South AfricaSouth Africa

Introducing the award

The mandate of the National Research Foundation (NRF) stipulates that the organization supports and promotes research in the broadest sense.  The annual NRF Awards function recognises South African scientists for their achievements as indicated through the NRF rating system. In addition, to the rating linked awards special awards provide a platform to honour researchers for career contributions to knowledge creation and dissemination as well as capacity development and transformation in the national research system.

Awards are made annually in the following categories at the NRF Awards function:

  1. A-rated Researchers
  2. P-rated Researchers
  3. Champion of Research Capacity Development at SA HEIs *
  4. Transforming the Science Cohort *
  5. Lifetime Achiever *

*nominees in these categories may not necessarily be a researcher rated by the NRF.


The recipients of the 2012 Elsevier NRF Awards are:

P- Rated  researchers under 35 years of age

  • Archaeology - Dr. David Braun - University of Cape Town
    Scopus profile
  • Archaeology - Dr. Shadreck Chiricure - University of Cape Town
  • Law - Prof. Louis Kotze - North-West University
    Scopus profile
  • Mathematics - Dr. Amanda Weltman - University of Cape Town
    Scopus profile


The NRF was established through the National Research Foundation Act (Act No 23 of 1998), following a system-wide review conducted for the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST). The new entity incorporated the functions of the research funding agencies that were previously servicing various sections of the research community, namely the former Centre for Science Development (CSD) of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the former Foundation for Research Development (FRD) that included several National Research Facilities.

As an independent government agency, the NRF promotes and supports research in all fields of knowledge. It also conducts research and provides access to National Research Facilities. The NRF provides services to the research community especially at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Science Councils with a view to promote high-level human capital development. The NRF aims to uphold excellence in all its investments in knowledge, people and infrastructure.

Mandate of the NRF

The NRF receives its mandate from the National Research Foundation Act (Act No 23 of 1998). According to Section 3 of the Act, the object of the NRF is to:

  • promote and support research - through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary facilities in order
  • to facilitate - the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge
  • and thereby to contribute to - the improvement of the quality of life of all the people of the Republic.

Application Process

The process comprises the following steps for the identification of nominees in categories 2, 3 and 4 above.

  • A call for nominations in these categories for the NRF Awards will be announced
  • The NRF will advertise the call through the Designated Authorities (DAs) at Department of Science and Technology recognised research institutions and will also advise DAs of the closing date for nominations
  • Institutions will be requested to identify no more than one nominee per category
  • An appropriate internal nomination and screening process should be employed by the institution
  • Written motivations on the template provided for the different categories as well as the curriculum vitae (CV) of the applicant, should be included with each nomination and submitted to the NRF

NRF Advisory Committee


  • Executive Evaluation Committee

Terms of reference

  • To evaluate the nominations from each category against set criteria;
  • Identify nominee(s) in each category; and
  • Refer the nominees and recommendations to the NRF CEO for a final decision.


The following Knowledge Management & Evaluation staff members are involved with nominations for the NRF Awardees:


Dr Daisy Selematsela

Executive Director: Knowledge Management & Evaluation


Ms Joyce Olivier

Manager: Monitoring & Evaluation

012 481 4106

Mrs Diane Monteiro

Professional Officer: Monitoring & Evaluation

012 481 4033