Home » RISA Directorates » Funding » DST-NRF/SAIMI Operation Phakisa Research Chair in Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering
Opening Date: 
Thursday, 31 May, 2018
Closing Date: 
Saturday, 30 June, 2018

The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) seek to fill a Research Chair in the area of Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering. Proposals are invited from eligible applicants for the DST-NRF/SAIMI Operation Phakisa Research Chair in Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering.

Operation Phakisa was launched by South African government in June 2014 to fast track the implementation of specific large-scale programmes that have significant potential for economic growth and employment in the country. One such programme involves the unlocking of the potential of South Africa’s oceans, which led to the launch Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy in July 2014. The programme focuses on four key areas: Aquaculture; Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration; Marine Transport and Manufacturing; as well as Marine Protection and Governance.

In response to the objectives of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy, the Department of Higher Education and Training in collaboration with the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), established five multi-stakeholder Skills Initiative Working Groups. The groups were tasked with ensuring an effective response to skills development needed to grow the ocean economy. The  Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration Skills Initiative Working Group was specifically mandated to develop a skills strategy roadmap to ensure human capacity development in this area, through the coordination and implementation of maritime and marine skills development initiatives. As part of their strategy, the group recommended the establishment of a researcher chair as a key modality for knowledge creation and generation, as well as a potent platform for skills transfer and development.   

The Call

The call is a result of collaboration between the Department of Higher Education and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) to develop skills required to grow and develop the ocean economy. The DST-NRF/SAIMI Operation Phakisa Research chair in Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering is considered to be a mechanism for knowledge generation and human capacity building.  The Research chair is expected to advance growth in energy related research in Petroleum Geoscience, as well as to offer opportunities for postgraduate studies in one of the rapidly developing research areas involving petroleum geoscience and engineering, in the discovery and the management of oil and gas resources in South Africa.

Funding period: 15 years at Tier Level 1 per chair, 10 years at Tier Level 2, each tenable for a period of 5 years and will be renewed on satisfactory performance of the chair.

Application process

Guidelines for Application

First Step (to be completed by applicant)

  • Register on NRF submission system if not registered before at (https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za/nrfmkii/)
  • Log in with username and password
  • Go to My Applications – Create Application
  • Click on the Apply button on the right of the relevant call
  • Please read the NRF Call Information Documents before you start with the application
  • Complete the CV sections, Details of Proposals Submitted for Hosting of Research Chairs, Host University and University support sections.
  • Upon saving the University Support section, the system will send an e-mail to the DVC/Head of Department who has been listed.

Second step (to be completed by DVC/Head of Department)

  • The DVC/Head of Department will receive an e-mail with a link to complete some sections of the application.
  • Once the above mentioned sections have been completed, the Final Submit button will be activated.
  • Click on Final Submit.
  • This information will then be displayed in the application.

Note: The following documents should be obtained from the DVC/Head of Department for uploading on the system by the applicant:

  • University Research Strategy.
  • Programme and Qualification Mix.
  • Details of Research Outputs – full details of the research outputs in support of the DVC/Head of Department’s numbers should be provided.
  • Details of Students - full details of the students in support of the DVC/Head of Department’s numbers should be provided.
  • DVC endorsement – Letter in support of the application.

Third step (to be completed by applicant)

  • The applicant will then be able to complete the rest of the proposal.
  • Applicants should upload the documents received from the DVC/Head of Department under Attachments.
  • Complete the Declaration section.
  • Once all the compulsory fields have been completed, the Final Submit button will be activated.
  • Press final submit.


  • It is important to note that the applicant will not be able to click on the final submit button at the end of the application if the DVC/Head of Department has not completed the 2nd step of the application.
  • In the case where the DVC/Head of Department needs to amend the relevant section in step 2, the applicant needs to resubmit the “University Support” section to re-initiate the process (by editing and saving the section without changing anything).

Each university may only submit two applications in this call, and will be permitted to nominate up to three candidates under the thematic area who must then each submit separate full proposals on the NRF Online Submission System. Preference will be given to Female, Black and Colored candidates.

All applications should be submitted no later than 30 June 2018 on the NRF Online Submission System (https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za), by the nominated candidates. 

NRF Contact Person:
Promise Shabangu
E-mail: promise.shabangu@nrf.ac.za
Tel: (012) 481-4386