The call for 2023 funding has closed and the full budget allocated.
The call for funding in 2024 will open in September 2023.


Support for high-level skills development is important for accelerating South Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy. The first few years following the completion of a doctoral qualification are critical to the establishment of a successful research career. It is during this early career phase that the skills and knowledge developed through postgraduate training are entrenched. Dedicated support for emerging researchers is a prerequisite for promoting and accelerating their career progression to becoming leading international scholars. Nelson Mandela University aspires to increase the number of postdoctoral and research fellows as part of its strategic focus on building and strengthening the profiles of researchers who are emerging.

The Nelson Mandela University postdoctoral and research fellowships are intended to fund doctoral graduates and researchers, with the long-term view of renewing and replenishing the leading international researcher cohort to sustain the enterprise. For this framework, postdoctoral fellows are doctoral graduates who will enhance their post-PhD research training during the fellowship. Research fellows are emerging researchers who have completed a postdoctoral fellowship or have formal relevant research experience aligned to Nelson Mandela University’s institutional research themes.

The applications for postdoctoral or research fellowships must be submitted by the host researcher who must be a permanent member of staff, Emeritus Professor or Research Associate of the University, with a proven research track record in the specific area of the prospective postdoctoral or research fellow. The Postdoctoral and Research Fellowships Framework document should be read in conjunction with the Postdoctoral and Research Fellowships Policy (IRC 402.09) (Kindly note that this policy is only available to staff and students of Nelson Mandela University).


Eligibility Criteria:

The eligibility criteria applicable to host researchers, postdoctoral fellows and research fellows are outlined in the Call Framework Document.


Application Process:

Senior researchers who wish to host postdoctoral or research fellows are invited to send the completed application form (to be updated for the 2024 call for funding) and accompanying documents to Ms Welma van Heerden (

The following attachments should be submitted with the application:

  • Host researcher’s CV
  • CV of prospective fellow
  • Host letter of support indicating that the necessary research infrastructure, resources and funds for undertaking the research and supporting the fellow exists within their faculty/school/department
  • Two letters of reference for the prospective fellow
  • Certified copy of fellow’s ID/passport
  • Certified copy of the fellow’s doctoral qualification. For those awaiting graduation, an institutional letter stating that the requirements for the doctoral qualification have been fulfilled. Doctoral candidates awaiting the outcome of their thesis examination must attach a letter from their current institution confirming that their doctoral thesis is under examination.


Contact Details:

All queries may be directed to Ms Welma van Heerden (

2023 Funding:

  • The call for funding in 2023 has closed.

2024 Funding:

  • The call for funding in 2024 open September 2023.