About us

History of the National Research Foundation.

The NRF is an independent statutory body established through the National Research Foundation Act (Act No 23 of 1998), following a system-wide review conducted for the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST). The new entity incorporated the functions 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.

As a government mandated research and science development agency the NRF funds research, the development of high-end Human Capacity and critical research infrastructure to promote knowledge production across all disciplinary fields. The goal of the NRF is to create innovative funding instruments, advance research career development, increase public science engagement and to establish leading-edge research platforms that will transform the scientific landscape and inspire a representative research community to aspire to global competitiveness. The NRF promotes South African research and innovation interests across the country and internationally, and together with research institutions, business, industry and international partners we build bridges between research communities for mutual benefit that contributes to National Development.

National Research Foundation

Mandate of the NRF

The NRF receives its mandate from the National Research Foundation Act (Act No 23 of 1998, as amended). According to Section 3 of the Act, the object of the NRF is to contribute to national development by:

Research and human capacity development
Supporting, promoting and advancing Research and human capacity development through fund and the provision of the necessary research infrastructure, in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including humanities, social sciences and indigenous knowledge;
National Science System
Promoting the development and maintenance of the national science system and support of Government priorities.
National Research Facilities
Developing, supporting and maintaining national research facilities;
Science Engagement
Supporting and promoting public awareness of, and engagement with, science; and

NRF Values

We have a set of six values which operate as a system reflecting and shaping our behaviours and organisational culture.

Passion for Excellence

World Class Service



Integrity & Ethics