The objective of the National Research Foundation (NRF) is to support and promote research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities, in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of the natural and social sciences, humanities and technology.
The NRF has wide range of funding opportunities. These are listed below.
i) Institutional Research Development Programme (IRDP).
The Institutional Research Development Programme (IRDP) seeks to partner the higher education institutions in the development and enhancement of their research culture, environment, ethos and practice to become world class African universities in order to deliver in numbers and quality the skills required by the national system of innovation.
Currently the Vaal University of Technology has two approved Research Niche Areas (RNA’s) participating in the IRDP (2007-2011).
Addressing Household Food Insecurity and Malnutrition in an Urban Area (Contact person: Prof. Wilna Oldewagen-Theron (Tel: 016 650 9722)
Fuel Cell Electricity Generation Utilizing Hydrogen, Methanol and other Fuels(Contact person: Prof. Christo Pienaar (Tel: 016 950 9381)
Proposed research must align with approved RNA’s
A research capacity building initiative aimed to develop and advance research capacity of the individual researchers from the designated research communities. The three sub-programmes are:
Women in Research. Applicant must be a woman researcher with a Doctoral degree.
Researchers in Training. To develop entry-level South African researchers are required to obtain a Doctoral degree, and subsequently be in a position to participate in other NRF funding streams with established researchers on a competitive basis. Applicant must have a Masters degree and must register for a PhD.
Research Development Initiative for Black Academics (REDIBA). To support South African Black (African, Coloured, Indian) male researchers with Doctoral degrees in the advancement of their research careers, for positions of scientific and academic leadership.
iii) THRIP (Technology and Human Resource for Industry Programme).
The Programme aims to improve the competitiveness of South African industry, by supporting research and technology development activities and by enhancing the quantity and quality of appropriately skilled people.
Applicant must have a PhD, a four or more year track record of research that is excellent and sustained and/or clearly on an upward trajectory, have a track record in supervising postgraduate students, have a record of being able to obtain external funding, reside full time in South Africa for the duration of the Research Chair award.
Applicants must have a strong network of collaborators and fellow researchers working in similar and different but related research fields. The network must span departments, schools, institutions and have excellent extended track records in research outputs.
vi) International Co-operation Research Grants
The applicants must have a research collaborator in the country which is a signatory to the bi-national (or bilateral – NRF and funding agency in another country) agreement. The applicant must have a PhD degree.
vii) Knowledge Interchange and Collaboration (KIC)
Travel Grants. Travel by researchers employed by South African Higher Education Institutions to conferences, workshops etc. This investment area is divided into categories:
Young and developing researchers.
Invited visiting scientists and keynote speaker
Events Support. The support of research orientated meetings, such as conferences.
The budget set aside for the programme is divided into three equal portions and deployed accordingly: January, May and September.