South African Applicants Fellowships , South Africa

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South African Applicants Fellowship

This Guide provides an overview of the application process and funding guidelines for the DST-NRF Free-standing ( Local and Abroad ), DST-NRF Innovation and the DST-NRF-DHET Scarce Skills Postdoctoral Fellowships funding instruments. It should be read in conjunction with the above-mentioned Framework, which can be accessed at

The Framework provides detailed information with respect to objectives of the funding instruments, eligibility criteria etc. This document does not, however, constitute a complete set of the policies, procedures or systems used by the NRF.

Conditions of the DST- NRF Free-standing ( Local and Abroad ), DST-NRF Innovation and DST-NRF-DHET Scarce Skills Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • The fellowship shall be held as the primary funding for the Postdoctoral research training;
  • Fellowships may not be held simultaneously with a another fellowship from any other government or NRF source or NRF administered source;
  • Postdoctoral Fellows are permitted to spend a maximum of 20% of their time undertaking lecturing and student supervision;
  • Postdoctoral Fellows may not concurrently hold the fellowship with any full-time salaried employment position; and
  • Postdoctoral Fellows may hold non-binding supplementary grants or emoluments to the institutional capped value.

DST-NRF Free-standing Postdoctoral Abroad Awards

The value of the award will be calculated as the equivalent of the United States Dollar ( USD ) of 26 000 per annum, for a maximum of two (2) years, and will be paid out in the currency of the country in which the postdoctoral research will be undertaken.

In addition, the NRF will cover the cost of :

  • A single economy airfare for travel to the country in which the postdoctoral research will be undertaken; and
  • A single economy airfare to return to South Africa upon completion of the postdoctoral research abroad.

The NRF will not cover any costs for accompanying family members or any other related costs associated with the postdoctoral research. The applicant will be responsible for securing additional funding to cover any shortfall in funding required to undertake his / her postdoctoral
research abroad.

Application Process

The NRF is issuing this pooled call for DST-NRF Free-standing ( Local and Abroad ), DST-NRF Innovation and DST-NRF-DHET Scarce Skills Postdoctoral Fellowship applications that is published on the NRF website and is accessible online at Each applicant is limited to only one application per year for this pooled Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Once an applicant submits an application, it will be duly authorised and approved by the Designated Authority ( DA ) of the research administration at the prospective South African host institution where the applicant intends to undertake the postdoctoral research. Applications will be automatically routed to the institutional DA of the submitting institution for validation at the deadline date determined by individual institutions. Applicants have to enquire with theirinstitutions regarding internal closing dates.

Abroad applications will be routed directly to the NRF. The processing of a successful grant application takes approximately five months from the closing date for applications until the commencement of funding.

How to Submit Applications

Applications may be completed on the NRF Online Submission System at Applicants are advised to complete their applications soon after the call is open to prevent IT system overload nearer the closing date of 6th July, 2017.

Applicants must ensure that they adhere to their institution’s internal closing date for submission of their application to allow for internal institutional screening and review.

The internal closing date will be determined by the respective research offices or Post Graduate Office and is usually at least two weeks prior to the NRF’s closing date.

Screening and Review Processes

Overview of the Screening Process

All applications validated by institutions and submitted to the NRF are screened by the NRF for compliance with the eligibility criteria of the Call for applications, as well as the requirements for completing the NRF Online Submission application. Applications that fail to meet the stipulated requirements will be rejected.

Overview of the Review Process

The NRF’s peer review policy requires that all applications be subjected to a review process. Applications submitted to this funding instrument will go through a panel review process.

Panel members are selected from the NRF database and other sources, which is updated on a continuous basis. When selecting the review panel, the expertise and experience of individuals in application adjudication are taken into account. In assessing the application, agreed assessment criteria are applied in the form of a scorecard.

The Review Panel provides recommendations to the NRF and the final funding decision is made by the NRF taking strategic and policy objectives into consideration. In awarding grants in this funding instrument, the NRF takes into account the recommendations of the peer review panel, the objectives and targets of the funding instrument, and the available funds.