The Future Professors Programme (Phase 01) is a flagship programme of the Department of Higher Education and Training. It is a national, collaborative initiative, aimed at developing the qualities of academic excellence and leadership in university scholarship in order to contribute to the development of a future South African professoriate.


Each year in June all South African public universities are invited to nominate five eligible scholars for selection to a two year fellowship. The fellowship consists of three cohorts of 20 to 30 fellows. The programme is designed to help create synergies that will benefit the fellows upon entering the professoriate and to cascade to the broader next generation South African academic populace to encourage:

The establishment of academic networks
The sharing of visiting scholars and resources
Interdisciplinary exchange
Teaching excellence
Student and public engagement

Innovative and fundable intellectual projects
Who may apply?


Applicants should hold a doctorate in any discipline and already have a track-record of some academic achievement that would signal advancement to the professoriate. An NRF rating is not required, but would be an advantage.

Our fellows typically – but not exclusively – come from the lecturer and senior lecturer ranks.

The FPP is inclusive and open to applications from all permanent academic staff at South African universities who meet the rigorous criteria for selection. However, we do prioritize black and woman scholars.

Five prospective fellows are nominated each year by the designated authority of each of the 26 South African public universities. The programme cannot accept direct applications. For the name of your designated authority, please contact us at fpp@sun.ac.za.

The third and final call for this phase of the Future Professors Programme has closed.


Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He is currently President of the South African Academy of Science and the Knight-Hennessey Fellow at Stanford University (2020).

He started his career as a Biology teacher in the Cape after receiving his science degree from the University of the Western Cape. He obtained a MS degree from Cornell University and a PhD from Stanford. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont, Cleveland State University and the University of Cape Town.

In 2013, he was awarded the Education Africa Lifetime Achiever Award in New York, the Spendlove Award from the University of California for his contributions to tolerance, democracy and human rights, and the largest book award from the British Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities for his book, Knowledge in the Blood (Stanford University Press). His most recent books include two edited collections, South African Schooling: The enigma of inequality (with Nic Spaull as co-editor, Springer 2019) and Decolonization in universities: The politics of knowledge (Wits 2019). Books in production for 2020 include the edited Faultlines: A primer on race, science and society (with co-editor, Cyrill Walters, SUNMEDIA) and Who gets in and why: the politics of admissions in South Africa’s elite schools (with Samantha Kriger, UCT Press).