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[JOHANNESBURG] A new set of South African research grants has been established to help cash-strapped black scientists, and those professors and teachers who mentor them.

The awards, known as the TW Khambule NRF Research Awards after a well-known black teacher, will be given to four black South Africans who have made a significant contribution to science, engineering or technology.

Two of the awards, which have been created by the Pretoria-based National Science and Technology Forum, will reward work carried out by one man and one woman in the past five to 10 years.

The other two awards will highlight up-and-coming young black scientists: they will go to one man and one woman under the age of 40 for their work over the past two to five years. Each winner will receive a R50,000 (US$7,500) research grant.

In addition, two 'research capacity developer' awards will go to one man and one woman who have made the most significant contribution to the successful training and mentoring of black researchers or students in science, engineering and technology over the past five to 10 years.

The mentors must be based in South Africa but do not have to be black or hold South African citizenship. The winners will receive R100,000 (US$15,000) each.

The prize money for the new awards is sponsored by Eskom, Africa's largest electricity provider, and the National Research Foundation, South Africa's main clearing house for academic research funding.

Entry forms for the awards are available by email or can be downloaded from the NSTF website. The closing date for the awards is 19 March.