Gordon Memorial College Trust Fund (GMCTF) Grants for Postgraduate Studies

Author(s): Dr. Eluzai Abe Hakim, FRCP Edin, FRCP

Member Executive Committee of GMCTF, Associate Editor of South Sudan Medical Journal &International Adviser to the Royal College of Physicians London on South Sudan

At the last annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the GMCTF a number of grant awards were made to eligible South Sudanese and Sudanese applicants. There were 120 applications for grants from both South Sudan and Sudan; 34 were short listed for consideration and 19 grants were awarded. 

The areas of study supported this year were: Paediatrics 4, Obstetrics & Gynaecology 5, General surgery 5, Radiology 0, Anaesthesia 1, Neurosurgery 1, Orthopaedics & Trauma 1, Ophthalmology 1, and Health Economics 1.

Although almost all applicants who received grants this year were medical doctors the Committee welcomes applicants in other fields of study such as education, agriculture, veterinary medicine, law, basic sciences and the humanities.

This is to remind applicants for GMCTF grants that applications open on the first of December each year and close at the end of February the following year. All applications must be made online through the Trust website, www.gmctf.org, and must be accompanied with two letters of reference one of which must be from a referee in the area of study. 

Those applying for the first time must have evidence of admission to a postgraduate course in a recognised university outside the Sudan and South Sudan. For those already holding a grant who wish to renew their grants for a year or more must demonstrate progress in their studies. This category of applicants should append a letter of recommendation from their course supervisor, Head of Department or the Dean of the Faculty where the studies are undertaken. It is important that applicants state the duration of the course applied for explicitly and not give a duration range such as 3 to 4 years. This may lead to rejection of the application.

The Gordon Memorial College Trust Fund is a UK registered charity (no. 314141). It is administered by a group of  Trustees and an Executive Committee. The purpose of the Fund is to promote educational development in South Sudan and Sudan. Grants are available for educational projects and activities in South Sudan and Sudan and for South Sudanese and Sudanese nationals studying for a postgraduate courses in the UK, or in countries neighbouring Sudan and South Sudan, who intend to return to South Sudan or Sudan at the end of their studies. The Trust may also give financial assistance to South Sudanese and Sudanese nationals towards the costs of shorter training programmes, projects and courses in the UK. Please note that at present due to current difficulties in transferring funds to South Sudan and Sudan it is not possible for the Trust to support individual students studying in South Sudan or Sudan.

The scholarships are awarded on merit judged on objective criteria. Funds are limited and the se-lection criteria are very rigorous. 

How to increase your chance of securing a scholarship

Apply online between 1st December of one year and end of February of the following year. The GMCTF committee meets in late March/early April each year to consider short listed candidates for award of scholarships.

Ensure that letters from two referees are submitted to the Secretary before the closing date as this may delay consideration of applications or lead to rejection of the applications concerned.

Append a letter of admission to a recognised institution where studies are to be undertaken and ensure that the fees charged by the Institution/University are clearly set out by the institution on their headed paper and signed by a recognised officer of that institution. Do not guess the amount of fees or living expenses as excessive estimates of finances deemed to be unreasonable may lead to rejection of the application.

For a course more than one year long, applicants must apply every year of study for a fresh scholarship, supporting their applications with letters from their course supervisor and Head of Department confirming the applicant’s satisfactory progress.

Declare any other sources of funding which may be contributing to the course fees or living expenses; providing clear financial information will improve the chances of success.

GMCTF particularly welcomes applications from women.

GMCTF has limited funds, and individual requests for amounts exceeding five thousand sterling pounds (£5000) or equivalent are unlikely to be successful. If an applicant has other sources of funding to contribute to their training, and is eligible for the award of a GMCTF grant, this is likely to improve their chances of an award of a grant. Applicants are encouraged to make clear what other sources of funds they will have in addition to GMCTF support.