Scholarships For Doctoral Studies In The UK, |Mandela Rhodes Alumni| – Apply Now

Host Country

South Africa / UK



Target Audience


Program Overview

Scholarships For Doctoral Studies In The UK, |Mandela Rhodes Alumni|- The aim of the Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarships (SJMS) is to increase the impact and effectiveness of Mandela Rhodes Alumni who wish to pursue PhD studies outside the African continent, by connecting them to financial support for doctoral study in the United Kingdom.

The SJMS aims to increase vocational capacity by:

  1. Supporting alumni to further specialise in their disciplines through doctoral study.
  2. Enabling alumni to access some of the best supervisors and research facilities in those disciplines, which may not necessarily be available in their home countries.

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The SJMS aims to increases leadership capacity by:

  1. Supporting alumni who have clearly identified and articulated the next phase of their leadership journey and feel that doctoral studies will support that intent.
  2. Increasing alumni access to international networks of academic and vocational influence via their UK universities.

n 2016 the MRF partnered with the Leverhulme Trust to create a new doctoral scholarship only available to alumni of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars. This a very compelling supplementary offering to the Mandela Rhodes experience, and a highly competitive opportunity as there are two scholarships available per year. The Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarships were known as the Leverhulme Mandela Rhodes Doctoral Scholarships until March 2020, when they were renamed in honour of our founding Executive Director after he passed away unexpectedly.

How to apply

Step 1: Check whether you are eligible

  • Candidates must be Mandela Rhodes Scholars seeking to do doctoral study in the UK
  • Candidates must be beginning a new PhD – the SJMS does not provide support for PhDs which have already been started

Step 2: Check the selection criteria

The secondary criteria for the SJMS are designed to support the MRF’s purpose and values. Applicants should motivate for the scholarship on the bases of the following criteria:

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  1. Their research. The research proposal should have a demonstrable potential social impact, that will contribute to the betterment of Africa. The research should meet the criteria of originality, importance, significance and merit.
  2. Their research institution of choice. The applicant should motivate for why it is necessary for this research to be conducted at a UK institution of their choice, making specific mention of potential supervisor/s they have identified, or research units they intend to join. The applicant should be able to articulate how this positioning will advance them in their career, beyond the completion of the doctoral thesis.
  3. Their leadership capacity and potential. The applicant should demonstrate how the MRF values have been threaded through their journey since their time in residence to the present moment, though their academic and non-academic pursuits. They should be able to motivate for why they believe the Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarship for doctoral study in the UK is an essential next part of their leadership journey.

More info on the Leverhulme Trust’s approach to grant-making

The Trust seeks to fund outstanding scholarship, while maintaining a distinctive role within the research funding landscape. In assessing applications for funding, we use the following established criteria to priorities work of outstanding scholarship:

  • Originality: the research achieves more than the incremental development of a single discipline
  • Importance: the work will enable further research or enquiry
  • Significance: the proposed research has relevance outside a single field, and is able to excite those working in other disciplines
  • Merit: the quality of the research design and methodology, and the sustainability of the researcher and institution for the realization of the proposed research objectives

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Review your application checklist

Please ensure the following documentation accompanies your application form. Please note that applicants are responsible for obtaining the reference letters from referees and submitting them with the application.

  • A completed application form
  • A 3 page CV
  • Matric transcripts
  • Transcripts and degree certificates from tertiary institutions
  • A one-page exposition of proposed thesis
  • A 500 word essay on your leadership journey and the MRF values since your time in residence
  • Two academic reference letters


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