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Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme

External Funding

The NRF is pleased to announce the call for applications for post-doctoral fellowships in the following listed programmes for 2013:

·         NRF Free-standing Post-doctoral Fellowship Programme

·        NRF-Innovation Post-doctoral Fellowship Programme

·        NRF-Scarce Skills Development Fund Post-doctoral Fellowship Programme


Eligibility Criteria :

·         Fellowships are open to South African citizens for full-time research at institutions in South African and approved institutions abroad.

·         Outstanding foreign candidates that wish to pursue full-time post-doctoral research in South Africa.

·         Exceptional doctoral graduates who recently received their doctoral degrees (within the last five years) and who wish to undertake research are encouraged to apply

·         Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account the applicants' academic achievements, outputs and research potential. Publications weigh heavily in the assessment of the application and applicants are encouraged to ensure a full list of their publications is included when they complete the CV details of the application. The application can be deemed incomplete if a list of research outputs is not included

·         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 detailed motivation describing the benefits to the applicant and for advancing innovation.

·         Applicants must have obtained their previous degree in the minimum prescribed period. An exception is made for Black (African, Coloured and Indian) students who may have taken an additional year to complete their previous degree.

·         Applicants that are applying for a third round of post-doctoral support are not eligible.

·         Full- time employees of Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) are not eligible to apply.

·         All NRF fellowship awards should be help as primary funding towards the research study. 

·         Fellowships must not be held simultaneously with a fellowship from any other government or NRF source or NRF administered source.

·         Fellowship-holders are allowed to hold non- binding supplementary grants or emoluments to half the value of the NRF award or should the host university have an institutional capped value, the award can be supplemented to the university capped value for the level of study.

·         Fellowship-holders must not hold full-time salaried employment during the tenure of the award.

·         Fellowship- holders will be allowed to undertake a maximum of 12 hours of teaching, tutorials, assistance or demonstrations duties per week on average during the year of study and may be remunerated for these duties, provided that they are reimbursed at a rate not exceeding the normal institution tariff for services rendered.


All applicants, should only complete an application if they meet all the eligibility criteria of the call/ programme to be considered.

Depending on the field of study of the application, the NRF has the final decision to fund the candidate within a particular funding programme. Please refer to call documents for areas of study supported under the various programmes and programme gender and equity targets.

How to apply for funding:

  1.   Applications must be submitted through an online application process to the National Research Foundation (NRF).
  2.   Applicants can apply for the NRF Free-standing, Innovation and Scarce Skills Post-doctoral Fellowship Call for 2013 by accessing the link:
  3.  Register/ Login using your ID number and password.
  4.   Select create new application from the list of existing calls. Select the call for which you are applying to: NRF Free-standing, Innovation and Scarce Skills Post-doctoral Fellowship Call for 2013
  5. Remember to complete all sections of the application.
  6.    Please attach the necessary documents in one PDF file in the following order: ID document and certified academic transcripts, doctoral degree certificate (if available). Should you not follow the guidelines for attaching the necessary documents your application will not be considered.
  7.  Remember to submit your application on completion.
  8. Complete applications will go to the host university for verification before being forwarded to the NRF for further processing.

 Please contact Cathy Sandis at 012 420 4023 or if you have any queries or consult the NRF Funding Guide.

TWAS Fellowship Brochure; Numerous Grants & Various Deadlines
The TWAS South-South Fellowships Programme provides over 300 fellowships each year tenable in developing countries such as Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan and Thailand for scientists from developing countries. Fellowships, for various lengths of time, are available for postgraduate, postdoctoral and advanced research.

For additional information, including eligibility criteria and application forms, please consult the TWAS Brochure.

DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellowship Application Call
Deadline: Application accepted anytime at least 2 months before the intended visit to Germany.
Aim: To provide opportunities to post-doctoral researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa to conduct, under the guidance of their host institutions, cooperative research at a German university or other research institutions. The programme is designed to augment opportunities for researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Please note that short term visits for study and training purposes or for attending conferences are not eligible for sponsorship.

 Applicants have to

  • be alumni of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) within the “In-Region / In-Country Scholarship Programme”.
  • have completed their Ph.D. degree less than six years ago.
  • hold an academic position at a university or research institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • submit an invitation from a German host institution together with a research plan which must have been arranged in advance with the host researcher in Germany. (please note: DAAD does not find or introduce host institutions.)
  • be nationals of a Sub-Saharan African country.

Applications may come from all subject areas that have strong relevance to national development (excluding the humanities and fine arts).

The fellowships are tenable in any university or institution of higher education in Germany.

The awards are tenable for three up to six months and are not renewable. The scholarship must end before January 31st 2012 and cannot be deferred.

For more information and application information, please consult the
DAAD Call 2011.

The Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation for International Climate Protection Services 
Closing date: 15 December 2011
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation aims to create a network in which German and foreign experts will work together on a sustainable, international basis to combat climate change and its global consequences. Applications are requested from the fields of climate protection and resource conservation in academia, business or administration.
In addition to applicants who have been trained in the natural and engineering sciences, candidates who have been engaged in legal, economic and societal issues relating to climate change are encouraged to apply for this programme.

Visit Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation - International Climate Protection Fellowship for application package and further information.

Patrick & Margeret Flanagan Scholarship 2012
Closing date: 15 August 2011

Eligibility: Postgraduate women with a first class (75% and higher) academic record and outstanding personal qualities, preference being given to applicants of South African descent, regardless of race creed or colour, who are English speaking (in the sense that either home language is English, or that they have a real love and affection for the language).
Period: Two years of full-time study.
Tenable: At any university or tertiary institution abroad, but preferably Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews or Trinity College (Dublin).
Value: Up to R300 000 per annum for two years to assist with the costs of travel, tuition fees, residence fees, book allowance, pocket money, etc.

Application procedure: Submit via email to ,
a covering letter of motivation, detailed ACADEMIC CV (including email contact details of three ACADEMIC referees , one of which must be a Head of Department), a full certified academic transcript and a certified ID copy. Ensure that a working email address is provided with your CV for correspondence purposes. There is NO application form until the short-listing stage. Incomplete and late applications will NOT be considered.