South Africa’s Minister for Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, has approved the release of R798 million to the National Research Foundation (NRF) for human resource development for the next three years. A move intended to strengthen South Africa’s postgraduate training, research and innovation, and to improve the country’s global competitiveness.
The funds will provide funding for two centres of excellence that were previously not fully funded, as well as for the establishment of six new centres of excellence. The allocation will also enhance funding for postgraduate students by improving the per capita bursary values and increasing the number of funded students, thus boosting the postgraduate pipeline retention in scarce and critical knowledge areas.
New-generation researchers, emerging researchers and established researchers, have been identified as key components of the human capital pipeline and will invest heavily in the development of human capital in each sector. New-generation researchers are set to get R450 million, while emerging researchers will get R196 million and postgraduate bursaries are allocated R340 million
The Department of Science and Technology has supported the placement of an average of 250 graduate interns annually. Research career advancement fellowships will be offered to senior post-doctoral fellows, who will be groomed for eventual research leadership positions and as potential candidates for the South African Research Chairs Initiative.
The targets for allocation will be 50% women and 80% black individuals to bring about transformation in scientific leadership.