Research Niche Areas Frequently Asked Questions

1 What is the Institutional Capacity Development Programme (ICDP)?

The ICD research grants programme replaces the Institutional Research Development Programme (IRDP), commonly known as Research Niche Areas, which is being phased out concurrently with the implementation of the ICD. ICD research grants aims to support the development of institutional research capacity as well as the academic and professional development of researchers.

2 Who can apply for ICPP grant/funding?

South African or non-South African citizens who meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Has a masters degree and are in their final year of study towards their doctorate degree;
  • Has a doctoral degree;
  • Permanent or contract (contract has to extent for duration of project) academic staff members employed at a public higher education or research institution in possession of a masters degree who are prepared to devote three years to the initiation, development and conclusion of a single research project; and
  • Has his/her employer's commitment to co-fund the project according to ratio set by the programme.
3 Can I hold more than one grant from the ICDP within the same funding period?

No. In terms of NRF policy grant holders cannot hold multiple grants within the same programme for the same funding period.

4 Can I participate in a niche area (RNA) that is not based by my employing institution?

Yes. The ICP promote inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary research collaboration. Research collaboration between researchers at various institutions is encouraged, especially that between institutions with varied resources and capabilities to address historical imbalances between historically black and former white institutions.

5 For how long are ICDP projects funded?

Successful projects will receive funding for a minimum period of three years with the possibility of a further three years of funding depending project performance.

6 Do I need to be NRF-rated to qualify for ICDP funding?

No, however candidates are encouraged to apply for a NRF rating after being funded by NRF for research.

7 What are grantholder-linked student’s bursaries?

These are bursaries awarded to students who are directly linked to the grant holder’s NRF funded project.

8 Can I change my research project once the award has been made?

Yes. However there must be compelling reasons for this. Any new changes must have institutional endorsement and or project leader approval.

9 Can I convert my student support funding from Masters and Doctoral bursaries into post doctoral fellowship?

No. Funds reserved within grants for the four grantholder-linked student support categories may only be used for the stipulated purpose in the period of support, and are not transferable to subsequent years or to other categories.

10 Can I use my unspent student funding during the current year to fund same/new students in the following year?

No. Unspent funds allocated for nominated students may not be used for any other purpose other than stipulated but should be returned to the NRF.