National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme (NNEP)


The National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme (NNEP) forms part of the implementation of the National Nanotechnology Strategy (NNS), which is directed at positioning South Africa as a player in this rapidly advancing area of science and technology by supporting the acquisition, upgrade or development of research equipment for the analysis and characterisation of nanomaterials.


The primary objectives of the NNEP are to:

  • Stimulate and support increased nanotechnology research by investing strategically in research equipment for the characterisation of nanomaterials in support of the NNS;
  • Build human resource capacity and infrastructure capacity in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology;
  • Promote regional, national and international research collaborations in nanoscience and nanotechnology;
  • Encourage access to equipment for research and training by postgraduate students;
  • Support the creation of new and novel devices for the application of nanotechnology in various areas; and
  • Support and strengthen the strategic objectives of the NNS.

Eligibility Criteria

Individual researchers must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have obtained a doctoral degree at least five years prior to the application to the NNEP funding instrument;
  • Be employed in a permanent position or on a full-time fixed term-appointment, for at least five years following the application to the funding instrument, at any South African public universities and public research entities such as Science Councils, National Research Facilities, research laboratories, including research hospitals and museums;
  • Have a proven track record for training postgraduate students and post-doctoral fellows as well as have experience with managing research equipment;
  • In the case where the applicant obtained his/her doctoral degree in less than five years prior to the application there must be a strong co-applicant mentoring/supporting the applicant; and
  • In the case where the applicant is approaching retirement, a successor must be identified.

The total grant value for the proposed equipment should not be less than R1 000 000.  The NRF contribution will not exceed R10 000 000 inclusive of a three-year maintenance contract with the service provider of choice. These values must be in South African Rand (ZAR) and inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT).

The Institution at which the applicant is employed must be committed to a 2:1 (NRF: Institution) funding contribution with the NRF.  However, in the case of historically disadvantaged institutions, that are under-resourced, the institutional contribution is negotiable.

** The Nanotechnology Innovation Centres based at the Council for Mineral Technologies (Mintek) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are excluded from NNEP as they receive funds directly from the Department of Science and Technology.

Applications must be endorsed by the researcher’s institution/s' designated authority.