NRF and NSFAS Announce Partnership Agreement for Postgraduate Student Funding

NRF and NSFAS Announce Partnership Agreement for Postgraduate Student Funding

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has partnered with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), to collaborate on initiatives that will increase access to funding opportunities for postgraduate students. This initial five-year partnership commences from April 2022, with the annual call for postgraduate funding applications opening in the same period.

Funds administered by NSFAS targets students at the undergraduate levels of study while the NRF provides funding for postgraduate students studying towards a research-based postgraduate degree. The NSFAS-supported students are thus an important feeder group into the human capital development excellence pipeline. This partnership will enable a seamless transition for funding of students progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, based on financial need and academic performance.

The two organisations’ common objective of supporting students will also contribute to establishing a transformed and diverse research and development workforce by advancing transformation initiatives for South African citizens who are Black, female or people living with disabilities.

The NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, says, “Over the past 21 years, the NRF has invested in supporting and advancing research, human capacity development, research infrastructure development and science engagement across the National System of Innovation (NSI). These investments are expected to generate impacts within the research enterprise, and ultimately for the benefit of society. This agreement will advance the NRF’s strategic objective of creating a globally competitive and transformed research system, through supporting the development of human capital in prioritised areas and enhancing the equity of postgraduate student access, success, and throughput.”

NSFAS CEO, Mr Andile Nongogo, says, “NSFAS has a mandate to provide funding for poor students who would otherwise not be able to access higher education had it not been for Government’s intervention. While the scheme in terms of the policy can only fund first qualifications (undergraduates), it is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for its beneficiaries. This partnership with the NRF is the first of many partnerships and collaborations the scheme will enter into for the benefit of its beneficiaries”.

The agreement is facilitated within the NRF business unit Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA) managed by the Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development (HICD) Directorate. “We are extremely excited about this partnership which stems from the mutual interests of NSFAS and the NRF in funding different segments of students in higher education and tracking the destinations of graduates into the economically active workforce, in particular in the research and development sectors” added Dr Romilla Maharaj, Executive Director of the NRF’s HICD Directorate.

About the NRF:

The National Research Foundation (NRF) is an independent statutory body established in accordance with the National Research Foundation Act. Its mandate is to support and promote research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge; supporting and promoting public awareness of, and engagement with, science; and promoting the development and maintenance of the national science system and support of Government priorities, thereby contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans.

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Media Queries can be addressed to:

Candice Molefe
Media Manager, NRF Corporate Communications
Contact:  / 012 481 4393

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