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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Announcement: Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) call on Democracy, Governance and Trust (DGT)
Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme Implementation Framework for the 2024 Academic Year
DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2024 Academic Year
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
Announcement of Successful Applications for General Honours Scholarships 2023_July
Announcement of Successful Applications for the 2023 NRF Scarce Skills Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Take Charge of your Future: Apply for a Pan-African University Scholarship today!
Call for Proposals: Japan Science and Technology Agency / Japan International Cooperation Agency Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development
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.
August is Women’s Month, and this year the National Research Foundation (NRF) is celebrating the remarkable contributions that have been made by women researchers for the betterment of humanity. We thank all participants for sharing their stories with us.
Dr Monique Bignoux is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS). She has received funding from the NRF from Master’s through to postdoctoral studies.
What impact did the NRF have on your studies/career?
I have essentially been funded by the NRF since 2016. I received an NRF Master’s block grant (2016-2017) and an NRF Innovation Doctoral Scholarship (2018-2020). Due to COVID, I additionally received NRF Doctoral Extension funding (2021). I received grantholder-linked postdoctoral funding for the end of 2022 and I then received my own NRF Postdoctoral Grant (2023-2024).
This funding has supported me through my entire postgraduate studies and is still supporting my career today, which has ultimately allowed me to become an accomplished scientist with five co-authored publications and two patents, allowing me to be an independent individual. Without these grants, I would not have been able to complete my postgraduate studies and I would not have been able to make the scientific contributions that I have. The impact of this funding goes far beyond me as an individual.
What has been your study/career journey?
My dreams of becoming a Molecular Biologist began in Grade 11 when we started learning about genetics. This ignited my passion for the subject and I decided then that I wanted to get a PhD. Since then, there has never been a second of doubt whether this was the right career field for me.
Completing my matric at Fairmont High School in the Western Cape, I chose WITS specifically for its accomplished School of Molecular and Cell Biology. I then completed my entire tertiary education at WITS, from BSc all the way to my Doctoral degree. However, after completing my Honours degree in Genetics, I was unable to find a supervisor who had enough funding to offer me an MSc project. This led me to the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department where I approached Prof Stefan Weiss who offered me a project that really piqued my interest – investigating ways to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This only ignited my passion further and I found a whole new side of Molecular Biology that I genuinely loved.
Although I was provided with a PhD project, we were, unfortunately, unable to continue with the work investigating Alzheimer’s disease due to a lack of funding. This brought me to investigate ways to target several hallmarks of cancer through a targeted approach. Although still very much in line with my love of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, it didn’t capture me in the same way that studying Alzheimer’s disease did. This, therefore, pointed me to Dr Eloise van der Merwe, my current postdoctoral host, who shares my enthusiasm for studying neurodegenerative diseases.
I believe my sincere passion and excitement for the subject are the reasons for my significant academic accomplishments, of which the NRF has been a huge supporter.
What is your research focus on/what is your area of expertise?
My current research is hosted by Dr Eloise van der Merwe in the Cell Biology and Signalling Research Lab at WITS University and focuses on investigating the link between metabolic disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, the information available is limited, and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to work on the first study to use samples from our unique and diverse South African population. We have thus far identified several key pathways and a key molecular target involved in Alzheimer’s disease progression, and we are actively identifying compounds to target these pathways using a combination of in silico and in vitro models.
My expertise lies in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, with a passion for exploiting the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease for the development of therapeutic interventions to improve the quality of life of those suffering from the debilitating disease.
I currently have five co-authored publications in international peer-reviewed journals and two more first-author publications currently in preparation.
Why is your research/work important?
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and to date, the existing research on the neuropathological hallmarks of this devastating disease has not yet yielded any disease-modifying therapeutics. This is shocking and shows that research needs to be re-orientated to investigate and identify possible causes, rather than aiming to treat the symptoms. Therefore, rather than looking into the late-stage hallmarks, such as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, we need to delve deep into the events occurring prior to these hallmarks forming.
Our study thus aims to identify the link between metabolic disorders and Alzheimer’s disease using samples from our unique and diverse South African population. Our end goal is to identify specific pathways and proteins involved for potential biomarker identification, and therefore, early diagnosis. In addition, we aim to identify potential drug targets and modifiable risk factors for treatment, for the ultimate prevention of Alzheimer’s disease for sustainable health and well-being, and to improve quality of life.
There is still a long way to go to truly achieve equity and a sense of belonging for women, be it within the research community or society in general. How do you envision yourself contributing to this space?
Dr van der Merwe is a large advocate for supporting previously disadvantaged individuals and one of her focuses is on prioritising placing females within her lab group. Her kind and gentle leadership creates a sense of teamwork and belonging. In addition to supporting my growth and passion for the subject, this has given me the opportunity to mentor and co-supervise these individuals in practical, technical and writing skills, both growing myself as an individual and as a scientist, and allowing me to make my own contribution to the academic careers of these wonderful ladies. We currently have an all-female group of students from diverse backgrounds and in various stages of completing their postgraduate degrees. It brings me great pride to support them in their academic endeavours. I have great hope for the future of women in STEM
What advice do you have for girls who are interested in STEM-related careers?
Things are changing and there is a lot of support and advocacy for girls and women in STEM now, and this continues to improve year-on-year. If this is the career path that you want to follow, then go for it! Make sure to research universities; the schools within the universities; and the individuals within to gain a good understanding of the culture and support systems available. If you are aiming to continue to postgraduate level, get to know your lecturers in undergrad and identify who may be a good fit for you – sometimes the project may not excite you as much as the others available, but you will still gain the necessary skills and a project change can always be made later!
One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer is that the culture and type of leadership you encounter can make or break an individual – rather find someone who will properly support you and your aspirations to help you be the best you can be, then the right project will come to you.
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Russia’s Minister of Science and Education, Valery Falkov, visits NRF-iThemba LABS
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