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)
Group Executive: Human Resources and Legal Services
Deputy CEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)
Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme Implementation Framework for the 2024 Academic Year
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Pilot Call for Full Proposals
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 Applications: Additional Awards for the NRF Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023
Announcement of Successful Applications for NRF-SASOL Foundation Scholarship Programme in 2023
HFSP funding opportunity announcement
Risk and Uncertainty in Finance and Economics Conference
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 to advance their careers and establish themselves as researchers and, to this end, has developed a range of funding instruments aimed at supporting emerging female researchers.
Dr Yandiswa Yako is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Biochemistry Division at Walter Sisulu University (WSU). She received an NRF Postdoctoral Fellowship at WITS (2015 – 2016) and an NRF Thuthuka* Grant (2018 and 2020 – 2021) at WSU.
What has been your study/career journey: how did you end up where you are today?
I matriculated at Qokolweni Senior Secondary Schools, Mthatha, Eastern Cape Province, in 1995. Having passed Mathematics, Biology, and Physical Science at Higher Grade, I applied for Dentistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). However, while in the process of registering as a student at UWC, I found myself enrolling for a Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons) without knowing what would become of my career path at that time.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get out of academics and find a job elsewhere, I enrolled for a BSc Hons at the then University of Port Elizabeth (now known as Nelson Mandela University) in 1999, and then MSc in Medical Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2002. Pursuing postgraduate studies in science was the only necessary choice as staying at home doing nothing (in absence of a job) was not an option. As a postgraduate student, I was always one of the few Black females in historically white institutions. This came with challenges, but I remained focused despite being uncertain about my career path.
It was when I was working as a research assistant in 2006 that becoming a Medical Research Scientist was a conscious decision, and I later enrolled at SU for a PhD in Chemical Pathology. At that time, I wanted to be a researcher, not a lecturer, because I grew to love working in a laboratory. As a PhD student and a Postdoctoral Fellow in several academic and research institutions, working in a laboratory was not enough, I wanted to do more. One would think being a Medical Science Researcher at the University of Witwatersrand would be satisfying and motivating. However, it was while working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at WITS that my need to contribute to the career development of young Black scientists became evident.
Subsequently, I applied for a position at WSU where I am currently employed as a Senior Lecturer. This took writing an email to the then Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences in 2016, who happened to be in a meeting at WITS at that time. Although we never met, the Dean read my email and responded within an hour, and I applied for one of the lecturer positions that were available at the time. And the rest is history.
What is your research focus on/what is your area of expertise?
I am involved in the teaching of students who are training as medical doctors in addition to those pursuing a career in medical science research. WSU has faced many challenges as a historically underprivileged academic institution, and as a result, has lost many credible lecturers. I am in my sixth year of working as a lecturer in an academic institution of Higher Education that doesn’t have much recognition, yet still determined to make a needed contribution to the upliftment of Black youth.
I am investigating the biology underpinning the development and progression of Type 2 diabetes, which is one of the diseases causing a health and economic burden not only in South Africa but globally as well. I am walking the road less travelled by being at WSU, currently as the only Black female Medical Biochemist in the entire WSU who is both a lecturer and a researcher with a PhD in Chemical Pathology. I am transferring my research skills to physicians and students and adding knowledge to the medical science field through research. One question that remains in my mind and keeps me grounded at WSU is “if not me, who will?”
Why is your research important?
Type 2 diabetes remains one of the most devastating chronic diseases of lifestyle globally, although it is preventable. Many Black communities are affected by this disease, partly because of their limited knowledge about its risk factors and management strategies. Type 2 diabetes has been studied for many decades, however, there is still a lot to investigate about its underlying biological processes. Furthermore, available treatment is based on Western-derived medical drugs even though Black communities have been using traditional medicine for many years.
The effectiveness of traditional medicines that are originating from the Eastern Cape Province have been given little attention in research. I am hoping to extend my research to investigate bioactive compounds that are found in traditional medicines, as well as identify intervention strategies that could be effective in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. I am currently working in collaboration with researchers at the South African Medical Council, testing one of the Type 2 diabetes intervention programmes in communities in the Eastern Cape Province.
What advice do you have for girls who are interested in STEM-related careers?
There is no better time to pursue a Science-related profession than in this decade. Science will forever be relevant in our lives as diseases and technology continue to progress and advance. South Africa is still in need of Medical Scientists with creativity and innovation to produce medical devices (diagnostic instruments), drugs, and vaccines that can be readily available to curb the burden of diseases in our country. Underprivileged communities are still in need of role models who are in other Medical Science fields i.e. not only medical doctors (Physicians/Clinicians/Nurses/Clinical Associates).
Furthermore, scientists who are academics are ageing, necessitating the continuous training of new scientists to take over their role. Females need to take their place in societies outside the home environment and contribute to building the nation.
Success requires hard work, determination, and building a brand that you can be proud of through good work and moral ethics. This should by no means be in competition with our male counterparts, but working together in complementing our capabilities. Let us be the change we want to see.
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*The NRF’s Thuthuka funding instrument, initiated in 2001, aims to develop human capital and to improve the research capacities of researchers and scholars from designated groups with the ultimate aim of redressing historical imbalances.
Appointment of a service provider for Compilation, science editorial, design, production and distribution of SAEON’s electronic newsletter
NRF Women’s Month 2022: Tholakele Cele
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