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:
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Deputy Chief Executive Officer: National Research Infrastructure Platforms.
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Deputy CEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)
Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations
Group Executive: Strategy Planning and Partnerships
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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.
Researchers discover three supermassive black holes merging together in our nearby universe
Researchers using the IRSF (InfraRed Survey Facility) at SAAO in Sutherland, have discovered three supermassive black holes from three galaxies merging together! The IRSF is a collaboration between Nagoya Univ-Kyoto Univ-NAOJ (Japan) and SAAO (South Africa).
The merger has formed a triple active galactic nucleus, a compact region at the centre of a newly discovered galaxy that has a much higher-than-normal brightness. This rare occurrence in our nearby Universe indicates that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple accreting supermassive black holes and increases the possibility of detecting such rare occurrences.
Supermassive black holes are difficult to detect because they do not emit any light. But they can reveal their presence by interacting with their surroundings. When the dust and gas from the surroundings fall onto a supermassive black hole, some of the mass is swallowed by the black hole, but some of it is converted into energy and emitted as electromagnetic radiation that makes the black hole appear very luminous. They are called active galactic nuclei (AGN) and release huge amounts of ionized particles and energy into the galaxy and its environment. Both of these ultimately contribute to the growth of the medium around the galaxy and ultimately the evolution of the galaxy itself.
A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics consisting of Jyoti Yadav, Mousumi Das, and Sudhanshu Barway (formerly of SAAO) along with Francoise Combes of College de France, Chaire Galaxies et Cosmologie, Paris, while studying a known interacting galaxy pair, NGC7733, and NGC7734, detected unusual emissions from the centre of NGC7734 and a large, bright clump along the northern arm of NGC7733. Their investigations showed that the clump is moving with a different velocity compared to the galaxy NGC7733 itself. This means that this clump was not a part of NGC7733; rather, it was a small separate galaxy behind the arm. They named this galaxy NGC7733N.
This study, published as a letter in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, used data from the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard the first Indian space observatory ASTROSAT, the European integral field optical telescope called MUSE mounted on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and infrared images from the optical telescope (IRSF) in South Africa.
The UV and H-alpha images also supported the presence of the third galaxy by revealing star formation along with the tidal tails, which could have formed from the merger of NGC7733N with the larger galaxy. Each of the galaxies hosts an active supermassive black hole in their nucleus and hence form a very rare triple AGN system.
According to Dr Barway, a major factor impacting galaxy evolution is galaxy interactions, which happen when galaxies move close by each other and exert tremendous gravitational forces on each other. During such galaxy interactions, the respective supermassive black holes can get near each other. The dual black holes start consuming gas from their surroundings and become dual AGN.
The IIA team explains that if two galaxies collide, their black hole will also come closer by transferring the kinetic energy to the surrounding gas. The distance between the blackholes decreases with time until the separation is around a parsec (3.26 light-years). The two black holes are then unable to lose any further kinetic energy in order to get even closer and merge. This is known as the final parsec problem. The presence of a third black hole can solve this problem. The dual merging blackholes can transfer their energy to the third blackhole and merge with each other.
Many AGN pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare, and only a handful have been detected before using X-ray observations. However, the IIA team expects such triple AGN systems to be more common in small merging groups of galaxies. Although this study focuses only on one system, the results suggest that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple supermassive black holes.
Journal reference: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 651, id.L9, 6 pp.
NRF Framework to Advance the Societal and Knowledge Impact of Research
Telescope built by Karoo locals releases data to astronomers around the world
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