NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Graduate Students from Africa and Beyond

NRF Freestanding Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Course(s) Offered: Science, Engineering, Technology, Social sciences, Humanities
Course Level: Graduate (postdoctoral)
Provider: National Research Foundation (NRF)
Country to Study in: Any country (South Africa, Abroad)

Scholarship Description
The National Research Foundation Freestanding fellowships were introduced as a means of contributing towards human resource development by providing postdoctoral research fellowships, based on merit and potential.

The fellowships are intended to support candidates who would like to pursue postdoctoral research training in all areas of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), in South Africa and abroad.

National Research Foundation Freestanding Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

The following eligibility criteria apply:
  • Applicants must have completed the doctoral degrees within the last five years;
  • Fellowships are open to South African citizens and permanent residents who would like to undertake research at public research institutions in South Africa and at institutions abroad;
  • Outstanding international candidates from outside South Africa, who wish to undertake postdoctoral research in South Africa are eligible for support;
  • Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account the applicants' academic achievements, outputs and research potential.
  • Fellowship will preferably not be granted to an individual in the same university department immediately after completion of a doctoral degree at that institution.
    Special consideration will be given to applicants where the individual’s research training and outputs may be enhanced by continuing with postdoctoral research at the same institution or under the same mentor. In such instances the applicant must provide a strong motivation describing the benefits to the applicant and for advancing innovation.
The following should be noted carefully:
  • Applicants who are applying for a third cycle of postdoctoral research support are not eligible.
  • Full- time employees of Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) are not eligible to apply.
  • All NRF fellowship awards should be held as primary funding towards the research study.
  • Fellowships must not be held simultaneously with a fellowship from any other government or NRF administered source.
  • Beneficiaries are allowed to hold non-binding supplementary grants or emoluments to the institutional capped value.
  • Beneficiaries must not hold full-time salaried employment during the tenure of the fellowship.
  • All beneficiaries will be allowed to undertake a maximum of 12 hours of teaching, tutorials, assistance or demonstrations duties per week on average, and may be remunerated for these duties, provided that they are reimbursed at a rate not exceeding the normal institutional tariff for services rendered.
Eligible groups
Citizens of ALL countries may apply (Including South Africans)

Participating Institutions
All accredited public research institutions in South Africa and at institutions abroad

Fields of study
Postdoctoral research level studies in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities

Number of awards
Not specified by the provider/sponsor

Sponsorship duration
Throughout duration of the programme

Scholarship benefits
For the 2014 academic year, the value of fellowship will be as follows:
  • Stipend - 150 000 Rands (Per annum)
  • International travel grant - 45 000 Rands (Maximum allowed during the funding period)
  • Local travel grant - 15 000 Rands (Maximum allowed per annum, based on need)
  • Institutional contribution - 15 000 Rands (Per annum)
Method of Application
Applications must be submitted through an online application process to the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Please note the following carefully:
  • Applicants must apply for the NRF Free-standing Postdoctoral Fellowship Call for 2014 by accessing the link: 
  • Register/Login using your ID number and password.
  • Select create new application from the list of existing calls.
  • Select the call for which you are applying to: NRF Free-standing Postdoctoral Fellowship Call for 2014
  • Remember to complete all sections of the application form
  • Please attach the necessary douments in one PDF file in the following order: ID document, certified academic transcripts and doctoral degree certificate (if available).
  • Remember to submit your application on completion.
  • Complete applications will be sent to the host university, for verification, before being forwarded to the NRF for further processing.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered
It is important to carefully read the "NRF Freestanding Postdoctoral Fellowships Call for Applications for Funding in 2014" AND also to visit ths official website (link to it is below for detailed information on this fellowship.

The Internal closing date for submitting applications is 31 August 2013

In allocating fellowship funds, priority will be given to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) disciplines. The percentage of fellowships towards the SET domain will be between 70 – 80%; and 20 – 30% for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH).

Please contact Ms Bongiwe Ndamane of the Postgraduate Centre and Funding office on:
021-650 3926 or

Application Deadline: 31 August 2013
Open for International Applicants: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: List of Scholarships in South Africa for Students

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