The National Research Foundation (NRF) through the funding instruments, the National Equipment Programme (NEP) and National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme (NNEP) supports the acquisition, upgrade and development of state-of-the-art research equipment at universities, Science Councils (SCs), National Research Facilities (NFs), museums, and other state funded research institutions, such as the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa). However, several challenges have been encountered by the NRF in managing these funding instruments. These include:
- Access to highly specialised equipment that is not readily available at the home institution, region or country;
- Lack of specialised equipment in the country such as synchrotrons; and
- The financial burden associated with hosting workshops that focus on training technicians, operators and other users on the use of state-of-the-art equipment.
In light of the aforementioned challenges the NRF has over the past several years, funded both national and international travel costs in order to support researchers who require access to equipment that is not available at the home institution, regionally or nationally.
The objectives of the mobility grants are to:
- Support world class research;
- Enhance collaborations both nationally and internationally; and
- Support the development of scarce skills.
The mobility grants are divided into two portfolios of opportunities, namely:
- Equipment Related Travel Grants; and
- Equipment Related Training Grants.
All applicants must be a full-time staff member at a publicly funded research institution, including Universities, Science Councils, National Facilities, museums and co-operations such as Necsa. In addition, the following programme-specific criteria must be met.
Travel : Full-time registered masters and doctoral students, and post doctoral fellows at South African universities, are also eligible to apply, on condition that the supervisor or line manager supports the application and will be accountable for the conditions of the grant award.
Training: The applicant must be a grantholder to a SRIG, NEP and/or NNEP grant award and be a full-time staff member at a publicly funded research institutions.
Excluded from participating in the programmes are undergraduate and honours students. In addition, the following programme-specific exclusion criteria must be noted.
Travel: Requests for funding to support:
- Research that advances private enterprise;
- Visiting scientists;
- Conferences and/or workshops; and
- Testing the functional capability of the equipment that an applicant may procure through NEP and NNEP grants.
Training: Requests for funding to support:
- Training that addresses the institutional needs only; and
- Basic training of operators and technicians.
For further information, please consult the attached documents :