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Masters and Doctoral Support Programme for Designated


Masters and Doctoral Support Programme for Designated

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									Master’s and Doctoral Support Programme for Designated Research and Academic Staff
1. General Outline and Rationale The UNISA Master’s and Doctoral Support Programme (MDSP) is aimed at providing targeted support to staff members from the designated groups – Blacks, women and the disabled – who are eligible or already enrolled for Master’s and/or Doctoral degrees. Staff members who have recently obtained Doctoral degrees (in the past two years) also qualify for postdoctoral research support in this programme. The nature and extent of the support will not duplicate but will seek to enhance forms of support already available to staff within the existing university research support systems and programmes. As such it is designed to cohere and articulate with, rather than to compete with other schemes and initiatives designed to develop the potential and sharpen the skills of UNISA researchers. This programme also seeks to cater for UNISA researchers enrolled for postgraduate studies with institutions other than UNISA. The MDSP initiative is also in line with the Comprehensive Research Development Plan for developing research capacity. The overall aim of the programme is to increase the pool of staff with postgraduate degrees and in that way to increase the pool of capable researchers at UNISA. The programme is modelled on, and more importantly, designed to complement the NRF Thuthuka programme. The programme will complement the Thuthuka programme by focusing on those staff members who cannot participate in the Thuthuka programme for technical reasons such as that they do not have a Master’s degree, are above the age of 45 and are non-South African citizens. Unlike the NRF Thuthuka programme, the maximum participation age in this programme is 50 years. In this way, we will extend the net of staff eligible for support up to the age of 50 rather than 45 as it is currently the case. Beyond sheer enrolment and qualification acquisition, the programme is designed to enable the participants to acquire the requisite skills to become capable researchers and to complete their studies within reasonable time. The MDSP programme must be seen within the larger framework of the looming national crisis of a general shortage of researchers, but especially the shortage of younger researchers from the designated groups.

2. Participation Criteria In order to participate in the MDSP, participants must satisfy the following prior criteria. They should be a permanent, medium or long-term contract (minimum of three year contract) academic or PAR1 research employees of UNISA Applicants may not be older than 50 Open to all, but preference will be given to women, Blacks and the disabled Applicants should be eligible for enrolment (or already enrolled) into a Master’s or Doctoral degree programme Although preference will be given to persons pursuing Master’s and Doctoral degrees, persons who have recently qualified for a Doctoral degree (in the previous two years) will be provided with limited postdoctoral support provided they are unable to find alternative funding Applicants should be technically ineligible for Thuthuka (e.g. age, citizenship, lack of a Master’s degree) Applicants should submit high-quality research proposals and provide proof of admission within six months of submitting a research proposal. 3. Aims and Objectives of the Programme The objectives of the programme include the following: The MDSP programme will provide limited financial support for qualifying and eligible staff in their pursuit of Master’s and Doctoral degrees The MDSP programme will provide limited financial support for qualifying staff who have recently acquired a Doctoral degree The MDSP programme will facilitate the accessing of opportunities for research capacity training for staff enrolled for Master’s and Doctoral degrees as well as those who recently acquired Doctoral degrees.


Professional and administrative research staff

4. Sub-programme Categories The programme will have four categories, namely i) UNISA Women-in-Research Initiative (UWiRI), ii) Black Academics Research Development Initiative (BARDI), iii) General Academics Research Development Initiative (GARDI) and iv) Disabled Academics Research Development Initiative (DARDI). The reason for the use of subcategories is not to reinforce or recast difference. First and foremost, the intention is to comply with transformation and equity considerations. But most importantly the subcategories are meant to help us deal with transformation and equity issues in a structured manner so that resources are allocated accordingly. 4.1 UNISA Women-in-Research Initiative (UWiRI) Only women are admissible to this sub-programme. This programme is part of a larger initiative for the support and showcasing of women in research at UNISA. Other aspects of the larger programme, encompassing the activities of all women researchers will be elaborated in the document dealing specifically with this programme. The focus of this particular sub-programme of the MDSP is to provide support to women researchers already enrolled or soon-to-enrol for Master’s and Doctoral programmes. 4.2 Disabled Academics Research Development Initiative (DARDI) All disabled members of staff – with registered disabilities – are eligible to participate in this sub-programme. The sub-programme intends to cohere with other UNISA initiatives for the support of disabled members of staff. The focus of this programme is to provide support to disabled researchers already enrolled or soon-to-enrol for Master’s and Doctoral programmes. 4.3 Black Academic Research Development Initiative (BARDI) There are many reasons why UNISA’s participation in the NRF’s REDIBA programme has been minimal. One of the reasons is the sheer lack of Black academics with Master’s degrees, let alone Doctoral degrees. The other is the age factor. This subprogramme will give dedicated attention and support for Black academics. The extension of the age limit from 45 to 50 as well as the admission of persons without Master’s degrees will widen the net. 4.4 General Academic Research Development Initiative (GARDI) Strictly speaking white males do not form part of the designated groups. However, it is our conviction that there are several young white males, without postgraduate qualifications, whose participation in this programme would not be beneficial only to them, but to the institution as a whole. We believe that this would greatly improve the research capacity of the institution.

5. Funding and Provisions of the Programme 5.1 The Budget 5.1.1 The 2008 Budget A budget of R3 million has been proposed for the 2008 financial year. The budget will be split as follows: UNISA Women-in-Research – R1 000 200.00 BARDI – R1 000 000-00 GARDI – R500 000-00 DARDI – R300 000-00 The maximum amount of grant per annum for Master’s degrees should be R25 000 and R40 000 per annum for Doctoral enrolments. 5.2 Items to be funded Registration and tuition fees (provided applicant provides proof of failure to obtain other university funding) Language and technical editing (once off) Limited supervisor visits Research training (specialised training not already provided by UNISA) Administration of questionnaires Translation and editing Analysis and coding of data and/or test results Transcribing of interviews, scripts and data Field-work and laboratory-based research Fieldworker’s allowance Thesis/Dissertation binding (only in the final year) Additional items will have to be motivated and supported by the supervisor as critical. 5.3 Duration and Maximums The UNISA Master’s and Doctoral support programme will provide funding for registered staff members for a maximum of two years with respect to Master’s students and three years with respect to Doctoral students. A third year funding for a Master’s and fourthyear funding for Doctoral studies may be made available for researchers whose submission of thesis has been approved by their supervisors. The maximum amount awarded per qualification per person per year will be determined and announced annually. Both annual and overall funding limits will be set and strictly adhered to. It is not permissible to carry over funding from one year to the next. Disbursements will be made as and when requested on condition that all necessary invoices, receipts and documents are supplied. Suggested allocations per budget items will be made, but once awarded, grant

holders may apply to move and change allocated amounts around the budget items. No additional funds than those allocated per annum may be granted or utilised. 6. Outcomes and Outputs The UNISA Research Policy indicates the Doctorate as the basic tool of research. The major objective of this initiative is support for academic staff in the acquisition of their Master’s and ultimately, Doctoral degrees in record time. The attainment of either a Master’s or Doctoral degree in reasonable time2 is therefore the major and overarching outcome and output expected of all participants in the programme. This means that those enrolled for Master’s degrees will be expected to complete in two years and those enrolled for Doctoral degrees will be expected to complete in four years. Additionally, those admitted into the programme will be expected to produce at least two revised chapters of their thesis or dissertation per annum. The acceptance of an article in an accredited journal per Master’s and two articles per Doctoral participating staff member will be an additional requirement. Fourth-year funding for Doctoral candidates will be dependent on confirmation by the supervisor of readiness to submit the thesis for examination during that year. Second-year funding for Master’s students will also be dependent on confirmation by the supervisor of readiness to submit the dissertation for examination during that year. 7. Exclusions and Penalties Before and until the staff member completes her/his studies, each disbursement will be considered a loan accounted for in a dormant loan account to be created for each participating staff member. Upon completion of the Master’s or Doctoral degree, the total loan amount will be converted to a non-repayable loan. Should a staff member discontinue or fail to complete his or her Master’s or Doctoral studies, the participating staff member will be required to repay the amount that was loaned to them. 8. Administration and Direction of the Programme Applications for funding in this programme will be submitted to the Executive Deans of the Colleges. Each application should be accompanied by a research proposal that has been approved by the supervisor. The UNISA Financial Aid Bureau (FAB) in collaboration with the Research Directorate will set annual deadlines for applications. The application form, the proposal and college recommendation will be submitted to the vetting committee which will be chaired by The Executive Director: Research. The vetting committee will consist of representatives from Colleges, the Research Directorate and the


Not longer than 3 years for a Master’s and 5.5 years for a doctoral degree. These are national average completion periods.

FAB. Once approved by the vetting committee, the application for funding will be submitted to the FAB for processing and administration. The programme will be administered by the UNISA Financial Aid Bureau (FAB) and directed by the Research Directorate. An adapted version of forms fashioned from the NRF Thuthuka Programme application template will be designed and made available on the UNISA Financial Aid Bureau intranet site. The Research Directorate will also seek to ensure that all colleges participate actively in the project. Only applications of the highest scientific merit will be funded. The FAB will communicate with all applicants, administer the fund disbursements and keep a record of the loan accounts of each participating staff member. 9. Implementation Date It is envisaged that the approval processes, solicitation and integration of comments can be completed in time for the 2008 academic year – for which applications are normally open after July 2007. Application forms, based on the NRF Thuthuka template will be designed and posted on the FAB intranet website. 10. Monitoring Each College Research Committee should have proper monitoring systems for the progress of staff on the Master’s and Doctoral support programme in order to ensure that lack of progress is detected early with a view to appropriate remedial action. Executive Deans are expected to monitor the progress of grant holders within their Colleges and to include updates on progress in their quarterly progress reports to SENREC. The annual progress report (relating to the previous year) should be submitted SENREC at its first or second meeting of the year. The Financial Aid Bureau will keep a database of all grant holders, including the outcomes of the funding. Drafted by Prof TS Maluleke Executive Director: Research With input from the following: College Research Committees, PARC, SBL and ISTE Dr B.E. Zawada Dr GF Netswera Dr R. Ladzani

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