Education Trends 2019



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Become a master of engineering with Pamsa bursary programme

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (Pamsa) is offering bursaries for chemical engineering graduates to further their studies in the disruptive fields of biotechnology and biochemistry through its Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) bursary recruitment programme. The deadline for online applications is Friday 25 May.
© Mark Agnor –
For the eighth year running, Pamsa is reaching out to post-graduate chemical engineering students who wish to pursue research in novel processing technologies that would position the pulp and paper sector as a leader in the beneficiation of wood-based products.

Each bursary is valued at R100,000 per year for two years full-time study for M.Eng. degree at participating universities.

“The focus of our student research programmes has been on improving the use of renewable resources such as wood, recycled paper, forest residues and mill waste streams,” explains Jane Molony, Pamsa executive director and president of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA).

“As the world grapples with the problem of plastic in its rivers and oceans, our industry is presented with the opportunity to step forward with sustainable, renewable and biodegradable solutions through the use of commercially farmed trees as well as pulp and paper.

“The pulp and paper sector both locally and globally is making inroads around low-carbon solutions in a world that relies heavily on fossil-fuel based materials and processes.”

Paper mills are the biorefineries of the future

Due to the number of processes in any pulp and paper mill – from evaporation to hydrolysis, from chemical recovery to dewatering – there are also a number of research opportunities to examine the biorefinery capabilities of such mills. “A number of our members have invested in extractive and recovery technologies at pilot and industrial scale,” Molony says.

The range of research topics is extensive and could entail the development of bio-plastics, low-cost extraction of high value bio-chemicals from wood, mill waste streams and recycled paper fibre, or improving the water and energy footprints of pulp and paper mills.

The sector employs around 150,000 people through forestry, papermaking and paper recycling. “Socio-economic potential of the sector’s contribution to the bio-economy is significant.”

Over the past eight years, the programme has facilitated bursaries for 45 Masters and PhD students around the country, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in the pulp and paper industry.

Application criteria

  • BSc. Eng. (chemical engineering) graduates interested in enrolling for M.Eng. studies in the bio-technology space of the pulp, paper and board packaging industry.
  • A good academic record with a minimum 60% average in the final year of study.
  • Applicants must have completed their studies in five years or less.
  • Candidates should indicate their areas of interest, for example energy efficiency, renewable energy and biopolymers etc.
  • South African citizenship is an advantage.
  • Interviews will be held with selected candidates.

Participation institutions

  • Gauteng: Universities of Witwatersrand and Pretoria
  • KwaZulu-Natal: University of KwaZulu-Natal and the CSIR
  • North West province: North West University
  • Western Cape: Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town
Online applications are open on The deadline is Friday, 25 May 2018.
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