Definition of a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vaal University of Technology
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are normally awarded to individuals within five years of having achieved a doctoral degree. Postdoctoral Research Fellows are individuals who undertake research and gain professional experience for a future academic career, under the supervision and mentorship of a Principal Investigator. The purpose of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for experiential learning in research, which may serve as a path for further academic and professional development. Such extension depends on several factors, including availability of funds.
What a Fellowship entails
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are provided by several different sources, including the University’s Research Committee, the NRF, the Claude Leon Foundation and a number of other external Foundations and agencies. Such extension depends on several factors, including availability of funds.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are non-taxable, unless they comply with the guidelines for “open scholarships” as set out by the South African Revenue Services. In essence, this means that:
- fellowships must be granted without fringe benefits (Medical aid)
- no services are required of the successful candidate in return for the fellowship
In addition to this, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) who undertakes research for the benefit of an individual or corporation will not normally be granted tax exemption on the fellowship.
Conditions of Award and advertising
An award letter ensures that all applicants and candidates are subjected to the same criteria so that selection is free and fair. It clearly outlines the terms of reference for all fellowships available to postdoctoral researchers at the university. The line-manager of department or fund-holder must populate and complete this document. It is then submitted to the Research Office, where it will be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation. A copy of this document, as well as a copy of the advertisement, will be submitted by the PDRF Office in the Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office to the South African Revenue Services along with a request for tax exemption.
Registration, orientation and administration
Once a Fellowship has been offered to a postdoctoral researcher, the PDRF will be required to register at VUT at the beginning of their tenure and at the beginning of each subsequent academic year of their tenure. The registration process takes place in the Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office.
Each PDRF will be required to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the university. This is a contractual agreement between the university and the PDRF and is legally binding. Similarly, the PDRF and the Principal Investigator will enter into a bilateral agreement called the Memorandum of Understanding.
PDRFs, once registered with the university, are eligible to utilise the following university facilities:
- Library borrowing facilities
- Parking facilities
- Membership of sports and other clubs
- IT Services