The Conference Travel Fund (CTF) is managed by the Office of Research Development and enabled by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) through the University Capacity Development Grant. It is intended to supplement funding obtained from other sources and provides financial support to emerging researchers who are planning to deliver oral presentations at conferences aligned with their masters, doctoral or post-PhD research.


  • Build and strengthen research profiles of early- and mid-career researchers
  • Promote opportunities for collaboration and networking

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants must be emerging researchers with academic, administrative or joint academic and administrative professional appointments at Nelson Mandela University. In general, this includes Professional, Administrative and Support Services (PASS) members of staff who are pursuing masters and doctoral degrees.
  • Newly appointed emerging researchers must be in their first or second year of appointment.
  • Applicants must be in the final stages of their masters or doctoral degrees to be eligible.
  • Applicants must have an abstract accepted for oral or poster presentation at the conference.
  • Professional, Administrative and Support Services (PASS) members of staff are eligible to apply for CTF.

Ineligible Applicants for Internal Research Grants:

  • Researchers who received or hold a valid NRF A, B, C, Y or P rating.
  • New Generation Academics Programme (nGAP) academics who are in their first and second year of appointment are excluded from applying. They should apply instead for the DSI-NRF Research Development Grant.
  • Applications from postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and lab technicians or similar will not be accepted
  • These grants may not be held concurrently with grants than provide funding for lecturer replacement such us the NRF-funded Black Academics Advancement Programme.

Application Process:

  • Please download and complete the application form on this page.
  • All relevant sections must be completed, duly authorised and submitted via email to Ms Jadine Januarie along with supporting documents.
  • This call has no closing date, applications received will be reviewed each month and outcomes communicated to applicants.

Award and Period of funding:

  • The CTF will contribute towards the cost of local and international conferences and is capped at R40,000. The grant should be expensed in the academic year in which it is awarded. No carry-over of unspent funds will be permitted, and the funding is not transferable to another grantholder. the grant covers:
    • Conference registration fees.
    • Accommodation – cost of room in hotel, motel, or conference centre and related taxes. Charges for television, phones, movies or other services will not be reimbursed.
    • Travel – by public carrier (i.e. flight, train or bus) or use of a personal vehicle will be reimbursed in accordance with Nelson Mandela University policy at a rate no greater than the applicable per diem rate. Carpooling is encouraged where Covid-19 safety protocols can be applied.
  • Items that are not funded by the CTF are as follows:
    • Expenses related to personal days, or travel occurring before, during, or after a conference attendance that are not in directly connected to the conference.

Conditions of the award:

  • Awards are only made if a paper is being presented. Attendance for professional development reasons without presenting is not supported.
  • The research being presented must adhere to all university requirements, including policies related to the ethical conduct of research, the protection of human participants, and the use of animals in research.
  • Eligible researchers should apply well in advance, as awards will not be made for conferences retrospective to the application submission deadline unless proof can be provided that the conference call was made after the CTF application deadline.
  • It is NOT a requirement for the abstract to be accepted for presentation by the conference travel application submission date. Should the acceptance of the paper, including proof of registration not be available at the time of submission of the application, then a provisional award may be made pending the receipt of the paper’s acceptance.
  • Applicants may apply for one national conference per degree programme. Completing doctoral candidates may apply for one international conference just prior or post submission for examination. Those in the post-PhD category may be eligible to apply for one international conference once every two years. However, subject to this, applicants cannot apply for both a national and an international conference in the same year. Preference will be given to national conference attendance due to budget constraints.
  • All funding from other sources must be reported to the Office of Research Development and the total funds received by the applicant shall not exceed the total expenses.
  • The award must be taken up within the financial year in which it is awarded. Should funds not be utilised in the year of award, the applicant is required to contact the Office of Research Development as such funds will need to be returned for reallocation.
  • Successful applicants agree to post-grant reporting requirements. You are required to submit a report to the Office of Research Development within 30 days after the conference.
  • Please note: The CTF should not be the primary source of funding for the applicant, as the CTF is unable to fund 100% of eligible costs.

Documents to be submitted with the application:

  • Abstract/ summary of paper(s)/poster(s) to be presented and proof of acceptance
  • Conference details (e.g. where, when and who the organisers are)
  • Quotations for provisional budget must come from an official Nelson Mandela University appointed travel agent (e.g. Rennies)
  • Proof of invitation for research visit and itinerary (if applicable)
  • Relevant supplementary information


  • Successful applicants agree to post-grant reporting requirements and will be required to provide proof of progress in terms of envisaged outputs. Recipients of the CTF are required to submit a report to the Office of Research Development within 30 days after the conference.


IMPORTANT: The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPI Act) has been promulgated and implemented on 1 July 2020. All personal identifiable information provided by applicants shall be treated in accordance with this statute and only used for academic and academic administration purposes, as indicated by the Nelson Mandela University Privacy Policy. By applying, emerging researchers provide consent for use of all their personal identifiable information provided to the university for the aforesaid purposes.


This grant is enabled by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) through the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG)


Contact information
Ms Jadine Januarie
Research Development Administrator
Tel: 041 504 2027

Office of Research Development

Application Form