Postgraduate scholarship

The Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award

The Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award is an annual award to assist female post-graduate students to complete study or research in African Studies.


Professor Cherry Gertzel AM (1928 – 2015) was an internationally recognised scholar of history and politics in the field of African Studies.  She spent over twenty years researching and teaching in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia before returning to Australia in 1975 where she worked at Flinders University and Curtin University. Throughout her career, and until just a few years before her death, Prof. Gertzel returned to Eastern and Central Africa regularly to continue active field work.   She was a foundation member of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) set up by Africanists in Australia in 1978, President from 1982 – 1986, and editor of the Association’s Review and Newsletter from 1987 – 2004.  In 1994 Prof. Gertzel was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia, Queen’s Birthday Honours, for her contributions to Australian-African relations.  Her wish to establish this annual bursary is a generous legacy and testament to her lifelong dedication to advancing the field of African Studies.


  • Women who are enrolled in an Australian or New Zealand University
  • Have embarked on a post-graduate degree of which the subject matter is the study of Africa.
  • Good undergraduate academic record
  • Not be in full time employment or on fully paid study leave during tenure of the bursary
  • Be able to undertake travel to an African state to conduct fieldwork, research or study related purposes
  • Have had their study proposal approved by their institution and have had any field work approved, and if required approval from their relevant ethics committee for study or research in the field.
  • Not have previously received the Cherry Gertzel Bursary Award
  • Membership of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)


  • Funds are not to be used for basic research costs that should be met by the University in which the student is enrolled
  • Funds can be used for conference attendance, purchase or hire of equipment, costs of study commitments or short-term assistance with living expenses in an African State, for the purposed of field work, research, or study.
  • Any purchase of equipment is required for the successful completion of the research or fieldwork and is for personal use/ownership, not for the University in which recipient is enrolled.
  • No less than 50% of the funds are to be applied to the cost of travel to and within Africa, for the purpose of fieldwork, study or research toward their degree
  • Funds would ideally be used within 12 months of the date of the award. However, this period can be extended to 2 years from the date of the award.
  • In some circumstances, and if evidence of expenses can be provided, the funds can be applied retrospectively.

Recipients must provide an acquittal report showing how the funding was spent, with original receipts for all expenses within 26 months of the date of the award.

Recipients are required to submit a 2000 word report within 26 months of the date of the award with an account of the fieldwork, study or research in Africa that the bursary supported.  The report is to be suitable for the public, and may be published in AFSAAP’s newsletter.  

Recipients are strongly encouraged to include an intention to present and attend the AFSAAP conference (held annually in November) in their application.       


Selection criteria

  • Academic merit
  • Purpose for which the bursary will be used toward progress or completion of the degree
  • Extent to which the award will enhance the quality of the higher degree for which she is enrolled
  • Financial need
  • Community activities or other interests relevant to the applicant’s study

Value of bursary

One bursary of $12,000 will be awarded annually.

In exceptional circumstances the trustees of the Cherry Gertzel Bursary Fund reserve the right not to award a bursary or to award a different amount.  The Fund will provide the award in perpetuity and thus the amount awarded may increase in the future.

Source of funds

The bursary is funded by the Cherry Gertzel Bursary Fund.

Administration of bursary

The bursary is administered by the trustees of the Cherry Gertzel Fund with the assistance of the Executive of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP).

Intellectual property

The trustees recognise that students own the intellectual property arising from their study.

Application process in 2024

The Gertzel Award Application Form and the Gertzel Award Referee Report Form are available to download.  



The closing date for applications is 30 September 2024 and the result will be announced by 30th November 2024. 

Applications, including supporting documents, should be lodged by email to Dr. Karen Miller ( before or on the closing date.  Incomplete applications, or applications received after the due date, will not be considered.  Applications remain the property of the trustees of the Cherry Gertzel Bursary Fund.

Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged.  Should you not receive an acknowledgement within one week of your application, you are responsible for contacting   The selection committee will consist of representatives from the AFSAAP Executive and at least one trustee of the Fund. The selection committee will provide a recommendation to the trustees who will make the final decision, after which no correspondence will be entered into.

The completed application form must be accompanied by

  • A list of the documents that make up the application
  • Scans of the applicant’s certified academic record
  • Proof of enrolment for a higher degree
  • A copy of the research proposal and proof of research proposal acceptance
  • Ethics committee approval of study plan (if required)
  • Proposed activities to be undertaken during fieldwork, study or research that will be supported by the bursary
  • Any other supporting documents

Applicants must request two referees to email the Gertzel Award Referee Report Form to the Award convener, Dr. Karen Miller ( Applicants are responsible for checking that references have been sent and received by the closing date. Referees reports will be verified.

For enquiries about the award and eligibility, please contact Dr. Karen Miller

Download a copy of this information: Gertzel_Award_Information_Sheet

Award recipients

2019  Makrita Solitei, University of Wollongong   Read the announcement

2020  No award granted due to disruption to international travel caused by COVID-19

2021  Audrey Kalindi, Australian National University; and Stephanie Roland, RMIT University.  Read the announcement

2022 Rachael Gross, Australian National UniversityRead the announcement  

2023 Hilda Agyekum, Australian National UniversitRead the announcement