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Welcome to the home of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP). The PSP supports the accelerated scholarship of junior UFS faculty in the first five years post PhD. The prestige scholars participate in an intensive programme of support that includes international placement and intensive mentorship. Since the first call in 2010, the Vice-Chancellor has nominated 40 scholars from Health Sciences, Education, Humanities, Law, Natural & Agricultural Sciences, as well as Economic & Management Sciences to the programme.

To date the PSP has produced two Fulbright scholars; two National Research Foundation (NRF) Y1-rated scholars; one NRF Blue Skies research project and eleven NRF Thuthuka-funded projects. Our scholars work with the best in the world from Japan, Europe and the United States:

“Within the South African academy, the PSP is a novel experiment in intellectual development and the development of professional scholars. It contributes towards positioning the University of the Free State as an innovator among research universities in the country.” – Professor Robert Morrell (University of Cape Town).

Our Mission:

We prepare a new generation of world-class scholars.

Our Priorities:

  • To provide a select group of young scholars with advanced mentorship and development in three core areas of scholarship in higher education: discovery, teaching, and scholarship in public.
  • To inculcate in these scholars the intellectual breadth and depth required to pose questions and generate knowledge over disciplines, and so to occupy the vanguards of contemporary intellectual enquiry.
  • To transform cultures of work among the scholars from those who lecture to those who profess.
  • To fast-track and establish the scholarly careers of these ‘next generation professors’ in the post-doctoral period of their careers through an advanced mentorship and development programme.
  • To create and sustain rich international networks with leading universities and scholars in the world; networks within which the young scholars will be placed for purposes of mentorship, socialisation, networking and growth.
  • To benchmark new and ambitious standards for the next generation professoriate in South Africa through this experimental programme targeting young scholars who have chosen academic careers for themselves.
  • Through reflecting on the scholarly careers of those selected for the programme, to help re-imagine styles and trajectories of intellectual engagement for the university as a whole. In particular, to consider how approaches to scholarship at UFS may emphasise social responsibility in knowledge production and transfer.

The programme is co-directed by (in alphabetical order):

Prof Jackie du Toit
Prof Neil Roos
Prof Corli Witthuhn (Vice-Rector: Research)

Contact us:

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