Home » RISA Directorates » Funding » South Africa Cities Research Chairs 2018
Opening Date: 
Sunday, 20 May, 2018
Closing Date: 
Monday, 11 June, 2018






The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) was established in 2006 by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). SARChI is a strategic intervention of the South African government designed to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African universities and is aimed at increasing scientific research capacity through the development of human capacity and stimulating the generation of new knowledge.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has entered into an agreement with the South African Cities Network in order to build on the existing friendly and co-operative relationship and implement jointly the research chair.

Two positions are available for a South African Cities Research Chair in;

  • Sustainable Metropolitan Financing
  • Urban Spatial Transformation

The NRF and SACN are calling for proposals from the 25 public universities in South Africa to host the Research Chair in the abovementioned areas. Universities may hold such Research Chair exclusively or in partnership with a public research institution such as: another university, a science council or a national research facility. The Research Chair is not pre-allocated to an institution; however, institutions that have not yet participated in the Initiative are encouraged to use the opportunity.

Applications will be assessed in a two-tier peer review process, namely postal review and panel review both guided by the selection committee, nominated by the NRF and SACN. Selected subject and industry experts in the thematic area will undertake to review the applications and will make funding recommendations for approval and award by the NRF and SACN.


South African Cities Network (SACN) has been an urban learning network since 2002 and is mandated to leverage knowledge about large city policy, planning and practice issues and experiences within the global and national economic development context to promote good governance and management of its member cities, and to promote partnerships between key urban actors in the interests of enhancing good city governance in South Africa. The SACN knowledge agenda is guided by its Strategic Plan 2021 which is derived from the findings of the quinquennial State of South African Cities Report. The Research Chair will focus on enhancing the ability of the urban system to effectively strengthen city governance and performance. The Research Chair’s goal is therefore to use the knowledge generated through research to contribute towards SACN’s Knowledge Generation Programme to continue anticipating and developing new knowledge to specifically focus in on key areas that have been identified as being new or deficient, and also to build those into knowledge competencies in South Africa that support the new urban agenda.


  • The research Chairs will do research and generate knowledge and capabilities in important areas of cities development and governance.
  • The research Chairs would focus on transdisciplinary, action research in the specified fields related to city development and governance.
  • The research Chairs are envisaged to be the first ‘go-to’ resource when South African cities require expert knowledge or capability in the research areas that each Chair will focus on.
  • The research Chairs will be expected to conduct high quality research in specific focus areas of cities development and governance, with a view to informing national, regional and institutional policies and practices in these areas.

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

All applications should be submitted not later than 11 June 2018 on the NRF Online Submission System (https://nrfsubmission.nrf.ac.za/nrfmkii/), by the nominated candidates.

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.

All applications received from each institution need to be endorsed by the DVC. 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).

Only submissions that provide all the requested information will be eligible and considered for review by the NRF and SACN. Following a competitive review process, led by subject and industry experts in the selected discipline, the Research Chair will be awarded to the successful university for appointment of the candidate.

NRF contact persons

Dr Nana Boaduo
Director: Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence
Tel: 012 481 4326
E-mail: nana.boaduo@nrf.ac.za

Ms Angeline Khunou
Professional Officer: Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence
Tel: 012 481 4013
E-mail: angeline@nrf.ac.za

Ms Promise Shabangu
Professional Officer: Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence
Tel: 012 481 4386
E-mail: promise.shabangu@nrf.ac.za)

Mrs Judith Mahlanya
Professional Officer: Grant Management System and Administration
Tel: 012 481 4063
E-mail: judith.mahlanya@nrf.ac.za

Mr Simon Lotz
Director: Grants Management and Systems Administration
Tel: 012 481 4125
E-mail: simon.lotz@nrf.ac.za)