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NRF-funded postgraduate study opportunities now open for 2023

The National Research Foundation (NRF) on Friday announced the implementation of its Global Knowledge Partnerships (GKP) programme for the 2023 academic year.
Image source: Dejan Bozic –
Image source: Dejan Bozic – 123RF.com

The programme places exceptional doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers (ECRs) that are funded by the NRF at several international universities and research institutions.

The pool of these partner institutions is spread across various countries including Germany, Austria, the United States, Japan, Singapore, Canada, and universities across Africa.

The programme is aimed at accelerating the development of a diverse young researcher cohort into world-renowned experts and a globally competitive workforce.

This is done through the provision of platforms and pathways that offer opportunities for outstanding young researchers to access international networks, mentorship, global research funding streams, industry partnerships, and research infrastructure.

“The Global Knowledge Partnerships programme is one of the NRF’s most prominent initiatives. It is meant to ensure that the NRF achieves its goal to expose students it funds to scientific practices globally,” said acting group executive strategy, planning & partnerships, and executive director of strategic partnerships, Dr Aldo Stroebel.

According to Stroebel, international exposure for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and ECRs is an integral component of the NRF’s strategic goal to create an internationally competitive, transformed, and representative researcher cohort.

“The benefits of such exposure to the researchers and also to South Africa and Africa cannot be understated,” he added.

This NRF initiative, which was implemented in 2020, is also working with the higher education sector in South Africa.

The recipients spend between three and 12 months for doctoral students and up to 18 months for postdoctoral fellows and ECRs in universities, research performing entities, science councils and the industry abroad.


  • The applicant must be a South African citizen or permanent resident. However, this requirement will not apply to students funded under the NRF-MINDS scholarship programme.
  • Be a currently NRF-funded doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow or ECR.
  • Have a research plan developed for the time abroad, which is signed by the South African supervisor and international host supervisor.
  • Produce evidence of demonstrated leadership abilities or potential guided by the questions or requirements set out in the application form (requirement is for NRF-MINDS programme only).
  • Applications must be submitted through the international partner’s online portal for specific programmes.
  • Meanwhile, with specific programmes, the international partner and the NRF will conduct the reviewing and selection of applications jointly.

Further details for students and their home universities are contained in the Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme Implementation Framework for the 2023 academic year, which is accessible on the NRF website.


SAnews.gov.za is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). SAnews.gov.za (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.

Go to: http://www.sanews.gov.za

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