How to Apply for Thuthuka Funding

How to Apply for Thuthuka Funding

Apply for funding

  • Find the Thuthuka call for proposals on the main NRF website. The call is posted annually, usually between March and May, and left open for a limited amount of time. Note that no application received outside the time period specified as the window for project submission will be considered for funding.
  • An accompanying guideline document will asist applicants with completion and submission of applications. Note that application is done electronically and as such will require registering as a user on the NRF Online System. This may be done at any time, even in the absence of a call, by following this NRF Online site.
  • All applications must be approved by the submitting institution. Applicants will be invited to apply for funding in one of three tracks:
    • PhD Track: for applicants, wanting to obtain a PhD within the funding period;
    • Post-PhD Track: for applicants wanting to become established researchers, strengthening their research capabilities; and
    • NRF Rating Track: for applicants wanting to obtain a NRF rating within the six-year funding period.



General Criteria:


    • Must be South African citizens;
    • Are not allowed to participate in more than one track simultaneously;
    • Cannot hold multiple (other) NRF grants; and
    • Cannot re-apply for funding within a track where they have received funding before

PhD track:

The applicant must:

    • Hold a master’s degree in the natural sciences, social sciences, economic sciences or humanities;
    • Be a South African citizen;
    • Provide proof of a commitment from the institution in which the institution pledges to allow for time off for research leave - relieve of teaching duties to conduct fieldwork/research; and
    • Submit an endorsement from a nominated supervisor supporting the proposed doctoral work to be undertaken.

Post PhD track:

The applicant must:

    • Have obtained the PhD not earlier than five years prior to the date of application;
    • Support researchers from designated groups in their pursuit to attain a formal post graduate qualifications or a NRF rating;
    • Improve the research capacity of individual researchers from designated groups;
    • Foster a culture of research excellence and to aid in the development and expansion of the national knowledge-based economy by boosting research outputs and human capital development; and
    • Effect a transformation in the demographic composition of the established researcher community with respect to gender, race and persons with disabilities.