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)
Group Executive: Finance and Business Systems and (CFO)
Acting DCEO: National Research Infrastructure Platforms
Group Executive: Corporate Services
Group Executve: Digital Transformation Acting DCEO: Research, Innovation and Impact Support and Advancement
Deputy CEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR EVALUATION AND RATING – 2024
Announcement: Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) call on Democracy, Governance and Trust (DGT)
Call for Applications: Globalink Research Award Thematic Call
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
1ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUCCESSFUL APPLICATIONS FOR THE DSI-NRF FIRST-TIME GRANT HOLDER-LINKED MASTERS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FUNDING IN 2024 ACADEMIC YEAR
ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUCCESSFUL APPLICATIONS FOR THE DSI-NRF FIRST-TIME GRANT HOLDER-LINKED DOCTORAL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FUNDING IN 2024 ACADEMIC YEAR
Call for applications: Summer schools 2024 in Germany for DAAD In-Country/In-Region scholarship holders
Open Calls for Scholarship Applications: Hungary, China, Russia, Mauritius, Sweden and Switzerland
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.
June is Youth Month, and this year the NRF is celebrating the Youth of the NRF who are advancing knowledge, transforming lives, and inspiring a nation. We thank all participants for sharing their stories with us.
Mr Kalonji Abondance Tshisekedi is a PhD student in Molecular Biology at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is currently funded by the NRF for his studies.
How did your journey start?
I was born and raised in Kinshasa where I spent my early years absorbed in studies. The subjects that caught my interest initially were Latin, Philosophy, and French but, over time, I found myself drawn towards the sciences, delving into Biology, Mathematics, and Physics. Outside of school, I spent a significant amount of time with my brother, learning how to disassemble and reassemble computers, a skill that proved invaluable in my later studies and career.
I began my higher education journey by enrolling in a BSc in Biomedicine at Midrand Graduate Institute/Pearson (now Eduvos). This course opened my eyes to the vast range of career options available within the field of science. Following this, I moved to Wits University where I undertook a postgraduate diploma in scientific studies, followed by BSc Honours in Microbiology and an MSc in Molecular Biology with distinction. Now, I’m fully immersed in my PhD, a journey that has reignited my passion for both biological science and computer sciences.
Growing up in Kinshasa, I witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of diseases such as Ebola, cholera, and malaria on our community. These experiences, coupled with my own personal battle with malaria, which nearly claimed my life, sparked a profound interest in understanding the microbial world. I was intrigued by these powerful yet microscopic entities, and their capacity to affect human health and wellbeing so profoundly.
Despite an early ambition to become a computer scientist, it was this enduring desire to understand and combat disease-causing microbes that guided my academic and career trajectory. It became clear to me that this was a field where I could make a tangible difference, contributing to global efforts to combat these devastating diseases. This mission has been my north star, guiding me through my academic journey and towards a future where I can contribute to improving public health and well-being.
How has your affiliation with the NRF impacted your studies/career?
NRF funding has been instrumental in allowing me to pursue my academic goals and conduct my research effectively. Without the support of the NRF, my journey towards achieving my Doctorate would have been far more challenging. One of the key challenges in pursuing postgraduate studies is the necessity to secure financial stability, as full-time employment is usually incompatible with the demands of research. The funding from the NRF relieved much of this stress, allowing me to focus on my studies and research.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles to be where you are today, and what did you learn from it?
Navigating the world of biological research came with its fair share of challenges. In particular, working with large biological data posed a significant hurdle. The computational infrastructure necessary for such research was not always readily available or easy to understand. Additionally, obtaining the right computing equipment, such as servers with adequate hard drives, RAM, and CPUs, can be prohibitively expensive.
Luckily, my teenage hobby of dismantling and reassembling computers proved unexpectedly useful. I was able to piece together my own servers using refurbished computer parts sourced from Facebook Marketplace and pawn shops. This resourceful approach saved costs and allowed me to progress in my research.
The challenges I faced taught me invaluable lessons about resilience, tenacity, and the importance of adaptability. I learned that barriers are often opportunities in disguise, pushing us to innovate and find unique solutions. They taught me that a broad skill set is a powerful tool, allowing me to apply my understanding of computers in a way I never initially envisaged. Finally, these experiences underscored the importance of curiosity, showing me that a spirit of exploration and a willingness to learn can open up new avenues and opportunities.
What is your research focus on/what is your area of expertise?
My PhD research centres around microbial meta-OMICS, focusing on understanding microbial community interactions. Specifically, I am examining the influence of nitrogen levels on barley germination efficiency. This is of significant interest to the brewing industry, as barley is a crucial crop. By using metagenomic and proteomic approaches, I’m characterising the microbiome of barley under different nitrogen conditions, as well as examining how nitrogen levels impact grain storage protein composition. The insights gained from this research could potentially boost cereal crop productivity in the future.
How can your work/studies advance knowledge, transform lives, and inspire a nation?
My research holds potential benefits beyond academia. It aligns with South Africa’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030, which stresses inclusive, sustainable growth, poverty eradication, and food security. My work could contribute to these objectives by enhancing crop yields and encouraging sustainable farming practices. Additionally, it aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Zero Hunger (SDG 2), suggesting potential applications at local, national, and global scales.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
One of my proudest achievements includes successfully sequencing and isolating Naganishia randhawae, a relative of the Cryptococcus species. This was the first time a genome sequence for this species was accomplished. Notably, we found that this organism produced melanin on birdseed agar, a feature never reported before for this species, hinting at potential virulence mechanisms similar to those in other fungal pathogens.
This ground-breaking work was published in the high-impact journal, IMA Fungus (impact factor 8.044), and also shared at various local and international scientific conferences. The importance of this research was recognized when I received the Alex von Holy Prize for best postgraduate research in the field of microbiology at Wits University. This award, though unexpected, was a delightful surprise that reinforced my commitment to research excellence and further highlighted the significance of our work.
What are your career aspirations for the future?
As for my career aspirations, I envision myself becoming an NRF-rated researcher, making impactful contributions to the realm of microbial OMICS research. Over the years, I have nurtured a deep passion for research and honed my skills to handle large biological data through computational biology. These skills have prepared me to embark on projects that marry molecular biology and bioinformatics, unveiling vast future possibilities.
In addition to this, I believe in the power of community outreach and science communication. I aspire to take the knowledge and insights gained from my work and make them accessible to the broader public. By translating complex scientific concepts into language everyone can understand, I aim to spark interest in science, demystify the world of research, and inspire the next generation of scientists. This dual ambition – to contribute to my field at a high level and engage with the community – is what fuels my dedication and drive.
This work is licenced under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 South Africa (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 ZA) license. Please view the terms for republishing here.
Youth Month 2023: Betty Sebati
Announcement of Successful Applications for the DSI-NRF Research Development Grants for the NEXT GENERATION OF ACADEMICS PROGRAMME (nGAP) For 2023
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