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Malaria is still one of Sierra Leone’s greatest threats! Call for applications to Malaria Consortium’s Dr Sylvia Meek scholarship for Entomology in South Africa

Malaria is still one of Sierra Leone’s greatest threats. The Malaria Consortium is proud to continue its partnership with the University of Pretoria, South Africa, to continue the Dr Sylvia Meek scholarship for Entomology.

The scholarship for Entomology has been set up in the memory of Dr Sylvia Meek, Malaria Consortium’s Global Technical Director who led inspiring and pioneering work in the fight against infectious diseases, and malaria in particular, before her untimely passing away in 2016.

Both Malaria Consortium and University of Pretoria are committed to ensure Sylvia’s vision is continued by the future generation of entomologists in Africa. Sylvia was not only a great scientist but someone with great compassion who was an inspiration to her associates and colleagues.

The scholarship, established in Sylvia’s honour by Malaria Consortium, will empower a new generation of public health entomologists and malaria staff in Africa and Asia. Given the limited number of field-oriented vector biologists, and the challenges African countries face in achieving malaria elimination, this scholarship is a great opportunity to support the next generation of public health entomologists in support of this quest.

Malaria Consortium is delighted that the University of Pretoria will continue to host recipients of the scholarship. The University of Pretoria is one of the leading higher education institutions in Africa and will be accepting one scholarship student in 2021 for a two-year Master of Science in Entomology based in and supervised by academic staff in the Department of Zoology and Entomology. The MSc in Entomology offered by the Department of Zoology and Entomology is a research-only programme that does not include a coursework component. The successful applicant will start their MSc programme before the end of March 2021.

Who can apply for the Dr Sylvia Meek scholarship for Entomology at University of Pretoria?

  • Nationals from the following countries can apply: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Applicants need to have successfully completed an Honours degree or equivalent in Entomology or a related discipline
  • Applicants should have good knowledge of English (the language of instruction)
  • Applicants should demonstrate an interest in, and commitment to, entomology and the control of vector borne diseases
  • Applicants should be no older than 35 at the time of submission
  • Available projects

The following projects in public health entomology are available for the current call:

  1. Malaria entomology and insecticide resistance in a high disease burden region of South Africa

Supervisors: Dr Megan Riddin (megan.riddin@up.ac.za) and Prof. Armanda Bastos

Investigation into epidemiology and vector control strategy success is required to identify key factors contributing to persistence of malaria in Limpopo Province. This will be achieved through an in-field and laboratory study to investigate malaria vector community composition (primary, secondary and novel vectors) and insecticide resistance detection in local populations.

  1. Seasonal variation in mosquito community structure and associations with larval habitats at hotels in a region of South Africa with residual malaria transmission

Supervisors: Prof. Christopher Weldon (cwweldon@zoology.up.ac.za) and Dr Megan Riddin

Collaborators: Prof. Peter Furu, Dr Karin Schiøler, Dr Michael Alifrangis, Prof Flemming Konradsen, Ms Fatma Saleh, Mr Ayubo Kampango

Tourism contributes to economic and social development in South Africa, but the risk of malaria can deter international tourists from visiting the northern regions of the country. This project will identify hotspots of mosquito diversity in hotels to develop effective, systematic and affordable ecological management interventions to reduce mosquito abundance.

  1. Improved forecasting of mosquitoes associated with arbovirus transmission in South Africa

Supervisors: Prof. Christopher Weldon (cwweldon@zoology.up.ac.za) and Prof. Kerstin Krüger

Vector-borne pathogens impact human and animal health in South Africa, resulting in substantial economic costs to fight human disease and losses for livestock industries. This project will determine the relationship between weather variables and the distribution and abundance of mosquitoes using a nationwide suction trap network in South Africa.

Application and selection procedure

First step

Applicants must prepare in partnership with the potential supervisor(s) a preliminary proposal of no more than 2 pages (including relevant references) for one available research project. The proposal must include a project title, background and justification, objectives, methodology, and budget (no more than ZAR30 000/year over two years) with brief justification.

Applicants must contact the potential supervisor(s) well in advance of the application deadline so that there is time to develop a good proposal.

Second step

Applicants should send an application to Prof. Christopher Weldon at the University of Pretoria (cwweldon@zoology.up.ac.za), including the following documents:

  • A cover letter not exceeding one A4 page, addressing the selection criteria, including your educational background and relevant experience, and the area of medical entomology you intend to specialise in on completion of the MSc
  • The 2-page preliminary proposal developed in collaboration with the potential supervisor
  • Bachelor’s and Honours degree academic transcripts (grade report where the completed courses are listed, including interpretation of grades when not numeric)
  • English proficiency test result or any other proof of proficiency in English for applicants from countries where English is not the official language

Please submit these documents no later than 17:00 (Johannesburg time; GMT+2) Monday 8 February 2021.

The University of Pretoria will screen and shortlist applications based on (1) the quality of the cover letter and preliminary proposal and (2) eligibility for the MSc in Entomology programme. The shortlist will be submitted to a scholarship selection panel constituted by Malaria Consortium vector control experts.

Third step

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to send to the scholarship selection panel the following:

  • Personal statement written in English of no more than 500 words indicating why you would like to study public health entomology
  • Two letters of recommendation (can be professional or academic references)


Shortlisted applicants will be informed of the outcome of the selection process by Monday 22 February 2021.

Fourth step:

The successful applicant will be invited to submit an online application for the MSc in Entomology programme at the University of Pretoria. Applicants without South African qualifications will first need to have their qualifications verified by the South African Qualifications Authority. An admission letter will be processed, which can then be used by successful non-South African applicants to apply for a study visa in preparation for the start of the 2020 academic year. The successful applicant must be registered and commence the MSc in Entomology programme before 31 March 2021.

Financial aspects

The Dr Sylvia Meek scholarship for Entomology will cover all tuition fees, a research allowance to the total value of ZAR60 000 (ZAR30 000/year), ZAR 78 000/year for upkeep costs such as accommodation and board, an allowance for travel to South Africa (if non-national) and return home after completion of the programme, and health insurance for the duration of the MSc programme, i.e. a maximum of two calendar years, by which time the students should finish their degree.

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