The National Research Foundation was established as an independant government agency, through the National Research Foundation Act [Act No.23 of 1998].
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:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Deputy Chief Executive Officer: National Research Infrastructure Platforms.
Group Executive: Finance and Business Systems and (CFO)
Acting Group Executive: Strategy, Planning and Partnerships
Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations
Group Executive: Human Resources and Legal Services
Deputy CEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Collaborative Funding Call
NRF BRICS Call Guideline
Invitation for Nominations for Professional Development Programme (PDP) Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2023
2023 iThemba Labs Physics Summer School Call for Applications
Bi-annual Progress Reports: Postgraduate Scholarships 2022 – Mid-Year Reports
DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2023 Academic Year
Announcement of Successful SARChI Masters Scholarships Applicants for 2023_Final
Announcement of Successful SARChI Doctoral Scholarships Applicants for 2023_Final
Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa
Fulbright Foreign Student Program 2024-2025
Africa’s leading research facility for accelerator based science. Probing fundamental structure and the origins of matter; Advancing the understanding of condensed matter; Impacting the Societal need through provision for the health and environmental sector
The iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences is the continents' biggest facility for particle and nuclear research.
The SAAO is a national facility of the NRF and the national centre for optical and infrared astronomy in South Africa.
SAEON is a national platform for detecting, translating and predicting environmental change.
SAIAB provides unique skills and infrastructure support in marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems research, molecular research, collections and bioinformatics.
SARAO is a national facility of the NRF and incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, (HartRAO) in Gauteng...
South Africa’s innovation revolution must assist in solving our society’s deep and pressing socio-economic challenges. Global competitiveness, shrinking resource availability, and the requirements of a skilled labour force mean that, increasingly, an awareness and understanding of why science and research are critical to our lives is essential for developing an innovation culture.
Within the next five years, the aim is to begin to more fully embed engagement in and with science in the core NRF missions of supporting and promoting new knowledge and growing new knowledge workers. This is led by the formulation of an acceptable NRF position on engaged research which will guide the NRF approach…
NRF | SAASTA is the NRF business division tasked with leading and coordinating the science engagement programme across the NRF and beyond. The NRF is equally committed to ensuring that the science engagement leadership and national coordination role…
The NRF provides leading-edge research infrastructure platforms that ensure that the national research enterprise has the requisite infrastructure to undertake globally competitive discovery science, train the next generation of researchers, support engagement with science by and with the public and promote innovation that positively impacts society, the environment, the economy.
The annual NRF Awards recognize and celebrate South African research excellence. The awards presented to researchers are in two categories, the ratings linked awards and special recognition awards.
The National Research Foundation (NRF) conducts its procurement of goods, services, and works in accordance with its Supply Chain Management Policy in a manner that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive, and cost-effective
The National Research Foundation (NRF) is guided by its Supply Chain Management Policy in its procurement of goods and services. The Policy sets out the prescripts issued by National Treasury with the exact note referenced in the footnotes. The Supply Chain Management policy adheres to the National Treasury’s prescribed supply chain system framework.
The NRF’s Supply Chain Management Policy and the conduct of supply chain management at the NRF seeks to give effect to section 217 of the South African Constitution which requires that all procurement of goods and services must be done in a manner that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.
The National Research Foundation bid awards and contracts. Below is the latest award.
Women’s Month 2022 is celebrated under the theme of “Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights for an equal future” and links to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) of Gender Equality by 2030. The NRF is committed to supporting women researchers as well as research aimed at uplifting women.
Prof Francesca Porri is a Senior Scientist and NRF-rated researcher at the South African Institute for South African Biodiversity (NRF-SAIAB) in Makhanda/Grahamstown where she conducts research on coastal ecology while supervising postgraduate students. She’s also part of the NRF-SAIAB Leadership Team that helps to improve and coordinate some of the research activities and duties behind the scenes.
What has been your study/career journey: how did you end up where you are today?
While my dream job as a child was to sell fruit and veg at the market, my love for the outdoors and nature quickly turned into a passion for the sea, especially for the environments between the sea and the land (known as intertidal environments).
So, my Honours and MSc studies in Biological Sciences at the University of Florence, Italy, saw me spend some time (through ERASMUS, a student exchange programme) at Bangor University, North Wales, UK. Here I really had the opportunity to attend courses in marine biology (something not available at my university at the time). From there, where my passion for travelling and discovering was enhanced, I grabbed an incredible opportunity to come to Africa to work on an EU project on mangrove ecology and I spent two and half years at UNITRA (University of Transkei, currently Walter Sisulu University), where I made some lifetime friendships such as the one with Sekiwe Mbande, currently at DFFE, and Vincent Motebang Nakin, currently at WSU.
Since life and work go hand-in-hand and since I had met the love of my life in Mthatha (previously Umtata), this country nourished a desire for me to stay and my longing for the coast was (and still is) burning. I hence embarked on a PhD in Larval Ecology at Rhodes University where I worked with one outstanding scientist, Christopher McQuaid and where the “love for the larvae” started and never left.
The rest is history as, this year, I celebrate a decade at NRF-SAIAB where I have been afforded a safe and stimulating space and incredible facilities and support to develop my passion on processes that drive the ecology of natural and urban coastal ecosystems, and inspire and help train a (hopefully a few more to come!) generation of passionate future marine activists and experts.
What does being an NRF-rated researcher mean to you?
I currently hold an NRF C1-rating as an “established researcher” in my field.
Being an NRF-rated scholar is an important milestone for South African academics as one’s work and portfolio are weighed, measured and put into a context of national and international recognition. To have an NRF-rating helps me understand where my work stands and how I can help improve my scholarly status by making the research I do more relevant to the local and international communities. In my personal experience, the comments I have received when I obtained my first rating were concise yet useful and I hope this five-year cycle system stimulates me and helps my professional growth and the broad significance of the work I do.
What is your research focus on/what is your area of expertise?
I am a marine biologist interested in the ecology of coastal organisms. This means that, through the research I do together with members of the Coastal and Ocean Sciences Team (COST), I naturally link and try to understand how coastal organisms relate to one another and to the environment they live in. The intertidal environment (the space between the sea and the land) is an exciting living laboratory because organisms living there often have to deal and strive in a “home” that gets flooded and dried out twice a day (here in South Africa high and low tides alternate twice over a 24-hour cycle). This natural challenge is exponentially raised by increasing challenges due to human action, either in the form of climate change or the drastic transformation of the coastline through construction, e.g. roads, defence seawalls structures, harbours, jetties.
Since most coastal species reproduce by releasing gametes in the sea, if you are a larva (baby stage of many marine species) that needs to find its way home to the shore, there are additional challenges due the large number of predators in the water; the powerful currents and swashing waves; and the extreme conditions often imposed by the changing environments. “Finding home” when available homes are in short supply (due to coastal urbanisation) is also an added challenge as a larva has a limited time to return to the place on the coast (habitats) where they will grow into adults.
Through recent research, our team is trying to understand the mechanisms that help larvae find their way home; how larvae function (or not) under altered conditions; and how we can find solutions to enhance the arrival of larvae (processes called settlement and recruitment) to the adult sites in urban coastal settings. This research is very important as larvae are the foundation of all populations and largely regulate the success of adults – simply put in my evergreen motto #NoLarvae-NoParty!
Please tell us more about the NRF-funded Indigenous Marine Innovations for Sustainable Environments and Economies (IMIsEE) programme. What is your role, and what is the aim of the programme?
The main aim of the IMIsEE project is to merge innovative nature-based approaches and indigenous cultural expressions to counteract the adverse impacts of coastal urbanisation by improving the values of coastal biodiversity. Ultimately, this project aims to transform urban coastlines through the use of green engineering innovations in order to benefit both the people and biological communities.
As a principal investigator in this project, I am excited that we will officially launch this new NRF-funded study later this month in Hamburg, Eastern Cape, which is basically the cradle of this research. Unfortunately, the daily news about gender-based violence sober the celebrations for this month and constantly remind us about the long walk to respect and equality for women, but we hope that the IMIsEE project will help in different ways to inspire, give hope, and empower women and humans in general. The IMIsee project is a trans-disciplinary partnership that integrates indigenous knowledge (Keiskamma Trust), music, education (Rhodes University), and cutting-edge scientific techniques (SAIAB and additional collaborators) to ultimately co-create innovative nature-based solutions for urban coastlines.
This innovation will also provide some economic upliftment to the poorest rural sectors of the South African society, placing traditional knowledge bearers (mostly women within the rural community) at the epicentre of this innovation. Given that the artisanal practice of weaving is a dying practice, this project will also boost the heritage value of local traditional cultural expression.
What advice do you have for girls who are interested in STEM-related careers?
Humans, if afforded the opportunity, space and freedom are naturally curious, but often listen too much to the background noise of society and imposed stereotypes. I think that the main advice for girls (and everyone) is to follow the passion and curiosity, be it in numbers, mechanisms, observations, or nature. These key fields can be nurtured from any age and with determination can lead to following the dreams even if often the road is bumpy, unjust, unfair and full of hurdles. Those stop signs are often temporary and the pauses should help add clarity to the real goals.
When I was a kid, I was lucky to be afforded the freedom to be out, get dirty, be late for dinners and not the first in the grade. It was in grandpa and grandma’s veggie garden where I started the first observations of nature and its processes…you don’t need to have a grand start to feed your curiosity, most of the time the best inspirations are simple and right in front of you!
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NRF Women’s Month 2022: Dr Dumile Gumede
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