Research School Details

The 21st Annual (1st blended) SAARMSTE Research School for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Hosted by the School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

7-21 July 2023

The 2023 SAARMSTE Research School invites PhD students in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, their supervisors and early career post-doctoral researchers to apply to the 1st blended experience of face-to-face and virtual sessions.


Click on the applicable button below to apply to participate in the 2023 Research School.

Applications to participate now closed.


The first RS took place at the Eskom conference centre in July 2003. This RS was a tremendous success and as a result a decision was taken to host the RS annually. Across the period since this start, over 400 students have been supported at annual research schools, with highly positive feedback, and increasing progress into Higher Education lecturing, supervision and further research capacity development in STEM education/teacher education

The purpose of the Research Schools is to provide approximately 40-50 PhD participants with the opportunity to explore various aspects of the research process in a supportive environment. Each RS is a 3-4 day residential workshops open to doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and supervisors in mathematics, science and technology education largely from southern Africa. At each school, a team of invited experienced researchers from regional and international universities run plenary sessions and workshops focusing on issues of research design and theory, data collection and analysis, and writing for publication. Participants bring their own research data and writing with them, and in the workshop sessions they are able to share their work with others and get feedback from peers and experienced researchers.


The primary aim of the SAARMSTE Research School is building a critical mass of researchers and educators and aims to produce people with the knowledge and skills that will enable southern Africa to engage proactively in a competitive global economy.

The aims can be listed as follows:

  • Enhance the quality of research and research training in Science, Technology and Mathematics education
  • Facilitate the progress of doctoral/post-doctoral students engaged in current research
  • Provide an opportunity for students to “show case” their work through means of a poster presentation, for comment and engagement in an open atmosphere
  • Facilitate a high throughput rate of doctoral students
  • Facilitate research writing and publication skills
  • Strengthen the community of Science, Technology and Mathematics education researchers
  • Bring together supervisors to facilitate the provision of high quality supervision and mentoring in research programmes
  • Foster international, national and regional collaboration that will contribute towards a culture of continued Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) research


The participants are drawn from higher education institutes in the SADC region that offer PhD programs. Participants are registered doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and supervisors. Participants participate in presentations, workshops, poster sessions, consultation related to their individual research projects and reviewing of an article that they intended submitting to the African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Education (AJRMSTE).

Reflections from 2021 Participants

(PhD Student).” We did a lot of wonderful things. The most notable being reviewing each other’s papers, r making sessions fully participatory between author, reviewers and well seasoned facilitators. We also discussed the rationale and significance of selectin partiular journals so that our work may be cited”.

“I have benefited a lot. I have been able to share my esearch work to some renowned researchers. I have also gathered information on other related studies on my research interest”

“The programme has really supported my progress as an academic and has further nurtured my skills of peer review. It also provided an excellent platform for coaching and mentoring, providing a firm foundation for building a successful academi career” (Early Career Researcher Group).

“The research school was very informative and helpful for me. My focus was on data collection and analysis. The facilitators took us through the critical parts that we need to consider as researchers. They explained the different methods of data collection for both qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Learning about codes, categories, patterns and themes will help me analyse the data that I have collected. In additionl we were introduced to ATLAS software to code and anlysie qualitative data”. (Data Collection and Analysis Group). 

“I gained the skills on writing proposals, especially the issue of the theoretical framework and conceptual framework” (Proposal Writing Group). 

“I learned a lot from the school, including some tips on how I can collect data during COVID times. We were provided with a platform for discussion about each other’s study and comments that will help moving forward with our projects. We were also allocated mentors that will continue to help us” (Literature Review and Framework Group).


Theoretical and Conceptual frameworks for research
Qualitative data analysis
Quantitative data analysis
Supervision of research studies
Collaboration with research stake-holders
Chapters completed and in progress
Publication of research
Poster to showcase their work


The Research School embodies collaboration. The majority of South African tertiary institutions have, over the years, sent doctoral students, as well as many students from institutions in the Southern African region to the Annual Research School. Senior researchers from all over the world have been invited as facilitators for the Research School, helping to expand networks for academics and students in the SAARMSTE region. In keeping with SAARMSTE’s Research School goals, a Memorandum, of Understanding (MOU), between SAARMSTE and NARST, came into effect in January 2023.  NARST is a global organization for improving science teaching and learning through research. 

In the six months since signing the MOU, SAARMSTE presented a symposium at NARST’s annual conference. In addition, an exchange of students and mentors, from the respective Research Schools has taken place. The initiative provides great opportunities for members from both associations to learn from each other and to develop meaningful partnerships to further science teaching and learning across the world.

Visit NARST Website for more information including Annual Conferences, Publications and Announcements.


A challenge for the RS every year is catering for the diverse audience of supervisors and students at various stages of their research

Finance to sustain the RSs

Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC)

The purpose of the Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC) is to initiate and oversee strategies, structures, activities, and/or events that support and facilitate early career (masters, doctoral and post-doctoral) research development in mathematics, science, and technology education.

This purpose is consistent with the aim of “assisting in the development of research skills of people interested in entering the MSTE field, and developing further expertise in that field by means of organizing workshops, short courses and exchange visits” outlined in SAARMSTE’s Constitution.

The RCBC was constituted at the Annual General Meeting held in Windhoek in January 2005. The impetus for this arose from the activities of a project supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States between 1997 and 2004. 

Among these activities were exchange visits of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers between the two countries and two Research Schools held in South Africa in 2003 and 2004, each with about 60 participants, predominantly from South Africa. Reports on these activities were presented at SAARMSTE Annual Meetings in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

SAARMSTE and NARST this year, (2023), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to develop a new partnership which has taken off amidst great excitement. 

The Research Capacity Building Committee (RCBC) members are:

  • Founding RCBC members
    • Peter Hewson – University of Wisconsin, USA
    • Fred Lubben –  University of York, UK
    • Tulsi Morar – Nelson Mandela University, SA
    • Marissa Rollnick – University of the Witwatersrand, SA
  • RCBC Chair
    • Elizabeth Mavhunga, University of the Witwatersrand, SA
  • Student representatives:
    • Tarryn Lovemore – Rhodes University, SA
    • Theophile Nsengimana – University of Rwanda
  • Co-opted members:
    • Zukiswa Nhase – University of the Free State, SA
    • Edgar Sintema – Copperbelt University, Zambia
  • LOC representative:
    • Angela James University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA