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The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) is a multi-institutional initiative, funded by DSI-NRF to train South African students in Astrophysics and Space Science at Honours and Master’s levels and to provide a pipeline to PhD studies in these and related research areas. The programme has been running since 2003 and is hosted at 3 ‘nodes’: the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and North West University. Since the start of the programme more than 300 students have graduated with Honours degrees and more than 140 have graduated with Master’s degrees.


To empower South African and other African students to meaningfully participate in knowledge creation through the production of internationally recognised knowledge in astrophysics and space science by providing them with the necessary skills. By harnessing national expertise and resources and taking advantage of global networks, NASSP is committed to producing graduates whose qualifications are internationally competitive and locally applicable. The programme will promote diversity and transformation while growing the next generation of graduate astronomers and space scientists who can enter and contribute to the South African knowledge economy where high-level skills in physics, mathematics and computation and a command of research methods are paramount.


To develop human capacity in astronomy and space science, particularly in under-represented communities, and to build a cohort of scientists at the core of an international network of African astronomers, space scientists and citizens, who are bonded by the common experience of schooling, interlinked both professionally and personally and able to make a major contribution to the transformation of society.


UCT Node Directors: Prof. Saalih Allie & Dr Sarah Blyth

UKZN Node Director: Prof. Siva Venkataraman

NWU Node Director: Prof. Stefan Ferreira