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FEBE - Postgraduate and Research Support: Research Funding

Research Portal for the Faculty of Engineering.

NRF Grant Funding - Higher Education Researchers and Affiliates

Centres of Excellence (CoE)

  • The applicant must be an established researcher and hold a Doctoral degree, and must have a strong network of collaborators and fellow researchers working in similar and different, but related research fields

Community Engagement Programme

  • The Community Engagement Programme is a competitive funding instrument providing the space for research that contributes both to knowledge production within the ambit of community engagement (where ‘community’ is defined in its broadest sense), as well as to research on the processes and dynamics of engagement from the perspective of the higher education sector.

Competitive Programme for Rated Researchers (CPRR)

The CPRR is a discipline-based funding instrument that supports mainly basic research as the foundation of knowledge production in the Humanities, Social and Natural Sciences. As a competitive funding instrument, the main eligibility criteria are:

  • The current NRF rating of the principal applicant; and
  • The scientific merit of the research proposal.

Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers (CSUR)

  • The aim of this funding instrument is to provide research support to researchers, working in any research field, who do not, for a variety of reasons, hold a current NRF rating and who are not participating in any of the NRF capacity development funding instruments

Education Research in South Africa

The Call for funding for Education Research in South Africa seeks research proposals that address:

  • The overarching theme of ‘Teaching and learning interactions that shape the qualitative outcomes of education’ at all levels of the education and training system
  • National priorities in South Africa (a strong indication must be provided)
  • Systemic implications (either through large-scale empirical research or meta-analyses of past/existing small-scale research projects)

Human Capital Development for Multi-Wavelength Astronomy

  • This funding instrument is aimed at researchers at South African higher education institutions or national research facilities working under the rubric of multi-wavelength astronomy, including optical and gamma-ray astronomy and the supporting theory.

Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers (IFRR)

The IFRR funding instrument was created with the aim of incentivising excellent research. The collateral objectives of the funding instrument include encouraging researchers to:

  • Subject themselves for rating;
  • Maintain their ratings
  • Attain ever higher ratings until they reach the top rating

Knowledge Fields Development (KFD)

  • The NRF’s Knowledge Fields Development Directorate identifies and coordinates a number of knowledge fields development activities for implementation each year supported through short-term once-off grants.

Knowledge Interchange and Collaboration (KIC)

  • The KIC funding instrument offers researchers funding for local or international travel; support grants to host an event such as a conference or symposium; and mobility grants to support local or international travel for research or training on specific equipment that is not available in the applicant’s institution or in South Africa, and is not supported by the NRF’s Equipment-related Travel and Training Grants funding instrument

Nanotechnology Flagships Project (NFP) for Emerging Researchers

  • This funding instrument award 3-year development grants to early career researchers in the field of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Research Career Advancement Fellowships

  • These fellowships are aimed at supporting the training of individuals for research leadership in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematical Sciences (STEM) at public universities.

Sabbatical Grants for Completion of Doctoral Degrees

  • The Sabbatical grant seeks to accelerate the training of Doctoral candidates in order to improve the qualifications of employed academics and enhance their research and supervisory capacity and is aimed at addressing this problem for individuals in the final stages of their Doctoral studies.

South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP)

  • SANAP supports research in the Southern Ocean, including the Southern Ocean islands (Marion Island, Prince Edward Island and Gough Island) and Antarctica in the fields of Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Life Sciences, Oceanographic Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences, Law and Humanities

South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI)

  • SARChI is a strategic intervention of the South African government designed to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at SA universities

Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP)

  • To qualify, the proposed project must be a high-quality Science, Engineering and/or Technology research project with financial support from an industry partner (preferably an SMME).

Thuthuka Funding Instrument

  • Thuthuka aims to develop human capital and to improve the research capacities of designated researchers (black [African, Indian or Coloured], female or persons with disabilities) with the ultimate aim of redressing historical imbalances.

Research Funding

NRF Research Grants

Grants Management & Systems Administration (GMSA)

  • Free-standing scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, for which students/postdoctoral research fellows apply online and compete individually

Freestanding Scholarships & Fellowships

  • Innovation scholarships allow applications both South African citizens,  permanent residents and foreign nationals

Scarce Skills Development Fund Scholarships/Fellowships

  • This scholarship aims at addressing the shortage of qualified graduates in certain identified key areas of in the biological, medical, mathematical and natural sciences, financial management, information technology and computer sciences, engineering, demography and tourism

Innovation Scholarships/Fellowships

  • The scholarships are awarded for Honours, Masters and doctoral studies in South Africa as well as for doctoral studies abroad.

DAAD/NRF Joint In-country Scholarships

  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in partnership with the NRF offers a scholarship aimed at the development of university staff as well as other sectors requiring academically trained personnel. The programme addresses candidates who are acquiring their Master’s or doctoral degrees.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Scholarships (RSES)

The RSES scholarship is designed to enhance science, engineering and technology (SET) enrolment into postgraduate studies (Master’s and PhD) i

Doctoral Studies in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DSEE)

  • This opportunity is made available to students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in energy efficiency at Concordia University in Canada.

South African Nuclear Human Asset and Research Programme (SANHARP) Scholarships

  • SANHARP’s aim is to expand the skills and research capacity of the nuclear industry, supporting mathematics and science learners who are part of the Energy Human Capital Development & Knowledge Generation Programme as well as undergraduate and postgraduate studies at universities

Blue Skies Research Programme

  • This is a highly competitive funding instrument that aims to bring about new and unpredictable scientific/technological/scholarly discoveries

Equipment-related Travel and Training Grants

  • Funds are available for both national and international travel in order to support researchers who require access to equipment that is not available either regionally and/or nationally.

Global Change, Society and Sustainability Research Programme (GCSSRP)

  • GCSSRP is a long-term large-scale structured and coordinated research funding instrument implemented to address the identified fundamental research questions and provide research-based evidence required for socioeconomic development, sustainability and social cohesion.



Research Funding


NRF Documents

Subject Guide

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FEBE: Engineering
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Research Funding Organisations

Info Ed - Spin Funding Opportunities

SPIN is web-based for access from anywhere, easy to use out-of-the-box, and can be customized to bring back precisely the results you want.  Perfect for both individual and administrative users, SPIN offers active searching, automated opportunity matching, and daily opportunity notifications

Research Information Management Systems

The objectives of the South African Research and Information Management Programme (RIMS)are twofold. Firstly to provide a common application platform for publicly funded research institutions to support their research administration processes.

National Research Foundation (NRF)

The NRF is a centralised entity of the research funding agencies that were previously servicing various sections of the research community, namely the former Centre for Science Development (CSD) of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the former Foundation for Research Development (FRD) that included several National Research Facilities.