well as South African academics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University and Fort Hare University.

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