Advert for PhD Studentship AMTS



The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) is a leading scientific and technology research organisation, implementing projects throughout Africa and making a difference in people’s lives.

4X PhD Studentships in Nanotechnology and Micromanufacturing

About the positions:

The National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials in the CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing operating unit has four PhD studentships in Nanotechnology available. The centre is involved in a research project investigating the fabrication and characterisation of micro-cantilevers based on polymer nanocomposites. The four research positions relating to this project offer a unique opportunity to work with established scientists in this interesting, fast-developing field. The studentships are available for a contract period of three years, starting immediately.

The candidates would be required to spend most of their time at the CSIR in Pretoria, although there would be opportunity and time for interaction with academic institutions in the country.

Short-listed candidates may be required to undergo an aptitude test.

Project description

The project covers two main research areas, with two PhD positions being available in each area:


Fabrication and characterisation of micro-cantilevers based on novel polymer nanocomposites:

Polymer nanocomposites are synthesised with varying nanocomposite fractions and optimised to obtain materials with a wide range of elastic modulus. Micro-cantilevers are fabricated and characterisation of them carried out.


Functionalisation of polymer nanocomposite-based micro-cantilevers (NMCs) for sensor applications:

Well-characterised NMCs are functionalised with suitable functional groups so that the cantilever can sense various elements. The students will be trained in instrumentation and sensor properties before assembling and setting up electronics, instrumentation and calibration with known cantilevers. The students will conduct functionalisation experiments of the novel cantilevers and demonstrate at least three sensor applications.

Qualifications and skills:

Recognised Master's degree with a mark of not less than 65% in one of the following fields:

Project area 1: Materials Science (experimental); Polymer Science (experimental); Chemical Engineering;

Physics with Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

Project area 2: Materials Science (experimental); MEMS; Electronics/ Electrical/ Mechatronics

Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Experimental Condensed Matter Physics.

Demonstrated ability to review scientific literature and conduct independent research;

Proficiency in using various analytical instruments and lab processes and practices;

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Experience in nanotechnology and relevant analytical equipment will be advantageous;

A keen interest in the field of nanotechnology;

Capacity to think independently;

Competence in report writing;

Self-motivated, hard worker and pro-active;

Team player.

Please note that the CSIR's first obligation is to students holding South African citizenship. However, compelling cases for students holding foreign African citizenship will be considered.

Should you meet the above requirements, please go to the URL indicated below in order to apply, select the position reference number: 4067 , complete the application form and attach your CV. URL:


Closing date: 26 May 2010

Should you experience any problems in submitting your application, please contact the CSIR Recruitment Centre at Please do not submit your application to this mailbox.

The CSIR gives preference to candidates who meet the job requirements and who will add to the cultural and gender diversity of the organisation. By applying for this position at the CSIR, the applicant understands, consents and agrees that the CSIR may solicit a credit and criminal report from a registered credit bureau and/or

SAPS (in relation to positions that require trust and honesty and/or entail the handling of cash or finances) and may also verify the applicant’s educational qualifications and employment history. The CSIR reserves the right not to appoint.

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