The John J. Gurney Postgraduate Research Scholarship

at the University of Cape Town

A competitively awarded scholarship, in honour of the late Prof. John Gurney, is being offered to support postgraduate research on some aspect of kimberlite-, mantle- or diamond-related geology at the University of Cape Town.  The scholarship provides ZAR150 000 (South African Rand) per year to cover living expenses and tuition fees (the latter are currently ZAR30 000-35 000 per year), plus an additional R50 000 per year toward research-related expenses. The maximum terms of the scholarship is two years for the MSc or three years for the PhD.  Continuation of funding after the first year is contingent upon satisfactory progress.  The recipient’s main supervisor must be a UCT academic staff member, but co-supervision by academic or industry scientists from other institutions is possible. Postgraduate study in the Department of Geological Sciences is by dissertation only, although the recipient will have the option to undertake coursework if deemed necessary or beneficial. The primary supervisor need not necessarily be in the Department of Geological Sciences.

Students of any nationality are eligible to apply.  Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of (1) academic excellence (scanned transcripts of undergraduate and any postgraduate work must be provided), (2) two letters of reference from academic or industry scientists familiar with the candidate’s work (applicants must supply names and contact details of two appropriate referees), and (3) a short proposal (two pages maximum) outlining the candidate’s chosen research problem, the approach s/he intend to use to address it, and the names of the supervisor(s) with whom s/he intends to work. In the case of multiple similarly ranked top candidates, residents of SADC countries will have preference. Recipients who are non-South African residents will need to obtain a study permit from the South African Department of Home Affairs.

The University of Cape Town has a world-famous collection of upper mantle research specimens (mantle and lower crustal xenoliths, kimberlites, megacrysts, etc.), as well as a wide range of analytical instrumentation (Electron microscope and EPMA instruments, XRF,  XRD, solution and laser ablation quadrupole and multicollector ICP-MS and a stable isotope laboratory with laser fluorination). Academic staff members in Geological Sciences cover a wide range of relevant fields (geophysics, lithospheric dynamics, isotope geochemistry, kimberlite and mantle geology, petrology and geochemistry, metamorphic petrology and mineralogy.  It is recommended that prospective applicants contact UCT academic staff member(s) with whom they would be interested in working prior to applying.

The application deadline is November 30, 2020.  Please send all application materials as a single PDF document to Prof. Phil Janney (  Evaluation of applications will be performed by a panel including UCT and international academics and industry scientists.  The start date is flexible, but will be no earlier than the start of the first semester at UCT in March 2021 (but is subject to conditions of the national COVID emergency).