NRF human capacity development

A number of funding instruments are available to established researchers. These opportunities are primarily call-based and are released according to the NRF’s schedule. For more information and to check the call deadlines please visit the Current Funding Opportunities page or contact the Research Office

Collaborative Postgraduate Training

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), through the National Research Foundation (NRF), has made significant investment towards supporting ’next generation‘ and ’emerging researchers’. The Collaborative Postgraduate Training funding instrument is a complementary funding instrument that will enable multi-institutional collaborative training of a cohort of postgraduate students in a specific scarce skill discipline or priority research area. Read more.

National Astrophysics and Space Science Science Programme (NASSP)

The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) is a multi-institutional initiative aimed at producing MSc graduates in astronomy, astrophysics and space science. The NASSP model is based on the fact that expertise in these related areas is spread thinly and unevenly in academic departments across South Africa and that a national coordinated skills development strategy is necessary to address the issue. Read more.

DST/NRF Research Professional Development Programme (PDP)

The DST-NRF research PDP aims to accelerate the development of scientists and research professionals in key research areas. The programme focuses on young researchers conducting research in science councils and national facilities. It is tailored to accelerate the development of scientists and researchers who are poised to contribute to South Africa’s innovation platforms. Read more

Sabbatical grants to complete PhD

These grants were first introduced in 2010 as ‘Improving Academic Qualifications of Academic Staff and Researchers’ to accelerate the completion of doctoral degrees in order to increase the research and supervision capacity at universities and at research institutions. Read more.


The Thuthuka funding instrument aims to develop human capital and to improve the research capacities of researchers from designated groups (black [African, Indian and Coloured], female or disabled) with the ultimate aim of redressing historical imbalances. The funding instrument does not only contribute to the NRF’s strategic goal of creating a maximum number of high-quality doctoral graduates to drive the knowledge-based economy, but also contributes to the organisation’s vision of growing a more representative science and technology workforce. Read more.