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
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2023 iThemba Labs Physics Summer School Call for Applications
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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.
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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.
Ms Lindiwe Mahlangu is a PhD Candidate in Agriculture at the University of South Africa (UNISA). She received funding from the NRF for her final-year BTech and Master’s studies.
How did your journey start?
My parents have three daughters, and I am the firstborn.
I grew Limpopo, Sehlakwane, where there are subsistence and small-scale farming activities in the community. The activities were not sustainable and did not generate any income. The community would experience extensive crop rot, growth failure, and insect infestation. This caused low quality and quantity of the crops produced. Some of these problems were solved using indigenous methods but at times the methods would fail or new problems would be introduced that farmers had never experienced. Consequently, this caused crop loss. The community would call it “a bad year for farming.” This is where I saw there need to study sustainable agriculture.
When I was studying for a Bachelor of Technology in Agriculture: Crop Production as an undergraduate at the Tshwane University of Technology, I got to understand the science behind farming, particularly crop protection. It is where I had an epiphany that the farming problems faced by my community were not just “a bad year of farming” but problems faced by the agriculture sector – problems that require ongoing research and a transfer of knowledge.
When I was doing my internship with the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, I was assigned to a tomato farm where I realised that insect infestation is a great concern for farmers. This further encouraged my interest in crop protection. Hence, I am a PhD candidate in Agriculture at UNISA (where I also completed my Master’s at UNISA), investigating the impact of biotic factors on crops, in a quest to find solutions.
How has your affiliation with the NRF impacted your studies/career?
I studied for my undergraduate qualification using NSFAS, but since NSFAS only pays for one qualification, you must pay from your own pocket if you wish to study further. I was lucky to receive the NRF scholarship after my undergraduate studies. My hard work awarded me two National Research Foundation scholarships. If it was not for NRF, I don’t think I would have studied further. I am not currently funded for my PhD but hope to be funded next year.
Did you have to overcome any obstacles to be where you are today, and what did you learn from it?
As a first-year student, I struggled with some of my studies and the transition from being a high school learner to a university student. It is because of that struggle that I joined the university mentorship program as a mentor the following year. I did not wish for other first-year students to face the challenges I endured. I became a ‘Mentor of the Year’ and inspired my mentees to become mentors as well.
What is your research focus on/what is your area of expertise?
My research is based on the interaction between biotic factors (pathogens and pests) and plants and how to better develop effective control, especially for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM lies in the combination of different pest control strategies in monitoring the pest. It recognises resistant cultivars and modifies cultural, mechanical, and biological control. Understanding the life cycle of the pest and their host plants provides a basis for successful design for the implantation of the IPM strategy. I want to understand (1) the changes that occur when plants are under the stress of insect infestation; (2) how the damage inflicted on the plants can be minimised once insect infestation has occurred; and (3) work towards improving the plants to withstand stressful conditions. This can be achieved by researching plant and insect interactions and agricultural genomics of many plant cultivars.
How can your work/studies advance knowledge, transform lives, and inspire a nation?
Insect pests such as the tomato leaf miner is not only a problem in South Africa but a worldwide concern. Therefore, my research will not only benefit South Africa but will solve a global problem. I want to acquire knowledge in genomic sequencing for sustainable agriculture and food security. The research will help facilitate the IPM approach and, therefore, address food problems and improve productivity and suitability.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
I thought my proudest moment was when I graduated in 2014 as the first graduate in my family from both maternal and paternal sides, or when I got my MSc, or when I published my first article. However, I never felt so proud as when a mentee texted me: “Hi Lindiwe, I passed my final year and I got a job. I want to send you a token of appreciation for helping me with university and NSFAS applications when I had no one to help me.”
What are your career aspirations for the future?
My goal is to become an agricultural academic who is not only good on paper but who can attain research that will bring solutions to Africa, particularly, my country South Africa. I am constantly looking for opportunities that will enhance my research skills and alleviate one of my objectives of being an academic researcher. The opportunity will shape me into a graduate that has-depth of knowledge the ongoing crisis faced by the agricultural sector. The knowledge I ought to gain in my PhD I hope will make me a high-quality researcher that will have valued opinions about the top research conducted in the country. Furthermore, it will give me a competitive advantage in international science and technology development
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