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                                         TABLE OF CONTENTS

      1   INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………                                       4

      2    BACKGROUND…………………………………………………………………..                                      4-5
2.1        Historical context: issues of redress and equity
2.2        Previous directed support for women
2.3        Previous directed support for black academics at historically white

3 NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK………………………………………………..                                       5-9
3.1  White Paper on Science and Technology
3.2  National Plan for Higher Education
3.3  National Research and Technology Audit (1996)
3.4  The Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS)
3.5  Employment Equity Act (EEA)
3.6  Role of the Thuthuka Programme

4 NATIONAL RESPONSE BY OTHER ROLE PLAYERS………………………….                                 9-11
4.1  Other Science Councils
4.2  Industrial organisations
4.3  International partners

5 NRF CONTEXT…………………………………………………………………………
5.1   Mandate
5.2   NRF Focus Areas
5.3   Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP)
5.4   Innovation Fund
5.5   Research Capacity Development (RCD) Strategy
5.5.1 Human resource development
5.5.2 Research environment
5.5.3 Research/Knowledge base

6 LESSONS FROM THE PAST…………………………………………………………
6.1  Review of RCD programmes of the FRD and CSD
6.2  Royal Society/NRF Science, Engineering and Technology Programme                 13-14
    evaluation report (1996-2001)

7 THE FUTURE……………………………………………………………………………
7.1   WiR Audit 2001                                                                 14-16
7.1.1 Recommendations for the NRF
7.1.2 Recommendations for higher education institutions (HEIs)

8     NRF's RESPONSE/STRATEGY………………………………………………………                                    16

9     VISION FOR THE THUTHUKA PROGRAMME…………………………………….                                17

10 AIM/MISSION…………………………………………………………………………….                                          17

11 STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES…………………………………………………………….                                      17-18
11.1   Envisaged outputs and outcomes of the programme.
11.1.1 Improve the qualifications of the designated research group to doctoral and
       postdoctoral levels
11.1.2 Accelerate the progression of the designated research group into the
       mainstream of national and other research support opportunities

      11/10/11                                                                               2
11.1.3 Contribute to the sustainable research capacity development of the
        designated research group and increase the number of NRF-rated
        researchers from the designated research group in research nationally and

12 CORE STRATEGIES…………………………………………………………………...                                         19-20
12.1 Quality assessment and evaluation
12.2 Partnership agreement with institutions (aimed at staff development)
12.3 Provision of leadership and promotion of overall partnerships in joint ventures
     with research organisations with the same objectives
12.4 Mentoring
12.5 Seminars and Showcasing Success
12.6 Research Capacity Development of students

13 DESCRIPTION OF SUB-PROGRAMMES……………………………………………                                       21
13.1  Researchers-in-Training (RiT)
13.2  Women-in-Research (WiR)
13.3  Research Development Initiative for Black Academics (REDIBA)

14. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS……………………………………………………………

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                                  PROGRAMME FRAMEWORK


The National Research Foundation (NRF) was established as an autonomous statutory body by
virtue of the National Research Foundation Act, No 23 of 1998. The NRF Act provided for the
consolidation of the Centre for Science Development (CSD) and the Foundation for Research
Development (FRD) to form the NRF. This came into effect on 1 April 1999.

The object of the NRF is to support and promote research through funding, human resource
development and the provision of research facilities, in order to facilitate the creation of
knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology. In doing so, it
contributes to the improvement of the quality of life of all the people of South Africa.

In order for the NRF to establish a new organisation and position itself strategically within the
National Framework, a Strategic Plan was developed with a framework that will support research
within all sciences, including health sciences in as much as this is not catered for by the Medical
Research Council (MRC). The Strategic Plan prioritises the support for women, black and young
researchers as part of research capacity development.

This document proposes a conceptual framework for a programme referred to as Thuthuka (the
Zulu word for develop or advance) , which intends to strategically position women, black and
young researchers within the research, innovation and knowledge generation arena in the country
and ensure that they are significant players within the National System of Innovation (NSI). It
attempts to paint the background and rationale for the Thuthuka Programme and presents a
strategic vision and objectives. It also includes the implementation plan for the proposed


2.1 Historical context of issues of redress and equity

In the South African context, the issues of gender and race are closely interwoven. For this
reason, it is impossible to consider gender issues without reference to race. The legislated
apartheid policies gave rise to a system which marginalised black people and women in all
sectors of education but impacted most negatively on black women. The South African
patriarchal society locates women as inferior to men and consequently, denied women and girls
equal opportunities for education and training.

Black women have suffered the most severe brunt from both the racial- and gender discrimination
due to the apartheid laws and the patriarchal social system. Therefore a programme to promote
women and black people must by its very nature, target black women as the most disadvantaged
in the South African society.

There are, of course, some overarching similarities in the experiences of women and blacks.
However, their lived realities in different institutional situations are shaped by the replication of
wider social divisions within higher education. In higher education, the apartheid imprint is evident
in the institutional history, function and culture, in the programme range, in the nature and
academic ability of students and staff, and in the locality as part of the racial and gender
geography of apartheid, institutional capacity and infrastructure.

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All these combine to shape previous institutional practices and climate principally along race and
gender lines, which directly impacted on the experiences and advancement of women and black

South Africa is attempting to redress these past imbalances through an integrated system of
education and training, which provides measures for equity and redress for women and blacks.

2.2 Previous directed support for women

The former Centre for Science Development (CSD) had a dedicated programme for women
researchers. The Women-in-Research (WiR) programme was established in 1996 as a
programme within the Research Capacity Development (RCD) directorate of the CSD. This
programme was intended to:

   Support women, especially black women, to develop and strengthen their research skills,
    mainly through two mechanisms, the award for Women-in-Research and the WiR Database
    of women researchers in the social sciences and humanities.
   Increase the number of women in postgraduate studies, academia, and research and in
    leadership positions at South African tertiary and research institutions.

This was an attempt by the CSD to redress the past gender imbalances that are so pervasive in
our society.

2.3 Previous directed support for black academics at historically white universities

In 1999, the NRF, in its commitment to equity and redress, was concerned about research
support for the development of black (African, Indian, Coloured) researchers at all historically
white universities (HWU). In an effort to address this need for support for these scientists, a
programme called Research Development Initiative for Black Academics (REDIBA) was
launched. Its aim was to support and prepare black South African researchers for positions of
scientific research leadership, thereby diversifying, strengthening and sustaining the nation‟s
science and technology capacities.

Although in the historic past of both the CSD and FRD there was no dedicated support
programme for black male researchers, these individuals participated within the normal
mainstream programmes.

It is against this background and in line with other developments within the NRF that it is now time
to develop and launch a new programme for women and black researchers at post-doctoral level
and for individual researchers at historically disadvantaged institutions at both pre-doctoral and
post-doctoral level. The new programme will build on the successes of the past and help to
establish these individuals as future role-players in the science and technology landscape
nationally and internationally by assisting them along customized growth paths. This will ultimately
enable them to become established researchers who could qualify for an NRF rating.


As a consequence of the problems that women and blacks faced in the past, the National
Government has developed a policy framework in order to address equity and redress. The
context of the national policy framework most relevant to the NRF and the Thuthuka Programme
is discussed below.

3.1 White Paper on Science and Technology

The principle of equity and redress is firmly entrenched in the White Paper, which states:

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“The principle of equity requires fair opportunities both to enter higher education programmes and
to succeed in them. Applying the principle of equity implies, on the one hand, a critical
identification of existing inequalities which are the product of policies, structures and practices
based on racial, gender, disability and other forms of discrimination or disadvantage, and on the
other a programme of transformation with a view to redress. Such transformation involves not
only abolishing all existing forms of unjust differentiation, but also measures of empowerment,
including financial support to bring about equal opportunity for individuals and institutions” (White
Paper: 1.18).

The science and technology policy of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
(DACST), is based on the concept of an NSI, which comprises a set of functioning institutions,
organisations and policies that interact in the pursuit of common social and economic goals.
These goals are:

   Promoting competitiveness and employment creation
   Enhancing the quality of life
   Developing human resources
   Working towards environmental sustainability
   Promoting an information society

In order to meet these goals, the approach focuses simultaneously on developing and maintaining
cutting-edge global competitiveness and on addressing the urgent needs of those citizens that,
because of past policies, are less able to assert themselves in the market.

3.2 National Plan for Higher Education

The National Plan for Higher Education is based on the policy framework and the goals, values
and principles that underpin that framework as outlined in the education White Paper. These are
intended to develop a higher education system that will:

   Promote equity of access and fair chances of success to all who are seeking to realise their
    potential through higher education, while eradicating all forms of unfair discrimination and
    advancing redress for past inequalities

   Meet, through well-planned and coordinated teaching, learning and research programmes,
    national development needs, including the high-skilled employment needs presented by a
    growing economy operating in a global environment

   Support a democratic ethos and a culture of human rights through educational programmes
    and practices conducive to critical discourses and creative thinking, cultural tolerance, and a
    common commitment to a humane, non-racist and non-sexist social order

   Contribute to the advancement of all forms of knowledge and scholarship, and in particular
    address the diverse problems and demands of the local, national, southern African and
    African contexts, and uphold rigorous standards of academic quality.

Changes in the demographic profile of the student body of the higher education system have
generally not been accompanied by a similar change in the staff profile. Black and women
researchers remain under-represented in academic and professional positions, especially at
senior levels.

At universities, the proportion of white academic staff in permanent posts declined only slightly
from 87 % to 80 % between 1993 and 1998, while the proportion of black staff increased from 13

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% to only 20 %. In technikons, the proportion of permanent white academic staff declined from 88
% to 72 % between 1993 and 1998, while black staff increased from 12 % to 29 %.

There are, of course, greater disparities when the figures are broken down further into levels of
appointment, with black and female appointments tapering off to unacceptable percentages at the
more senior levels. However, the Ministry of Education recognises the difficulties of changing the
staff profile in higher education and, in particular, doing so rapidly. There are three inter-related
reasons for this:

     Low numbers and proportions of black- and women postgraduate students, leading to a
      limited potential pool from which academic staff can be recruited
     Inadequate levels of financial support for postgraduate students
     The inability of higher education institutions to compete in the labour market with the public
      and private sectors in terms of salaries.

3.3 National Research and Technology Audit (1996)

This audit was one of six audits that looked at Human Resources, not just in Higher Education,
but more general in Human Resource Capacity in research.

All the universities and technikons were included in this audit to establish the size and composition
of their academic staff. Of the total group of academics employed by universities and technikons,
31 % held doctorates, 33 % master‟s degrees and another third bachelor‟s degrees (including
honours) or higher diplomas.

Forty per cent of academic staff at universities that indicated their highest qualifications possess
doctorates, approximately a third (34 %) are at masters level, while 26 % of academic staff hold a
bachelors degree (including honours) or a higher diploma.

Four per cent of Technikon academics hold doctoral degrees, nearly a third (32 %) has a master‟s
degree as their highest qualification, and 56 % have a bachelor‟s degree (including honours) or
higher diploma.

Differences between the historically black and white universities are also noticeable with regard to
the percentage of doctorates held by academic staff.
Historically black universities:

Durban-Westville            15 %
Medunsa                     11 %
Fort Hare                   28 %
Zululand                    21 %
Vista                       13 %
Transkei                    21 %
North-West                  19 %

The ratios at all the other universities vary between 41 % and 61 %.

Between 15 % and 36 % of Technikon staff holds at least a masters degree. Technikon Northern
Gauteng (12 %), Mangosuthu Technikon (10 %), Technikon North-West (8 %) and Technikon
Pretoria (78 %) are at both ends of the range.

    National Plan for Higher Education, February 2001
    National Research and Technology Audit, 1996

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The extent of racial inequality among the academic staff of higher education institutions is
noteworthy. The 1996 audit states that seventy-eight per cent of the academics whose population
group is known are white. The same trend is found at universities and technikons.

The apartheid era‟s structuring of the higher education system is still strongly reflected in the staff
composition of the various institutions. Black academic staff is still mainly employed at the
historically black universities and technikons.

The male to female ratio in the higher education system is 2:1. This applies to both universities
(63 % male) and technikons (62 % male).

3.4 The Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS)

The Ministries of Education, Labour and Arts, Culture, Science and Technology are directly
involved in the implementation of this strategy.

Equity and redress are seen as critical success factors for the HRDS in order to meet its
objectives. Black students (and specifically African students) are now in the majority at South
Africa‟s higher education institutions (HEIs). This is an improving trend, but inequalities in the
staffing of institutions still prevail, especially as it concerns women and black academic staff.

An effective HRD programme in science, engineering and technology is therefore vital to redress
this imbalance and target the women and black academic staff in order to bring equity in the

3.5 Employment Equity Act (EEA) No. 55 of 1998

The EEA prescribes the measures to be taken to create a much more equitable and
representative workforce in South Africa. Its provision could impact negatively on the Thuthuka
Programme to retain the already small numbers of women and black researchers at HEIs as they
may be in great demand in industry. Therefore Thuthuka will need to accelerate the development
of large numbers of women and black researchers to fill the void. Within the context of the Act,
designated groups which will benefit from its provisions are defined.

These groups are:

   Women
   Blacks
   People with disabilities

From here onwards the above individuals will be referred to as the designated research group.
The document assumes that disabled individuals falling in the designated research group will be
accommodated within the programme.

3.6 Role of the Thuthuka Programme

The Thuthuka Programme‟s role in the light of the above policy documents can be seen as

   Building of individual capacity of women, blacks and individuals from disadvantaged
    institutions. This will contribute directly to the skills and competencies needed for S & T

   Addressing the skewed staff distribution at Higher Education Institutions.

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   Building the pool of post-graduates in order to supply the needs of the academic labour

   Assisting in identifying, and mobilizing resources that will eliminate barriers which had an
    adverse impact on designated groups.

   Developing highly qualified researchers who in turn will be involved in the training of
    researchers from the designated group Through targeted capacity building interventions


In an attempt to redress previous policies of apartheid and to position South Africa competitively in
the global arena, a number of government sponsored initiatives, private sector and foreign
agencies have developed programmes which are intended to redress and bring equity to the
goals of the NSI. Some examples of these role players are:

4.1 Other Science Councils

Science Councils such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and MRC have developed
programmes to promote their relevant sectors through research, technology development and
transfer and to develop an appropriate science and technology base and capacity to address
current and future health and agricultural challenges while at the same time creating sustainability
and growth.

Examples of such programmes are:

   Internship Programme for Early Career South African Scientists

The internship programme matches promising early career scientists from South Africa with
mentors in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture Research Service (ARS)
Units. The programme gives interns an opportunity to obtain masters or doctorate degrees in U.S
universities co-located with or located near ARS laboratories.

The scientists from South Africa are placed in an ARS laboratory and matched with an individual
ARS scientist who serves as mentor and as research advisor/co-advisor in the intern‟s academic

   Professional Development Project

The ARC offers a limited number of successful applicants an opportunity to participate in the
Professional Development Project. The primary objective of this project is to develop capacity in
the category of young graduates through exposure to various research and development methods
and their practical application and research management in an agricultural research environment.

This project is aimed at benefiting disadvantaged communities and groups in South Africa. Such
candidates will be employed, under the guidance of a mentor (employed at the ARC), on a fixed
term contract basis to provide them with practical experience and opportunities for postgraduate
studies in appropriate disciplines.

The MRC has implemented a research development programme with one of the key roles to
facilitate the process of research capacity development at historically disadvantaged institutions
and amongst nurses and allied health professions. The process of capacity development is
supported by “grantsmanship”-training, research development grants and grants for technical
assistance and staff development.

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4.2 Industrial Organisations

One example of an industrial organisation that encourages its employees to develop their
potential through various training and development initiatives is ESKOM

The organisation supports primary, secondary and tertiary education through teacher support
programmes, community initiatives, bursaries and ongoing technical training and support

ESKOM provides bursaries and training opportunities for the following individuals, with a specific
focus on women and black people:

   Technical College training for electricians, fitters and turners, and instrument mechanics.
   Technikon training for technicians and technologists, analytical chemistry, control and
    instrumentation, computer technology, electrical and mechanical draughting, heavy current
    electrical engineering, industrial engineering and test- and telecommunications.
   University studies towards computer science, chemical engineering, electromechanical
    engineering, electronic engineering, heavy current electrical engineering, industrial
    engineering and mechanical engineering.

4.3 International Partners

A number of international organisations have been involved in initiatives to bring equity and
redress in the Higher Education Sector. Examples of these are:

   Tertiary Education Linkages Programme (TELP)
   South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD)
   German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

   The main purpose of these projects is to increase the institutional capacity of South Africa‟s
    Historically Disadvantaged Universities (HDU) and Technikons and to assist the Government
    to implement its national higher education policy.

TELP attempts to enhance or create Staff Development Centres where research training and staff
research internships will be organised to promote the development of a research culture at these
institutions. The project also envisaged making a contribution to gender equity by conducting
gender sensitivity workshops annually and establishing a Gender Mentoring Programme at each

TELP also plans to offer two annual proposal developments and grant management workshops
for staff and administrators, as well as three annual seminars focusing on proposal writing and
research, gender equity, gender analysis and grant management.

The SANPAD programme supports activities to stimulate alternative academic research in South
Africa in the field of development. In developing activities designed to build research capacity,
SANPAD aims to facilitate the further development of personal research skills, of researchers like
women and blacks, thereby enhancing the research capacity of institutions with diverse historical

The DAAD has the function of promoting international academic relations especially through the
exchange of students and teaching staff.

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They have the following relevant goals:

   Support and advancement of young international academics for the purpose of gaining future
    leaders and executives in science and culture, business and politics as partners and friends of
   Support and advancement of academic and scientific programmes in developing countries
    and in the transforming countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as a means of supporting
    their economic and democratic reform processes.

The partnership between the Thuthuka Programme and the above mentioned role players is
essential in order to contribute and create synergy in strategy and approaches in the development
of women- and black researchers. As the development of South Africa is connected to the
creation of an intellectual, academic research environment, part of the strategy of the Thuthuka
Programme will be to take cognisance of what other role players are doing with regards to
research capacity development of this designated group.


The Thuthuka Programme will operate within the context of NRF policies and contribute to
fulfilling the NRF mandate in terms of the promotion and support of research development.

5.1 Mandate

The NRF Act lists a number of functions for which the NRF is responsible. A number of these
functions relate directly and indirectly to research capacity development and to the Thuthuka
Programme. These include:

   Promoting the development of appropriate human resources and research capacity in the
    areas of science and technology,
   Allocating funds for research and promoting multidisciplinary collaboration through its
   Promoting and supporting research by awarding of contracts, grants, scholarships or
    bursaries to persons or research institutions,
   Evaluating the status and needs of research,
   Reviewing research proposals and results promoted by the NRF.

5.2 NRF Focus Areas

As part of its strategic planning, the NRF has identified the following portfolio of Focus Areas,
taking into account the macro-environment, relevant developments and the spectrum of
disciplines in the natural, social and human sciences, engineering and technology:

   Conservation and Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
   Distinct South African Research Opportunities
   Economic Growth and International Competitiveness
   Education and Challenges for Change
   Indigenous Knowledge Systems
   Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Information Society in SA
   Socio-political Impact of Globalisation: The Challenge for South Africa
   Sustainable Livelihoods: The eradication of Poverty
   Unlocking the Future: Advancing and Strengthening Strategic Knowledge

The Focus Areas represent areas of opportunity and problem areas for research. The Research
Support Agency (RSA) of the NRF will support research only within these Focus Areas. However,
the Focus Areas are considered to be dynamic and will be reviewed on a continuous basis.

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The research supported in the Thuthuka Programme must be aligned to contribute to all the
Focus Area programmes. In the long term, researchers in the Thuthuka Programme must
become sufficiently established to compete effectively in the Focus Area Programmes.

5.3 Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP)

In order to address equity and redress, THRIP has priorities in funding mechanisms for students
and staff as well as women- and black students and staff.

THRIP is a joint venture between industry, research and education institutions, and government
that was established in 1991. The programme supports the development of technology and
appropriately skilled people for industry to improve South Africa‟s global competitiveness. THRIP
performs this task by providing resources and mechanisms in support of collaborative research in
the areas of science, engineering and technology (SET).

The objectives of THRIP are:

   To contribute to the increase in the number and quality of people with appropriate
    technological skills for industry.
   To promote increased interaction among, and financial support of researchers and technology
    managers in industry, higher education and Science, Education and Technology institutes
    (SETI), with the aim of developing skills for the commercial exploitation of SET.
   To stimulate industry to increase its investment in research, technology development and
    innovation promotion.

In promoting the objectives of THRIP, the following thrusts receive high priority:

   Support for an increased number of black and female students who follow technological and
    engineering careers. This thrust relates directly to the core activities of the Thuthuka
   A focus on the promotion of technological know-how within the small, medium and micro
    enterprise sector (SMME).
   Facilitation and support of multi-company projects in which companies collaborate and share
    in the project outcomes.

5.4 Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund was established by DACST with the core mandate of raising the level of
competitiveness of the South African economic sector by promoting the commercialization of end
stage research into tangible products and services for consumption on South African and
international markets. NRF is the contracted agent which provides the management of the Fund.
The issues of equity and redress are paramount to such a programme because diverse research,
both in terms of expertise and cultural backgrounds brings the uniqueness of South Africa in the
international fore front.

The Thuthuka Programme will have strategies that will empower individual researchers to
ultimately compete successfully in programmes such as THRIP and the Innovation Fund.

5.5 Research Capacity Development (RCD) Strategy

The Thuthuka Programme is one of the NRF programmes designed to address general research
capacity, and is therefore in line with the RCD Strategy. The Strategic Plan for RCD emphasises
the outcomes of goals for the development of people, building an environment conducive to
research, underpinned by a strong research knowledge base, and finally introduces priority areas

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that will receive attention in the next five years. With this as basis, it will address the three primary
components of the system, namely:

5.5.1 Human resource development

The goal will be to develop highly skilled researchers and research students to create a
representative and internationally competitive research workforce. Specific attention will be given
to activities designed to develop the research capacity of women and black researchers and
postgraduate researchers. The Thuthuka Programme will be associated with this goal.

5.5.2 Research environment

The aim will be to build a conducive research environment capable of ensuring highly competitive
research outputs. The implementation strategies will focus on research institutions which lack an
environment conducive to research (primarily technikons and HBUs), as well as the provision of
modern research infrastructure.

5.5.3 Research/Knowledge base

The aim will be to provide a knowledge base from which priority and strategic national research
activities are underpinned and supported. Weak and nationally strategic disciplines and research
areas will be identified and appropriate interventions introduced to strengthen and develop them.

For the Thuthuka Programme to become successful, it has to integrate all the goals of RCD while
focusing on human resource development goals. Human resource development will largely
depend on a conducive research environment and a strong knowledge base.


Before discussing and proposing a new way forward, it is important to review the past experiences
of some NRF initiatives relating to research capacity development. Lessons can be learnt from
the strengths and weaknesses of previous initiatives.

6.1 Review of RCD Programmes of the FRD and CSD

Both the former CSD and FRD were involved in research capacity building in the past. With the
merger of the two organisations, a new phase was entered into and a review of the RCD activities
of both the organisations was undertaken in 1999. The review concluded that the programmes
had been effective in developing research capacity and activity and recommended that the
research capacity building initiatives should be maintained and expanded.

Lessons learned from the review are critical in informing the strategies and interventions needed
for the Thuthuka Programme. Specific recommendations included:

   Programmes negotiated with institutions should require them to make a financial commitment.
   Flexibility and responsiveness to new ideas and directions should be ensured.
   In cooperation with the institutions, a lecture relief component should be allowed within grants
    in recognition of the fact that lecture loads are very high at some institutions.
   Sustainable research capacity cannot be built in only five years and much of the fruit of the
    labour can only be seen over a period of five years.
   Each institution has to take ownership of its own research capacity development effort. It
    cannot and should not be the responsibility of the NRF or any other organisation to assume
    this responsibility alone. If the institutions are not the main drivers of their own research
    capacity development, success is unlikely to be achieved.

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     Each institution should carefully consider the nature and extent of the areas of research
      capacity development it wishes to engage in, especially those for which it requires support
      from the NRF.
     There must be sustained pressure to produce appropriate and quality research outputs.
     The development of individual research capacity is a very important component of research
      capacity development. However, as far as the NRF is concerned, it should not become an
      end in itself, but must translate into further involvement in research beyond the Ph.D. level.

The above recommendations are important in guiding the Thuthuka Programme in planning
interventions and activities.

6.2 Royal Society/NRF science, engineering and technology programme evaluation report
(1996 - 2001)

Some of the recommendations of the Royal Society/NRFscience, engineering and technology
programme evaluation report (1996 - 2001) have direct relevance for the Thuthuka Programme.
These are the following:

     It is recommended that the NRF examine mechanisms to build on the successes of the
      programme to establish a larger cohort of doctoral students. This recommendation has in
      mind the National Plan for Higher Education, and aims to address issues of equity, the
      predicted need for greater numbers of black doctoral graduates for the future demands of the
      South African economy, and the demand for highly qualified people in higher education.
     The NRF should ensure that young black scientists who are currently registered for a masters
      or doctoral degree are able to complete their studies.
     The NRF and the Academy of Science in South Africa are encouraged to examine parallel
      models such as schemes designed to identify the “brightest poor” and introduce them to the
      best laboratories in South Africa.
     Make use of international contacts through study visits, attending conferences and publishing
      work in peer reviewed journals.

7          THE FUTURE

7.1        WiR Audit 2001

Before the Thuthuka Programme was developed, the NRF conducted an audit of women
researchers across all the science domains of all research institutions. The audit was intended to
assess the needs of women researchers in the higher education sector. The outcome of this
assessment has the following findings, which relate to both the NRF and HEIs:

7.1.1 Recommendations for the NRF

The NRF should:
    Provide funds to run training workshops for those (particularly women) who need them in
      crucial areas such as report writing, qualitative research analysis and time management.

          Identify fields which need to be researched and communicate these to the research
           community (to avoid the duplication in research).

          Disseminate information about other sources of funding and the types of research that are
           most likely to be funded. Most women researchers indicated that they are financing their
           own studies and that they need more money for their research.

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          Provide more information as to the criteria used in evaluating proposals. The NRF should
           also consider whether current selection criteria place too much emphasis on track record
           and thus discriminate against junior researchers.

          Promote the development of forums in which women could present their proposals or
           papers before they are evaluated by the NRF or before they are submitted for publication.

          Do more to facilitate interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects that draw in less
           experienced researchers.

     Be actively involved in setting up linkages and networks when promoting collaborative
      research for women researchers.

     Facilitate the establishment of a mentor and supervisor database.

     Make funding available for more than two years.

     Offer assistance in completing application forms and submitting proposals before the
      closing date for applications.

     Consider the use of an awareness campaign to sensitise men and institutions to the
      difficulties that women researchers face.

7.1.2      Recommendations for HEIs

Women within institutions

   Women need to encourage other women, mentor one another and build trust between women

   Women should establish interest or reading groups to foster collaboration. Women can
    establish peer groups of women who will offer constructive criticism on each other‟s work,
    without being afraid to criticise. Women in such groups could circulate work-in-progress.
    Women can set up support groups, including through list servers.

   Women should encourage their institutions or departments to be more flexible regarding time
    and working hours.

   Women need to protect their research time. They could set aside a research day each week,
    or lobby for block teaching. Women need to learn to say "no" to administrative and other
    obstacles to their research.

   Women should demand that institutions ensure that their computer networks are up 24 hours
    every day, and that the library does not close or work shorter hours over holidays and

Institutional policies

   Women should lobby against ageist policies of institutions, which discriminate against women
    that have not followed a 'traditional' career path.

   Women should lobby for support structures, such as childcare facilities, where these are not

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   Women should lobby for funds to be made available to employ substitute lecturers so that
    they can take sabbaticals to conduct research.

 Women should lobby for mentorship (at departmental level) to be built into the evaluation of
  senior academics.

 Women must lobby their institutions to provide information regarding funding (and
  requirements for funding) for new researchers.

 Women should lobby for institutional awards for women as a way of publicising women‟s

On the basis of the above background regarding policy frameworks, other role players, NRF
context and lessons learned, the NRF proposes the Thuthuka Programme that is intended to
focus on redress and equity activities for individuals, in particular women- and black researchers
and individual researchers from HDIs at pre-doctoral and post-doctoral levels.


The NRF approved the Thuthuka Programme with the following 3 sub-programmes:

 Researchers-in-Training (RiT)
 Women-in-Research (WiR)
 Research Development Initiative for Black Academics (REDIBA)

These sub-programmes must fulfil the NRF mandate in terms of the promotion and support of
research development and research capacity building, in particular with regard to formally
disadvantaged groups and individuals, such as women, blacks and individuals at Historically
Disadvantaged Institutions. These sub programmes must assist in strategically positioning these
individuals in the research, development and innovation arena, as critical players in the NSI.

Taking research capacity development to a new level will therefore require:

   Taking into account the research capacity development activities of the past
   Useful deployment of the experience and knowledge of what has or has not worked in the
   Setting minimum criteria and benchmarks for different types and categories of RCD
    interventions to ensure quality outputs
   Establishment of partnerships and a unity of purpose in the development and implementation
    of RCD interventions at institutions
   Well-focused, goal-oriented research
   Committed researchers with sound training
   Customised interventions on the basis of individual needs
   An enabling environment that allows time to do serious research
   Infrastructure support, including space, communication facilities, scientific literature and library

The support for individuals should be seen within the bigger institutional context since for one to
benefit from Thuthuka activities, institutional support would be a prerequisite.              Clear
responsibilities for the respective institutions will be defined at a later stage.

The participants that will typically benefit from Thuthuka funding and support will be:

   WiR: women without a rating for postdoctoral research
   REDIBA: young, black researchers without a rating for postdoctoral research

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    RiT: Other researchers without a rating who fail to access funds through the proposal route
     and researchers from HDIs who are not eligible for support in the Institutional Programmes or
     Focus Areas programmes through the proposal route.
    The above individuals must be nominated by their own institutions with a demonstration of
     financial commitment.


A South African research community that is representative, equitable, competent and successful
and plays a leading role in the world of science and technology.


The Thuthuka Programme will focus its support and development activities on designated
research groups. The three sub-programmes have the integrated objectives and aims: These

    To promote the development of appropriate human resources and high level skills.
    And to develop research capacity in the natural sciences and engineering and the social
     sciences and humanities.


The strategic objectives of the programme are:

1. Improvement of the qualifications of the designated research group to doctoral and
   postdoctoral levels.
2. Accelerate the progression of the designated research group into the mainstream of
   competitive national and other research support opportunities.
3. Contribute to the sustainable research capacity development of the designated research
   group and;
4. Increase the number of NRF rated researchers from the designated research group in
   research nationally and internationally.

11.1 Envisaged outputs and outcomes of the Programme

The above objectives will be discussed below with regards to the outputs needed to achieve the
objectives and the subsequent outcomes envisaged.

11.1.1 Improvement of the qualifications of the designated research group to doctoral and post
       doctoral levels.

 Increase the number of the designated research group with a post-doctoral qualification.

 Increased number of the designated research group with a post-doctoral qualification.

11.1.2 Accelerate the progression of the designated research group into the mainstream of
       national and other research support opportunities

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   Accelerate the development of the designated research group through a continuum of support
    to become NRF rated researchers.

 Increased number of the designated research group becoming NRF rated researchers.
 Increased number of access to grants from other sources by the designated research group.

11.1.3 Contribute to the sustainable research capacity development of the designated research

 Increased commitment from institutions to develop the designated research group.
 Leverage additional research support/sources of funding and research support systems.
 Contribute to the development of a national plan for research support for the designated
   research group.
 Develop research capacity of the designated research group.
 Raise the profile of the designated research group in the research arena.
 Identify and develop partnerships with Higher Education Institutions.

 Increased investment by Institutions in the development of RCD of the designated research
 Increased level of funding and use of research support systems.
 National Plan for the research support of the designated research group.
 Increased number of the NRF rated researchers in the research nationally and internationally.
 Increased partnerships with Institutions.
 Institutional changes that will overcome barriers that face the designated research group.

The ultimate aim of the Thuthuka Programme is to increase the number of NRF rated researchers
from the designated research groups.

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           A set of core strategies will govern the functioning of the Thuthuka Programme. These

12.1 Quality assessment and evaluation

           Quality assessment and evaluation will be the driver of the overall strategy of the
           Thuthuka Programme and will be implemented in the following ways:
            Support to researchers in preparing quality applications and proposals for application
            Peer review
            Advisory committees and Partnership committees for continuous assessment and
            Final evaluation that will lead into NRF Rating.

12.2 Partnership Agreement with Institutions aimed at staff development

           For the Thuthuka Programme to succeed, it will depend on the commitment and support
           of participating institutions towards common objectives.

           As previously stated, the NRF cannot and should not assume sole responsibility for the
           development and advancement of research at institutions. The proposed approach will
           be based on agreements with each institution that chooses to participate and qualifies.
           The programme support should not replace existing institutional, government or private
           sector funding for these groups, but initiatives should complement one another in order to
           optimise available resources and accelerate the development of the designated research

           The programme should be implemented as a true partnership between the NRF and the
           participating institutions. Such a partnership would be based on agreed delineated
           responsibilities between the NRF and the institution within the framework of the RCD
           activities chosen by the institutions. NRF funding should serve a facilitative role in the
           development of research capacity at the institutions and not be the sole source of funding
           or replace the institutions' own responsibility for developing and sustaining research and
           academic capacity.

           A funding partnership with institutions is proposed for all the sub-programmes, with the
           institution funding a part of the proposed project. These funding partnerships will be
           negotiated with individual institutions.

           In order to cement the relationship between the NRF and the institutions, the Thuthuka
           Programme proposes that the NRF and the institutions enter into formal agreements with
           one another in order to optimise the resources and capacity from all the different sources.
           Such an agreement would delineate the responsibilities of the NRF and participating

12.3 Providing leadership and promoting overall partnerships and joint ventures with research
     organisations with the same objectives

           The NRF will seek to lead other organisations and funding agencies with similar
           objectives in the development of a national strategy to co-ordinate and create synergies to
           support the research needs of the designated research group. In this endeavour
           partnerships will be explored.

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12.4 Mentoring

           The NRF and the institutions will develop and support a mentoring programme. Mentoring
           has been used by many institutions as an effective way to extend the knowledge and
           skills of their academic staff and students. Mentoring in South African academic
           institutions has been taking place informally. Due to the lack of commitment from both the
           mentors and mentees, mentoring of junior academics has been happening at a snail‟s
           pace to an extent that the research expertise still resides in the „seasoned researchers‟
           that are nearing retirement.
           The NRF mentoring programme aims at responding to the above challenges through
           interaction with its grantholders who form a substantial population of South Africa‟s

12.5 Seminars and Showcasing Success

           In order to facilitate networking and profiling of Thuthuka grant-holders, thematic
           seminars will be organised each year, in collaboration with the Institutional Programmes
           and Focus Area Programmes, at which the researchers involved in a specific theme will
           be brought together to report on their research. Panel members from various Advisory
           Panels will form the basis of a group of specialists to advice on future directions within the
           specific theme.

           These seminars will be organized to ensure a smooth transition into the Focus Area
           Programmes. The managers of these programmes will be invited and encouraged to
           attend these seminars. Success stories and "stars" will be showcased through
           appropriate mechanisms and media.

12.6 Research Capacity Development of students

           To ensure that research capacity development takes place within the research projects,
           student support should be part of the package of grants. The support would be in the
           form of 'grantholder-linked' bursaries, where the grantholder is encouraged to involve
           students in the overall project. Greater participation of women and black students will be
           specifically encouraged. The grantholder will be expected to provide mentoring and
           supervision and, for this reason, it is important that the number of students per
           grantholder be carefully monitored, in accordance with the experience of the grantholder.

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     There are three sub-programmes that will inter-relate with one another. The programme
     framework can be illustrated as follows:

13.1       Researchers-in-Training (RiT)

           13.1.1 Purpose

                  To develop entry-level researchers into a level where they can participate in other
                  funding streams with established researchers on a competitive basis.

                    NB: For 2006, an exception to allow in the sub-programme White Males
                     without a PhD will be made. That is, only white males with only a Masters
                     degree as the highest qualification will be allowed to participate in RiT.

                  Please see the Thuthuka Manual for more information

13.2       Women in Research

           13.2.1 Purpose

                  The purpose of this sub-programme will be to support women researchers in the
                  advancement of their research careers, to enable them to become more
                  representative and contribute to research discourses. Please see the Thuthuka
                  Manual for more information

13.3       Research Development Initiative for Black Academics (REDIBA)

           13.3.1 Purpose

                  To prepare black South African researchers for positions of scientific and
                  academic leadership, thereby diversifying, strengthening and sustaining the
                  nation's research capabilities. Please see the Thuthuka Manual for more

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ARC                          Agricultural Research Council
ARS                          Agricultural Research Service
CSD                          Centre for Science Development
DAAD                         German Academic Exchange Service
DACST                        Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
EEA                          Employment Equity Legislation
FRD                          Foundation for Research Development
HBU                          Historically Black University
HDI                          Historically Disadvantaged Institution
HDU                          Historically Disadvantaged University
HEI                          Higher Education Institution
HRDS                         Human Resource Development Strategy
HWI                          Historically White Institutions
HWU                          Historically White University
ITC                          Information and Communication Technology
MRC                          Medical Research Council
NRF                          National Research Foundation
NSI                          National System of Innovation
RCD                          Research Capacity Development
R&D                          Research and Development
REDIBA                       Research Development Initiative for Black Academics
RiT                          Researchers-in-Training
RSA                          Research Support Agency
SANPAD                       South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives
                             in Development
SETI                         Science, Engineering and Technology
TELP                         Tertiary Education Linkages Programme
THRIP                        Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme
USAID                        United States Agency for International Development
WiR                          Women-in-Research

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