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Wits University and French National Centre for Scientific Research announce PhD projects

- Wits University

Wits University and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have announced five CNRS-Wits PhD projects to be supported in 2021.

"Wits University and the French National Centre for Scientific Research [Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS] will fund common research projects in order to give PhD students the opportunity to conduct their research in both South Africa and France,” says Professor Lynn Morris, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at Wits University.

After an independent evaluation of 16 projects by the two institutions and then a joint selection committee, the CNRS and Wits selected five projects. These five CNRS-Wits PhD projects are based in four entities at Wits University – the School of Physics; the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences; the Global Change Institute; and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences.

The five projects include:

  1. Alone at home with climate change: The importance of good personality and good neighbourhood! with Wits Professor Neville Pillay, Head of the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences (APES) at Wits, and Carsten Schradin, CNRS
  2. Advanced management of structured light in classical and quantum regimes: Production, detection, control and applications, with Professor in the School of Physics at Wits, Andrew Forbes, and Etienne Brasselet, CNRS
  3. A novel French-South Africa synergy to advance the characterization and radiative impacts of aerosols in southern Africa, with Professor Francois Engelbrecht of the Global Change Institute (GCI) at Wits, and Paola Fromenti, CNRS
  4. Palaeoecological characterization of past ecosystems in Southern Africa: Implication for our understanding of Human Lineage Evolution, with Dr Christine Steininger in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences hosted at Wits, and Laurent Bruxelles, CNRS
  5. Electronic/thermal transport and thermoelectric phenomenon implanted diamond nanostructures, with Associate Professor in the Wits School of Physics, Mervin Naidoo, and Stephane Pailhes, CNRS.

“These projects pay testament to the diverse collaborations between Wits and the CNRS, and fall under three different CNRS Institutes – INEEnvironnement, INPhysics, and INSUniverse,” says Professor Alain Schuhl, Chief Research Officer at the CNRS. “We are pleased that this project will go a long way towards enhancing multidisciplinary projects between the two institutions, and our respective countries.”

Wits University and the CNRS have a long-standing partnership and are leading numerous joint research projects in Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Anthropology, Palaeosciences, Environment and Ecology. Some of these partnerships are already supported through International Research Networks and International Research Projects funded by the CNRS and the National Research Foundation.