About the Equipment Database

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has identified the need to invest in capital equipment with the aim to expand the capacity to undertake world-class research, support human capital development and promote regional and national collaborations. As such, the investment in infrastructure over the past several years, addresses the priority area, knowledge infrastructure, which has been identified in the DST’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan, and the NRF’s strategic goal to provide cutting-edge research, technology and innovation platforms.

Subsequent to the development of a National Research and Technology Infrastructure Strategy, the National Research Foundation (NRF) has recognised the development of an equipment database as a critical enabler for the effective implementation of this strategy.

This database is to play a critical role in:

  1. Informing continued investment in research equipment and platforms;
  2. Advising researchers of what equipment is available nationally;
  3. Facilitating access to multi-user equipment; and
  4. Stimulating new applications for research infrastructure.

Relevant information pertaining to state-of-the-art equipment; specialised, multi-disciplinary; and multi-user equipment acquired over the past decade through either NRF/DST funding or other public sector investment, is included in the database. 

About the Infrastructure Funding Instruments

The infrastructure funding instruments reside within the Human and Institutional Capacity Development Directorate of the Research Innovation and Support Agency business unit at the National Research Foundation (NRF).

These instruments focus on the provision of competitive grants in support of reserach infrastructure and equipment-related travel and training.  The suite of funding instruments also offers research grants in support of emerging research areas such as nanotechnology.   .

In order to deliver on the NRF’s key mandate of producing high quality doctoral graduates, the infrastructure funding instruments, within the framework of the National System of Innovation (NSI) focus on the following objectives:

  • Providing competitive grants for the acquisition, development and up-grade of enabling infrastructure including state-of-the-art research equipment and National Research Facilities,
  • Ensuring access to research equipment and facilities through equipment related travel and training grants, and 
  • Undertaking of research projects in areas such as nanotechnology.  

By addressing these objectives, the infrastructure funding instruments are able to:

  • Improve the quality of research;
  • Expand the capacity, research and training; and 
  • Promote collaborations nationally and internationally in line with national research priorities.


  • To support the development of human capital and infrastructure for advancing nanoscience and nanotechnology in the country.
  • To support the acquisition, development or up-grade to state-of-the-art research equipment and promote research collaboration.
  • To demonstrate the benefits of nanotechnology and its impact on some of the key challenges facing South Africa.
  • To facilitate access to global infrastructure for researchers and scientists.
  • To enable researchers access to research equipment, both nationally and internationally that is not available at their own research institution.
  • To make funds available to research institutions to cover the costs associated with housing state-of-the-art research equipment.