Tuks Young Research Leader Programme (TYRLP): Call for applications 2017

Posted on August 08, 2017


The speed and quality of the development of science at UP and beyond not only depends on infrastructure and technical training, but is intimately linked to the quality of leadership heading the change. In this regard, it is widely accepted that the future of scientific development lies in enabling interdisciplinary, interconnected, even large, international teams. Training structures are, however, often not set up to prepare a next generation of scientists for the complexities that an interconnected approach to science entails. Furthermore, there is an internationally emerging paradigm that recognizes that the focus on individual leadership is often inadequate to address complex challenges which require skills across many sectors and collaborative processes.

Overview of the programme

The TYRLP is an initiative of the University of Pretoria in partnership with the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP), KnowInnovation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It serves early career researchers in basic and applied sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts and the humanities.

The programme aims to grow early career academics at UP in the areas of thought leadership, team development, engagement and collaboration, with the intention of enabling them to solve the complex issues that face society.

A further aim is to form a community within the University of the like‐minded young researchers who possess qualities that will contribute to UP becoming a leading research intensive University, in line with the projected UP 2025 vision.

The leadership programme:

  • Identifies early career academics who have demonstrated leadership potential and an interest in developing key leadership skills;
  • Supports them to apply the acquired skills to projects that are relevant to the development of their academic careers and its impact;
  • Creates a network of early career academic leaders at UP, spanning across disciplinary boundaries;
  • Advances a curriculum for academic leadership development, which can be utilised by others.

Programme structure

The programme follows a highly interactive approach to training, including application of skills to a leadership project, peer support, and mentorship. Fellows will attend a two day intensive on‐site programme at UP. The process involves an approach that cycles between theory, application and reflection. Participants will be challenged to work collaboratively to design initiatives that advance a new paradigm for their science.

The training will cover elements of:

  • Core elements of collective leadership
  • Creative and systems thinking
  • Development of effective networks
  • Stakeholder engagement for change
  • Maximising the efficiency and impact of collaborative efforts
  • Advanced dialogue and communication skills
  • Effective problem-solving and decision-making

Following the initial training, the ASLP team will engage with fellows for a year, sharing information on resources and stimulating further interaction.

Expected commitment

The TYRLP is seeking candidates who are committed to developing science leadership at UP. The training itself requires the time commitment of a two day training session. Furthermore, fellows will be expected to develop their leadership skills and engage with other fellows and the ASLP team for peer support following the training.

Selection criteria and application process

To be selected, applicants need to display a compelling vision of their future involvement in the development of research projects, programmes, human capacity, specific policies or societal structures. The selection process will consider individual qualities but also focus on ensuring a diversity of culture, subject background (natural and social sciences, humanities) and gender among the fellows.

The following criteria are used as a guide for the nomination and selection of fellows:

  • A research fellowship with two years’ experience or a faculty position at UP
  • Outstanding scientific potential and outputs
  • A desire to nurture a culture of research excellence
  • Internationally influential, but South Africa and Africa focused
  • A desire to work collaboratively on inter‐ and transdisciplinary problems
  • An appetite for multiple stakeholder engagement and research communication
  • Commitment to participate in all the activities of the fellowship

All applicants should provide a support letter from an academic referee (details are provided in the application form). Please ensure that the support letter is sent from an accredited institutional email address. The referee should be available for future communications and mentorship in case of selection of the applicant into the programme. The referee will be informed about the progress of the fellow and should be willing to support him/her if required. All applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by representatives of the University of Pretoria and ASLP management. The final selection of candidates will be made by the ASLP management team.


Key dates:

31 August 2017                                 Deadline for applications

3 and 4 October 2017                      TYRLP training at UP, Hatfield Campus


NB: Fellows will be required to attend from 09:00 to 17:00 on both days. Please keep the evening of 3 October free when applying for the TYRLP 2017 Programme.


Click here for the application form.



- Author Smeetha Singh

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