Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Calling all Eco-freaks, IT Geeks and Space Cadets: big-time bursary opportunity beckons

If you think the answer is not 42, or are an eco-greenie, a cool blue, IT guy or a wild orange traveller, this could be the opportunity to fast-track your career with an MSc degree in Geo-informatics.

What is geo-informatics?

Well, geo-informatics is a spatial melting pot of disciplines from IT to Ecology, Economics to the Environment and Space Craft to Statistics. The essence is the understanding of spatial patterns and processes. The skills you will acquire will be communicated to people from all walks of life, from politicians to land owners, teachers to journalists - in fact, anyone environmentally and socially aware. This is BIG PICTURE stuff and we will use the technology to ensure your degree will be at the cutting edge of the applied sciences, so you are competitively prepared for the job market.

Travel the super-highway with your silicon chips: study mode

Here is some more cool stuff: all of your courses are on-line so you can work from any Internet-enabled location and when you feel like it - so there is no excuse to miss the lectures, and it’s not just boring text either! Many lectures have sound, action and some nifty quizzes with which to tease your knowledge. One minute you might be testing an expert system to screen the invasiveness of nasty alien (foreign) organisms that have gate-crashed our landscape, and in the next assignment, you will be predicting where springbok herds are likely to be found in 2050 when global warming really gets going. You could also be building a neat Internet presentation to share with your classmates on almost any topic that interests you.

The green stuff: the bucks

There is plenty of it, with a R60 000 per annum bursary and we hope to throw in a few more surprise pressies (I wonder what these might be?) To grab one of these eight bursaries, you need to be eligible to enter our post-graduate science programme at the University of the Western Cape (we know you got way more than a 60% aggregate!) and be prepared for a full-time commitment to studying in a participatory environment. We will like you if you come with a really good academic record and we will be even more impressed if you are creative in thinking and writing, can juggle numbers in your head and like doing a bit of computer coding on the side. Yes, we want a lot from you but it is a competitive game!

How to start the ball rolling?

The ball is in your court for the first serve, and you do this by building your own blog, then customising it with some clever code and creative colour and design. Finally, you will need to entertain us with your views, humour and insight, and send the URL along to us for consideration! If you already have a blog, give it a spring clean in the design department, add some great content and send the URL through. If you are successful , the blog spot will be your virtual home for the next few months.

Where will you study?

You can either be a glitzy Gautenger, 'n egte Kaapenaar or any other South African, but you will need to be accommodated at either the high-tech Innovation Hub, in the natural experience of the Pretoria CSIR campus (where the Meraka institute is), in the heart of the Winelands at the Stellenbosch CSIR offices or on the vibey UWC campus.

To find the right stuff, just point your cyber-mouse to

Remember, you need to get your blog URL to us at by 15 March 2007 to be considered!



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