The New Generation of Academics Programme

The nGAP (New Generation of Academics Programme) programme is a Department of Higher Education (DHET) initiative, which began in 2016 through the University Capacity Development Programme at Nelson Mandela University.

DHET’s objective is to build a new generation of South African academics in order to transform the Higher Education Sector. This involves the "recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics, against carefully designed and balanced equity considerations and in light of the disciplinary areas of greatest need”

The young talented high potential academics are supported by a structured nGAP programme and the resourcing, mentoring and a development programme enabled by the Nelson Mandela University to fast-track their development. The objective of the programme is to complete their doctorate degree within the six year programme period. Nelson Mandela University have adopted a holistic approach by balancing both professional academic development with personal growth thereby equipping them to be confident academics that have also engaged in a personal journey of growth and enrichment during the nGAP Programme.

These lecturers are appointed as permanent academics in positions that are funded partially by DHET. The positions are allocated by DHET and are advertised annually by both DHET and Nelson Mandela University. Selection for the posts takes place by way of the Nelson Mandela University recruitment process whereby a representative recruitment panel makes the selection.

In addition to the criteria specified by the University, applicants must meet the following:

  • show an interest in a career in academia;
  • be 40 years or younger;
  • have obtained an average of 70% in their Masters;
  • be willing to commit to the full 6 years of the programme at Nelson Mandela University.

Performance contracts are put in place between the appointed nGAP academics and the University that clearly lays out roles and responsibilities, obligations and expectations. 

Support to nGap scholars includes:

  • Reduced workload committments enabling the scholar to focus on their research and the completion of their doctorate;
  • Funding;
  • Administrative support;
  • Academic mentoring (including two writing retreats per year);
  • Assistance with a development plan in which objectives are set and development needs are identified for a two-year period. 

There are currently 14 nGAP scholars at Nelson Mandela University; 3 each in Science, Education and Humanities, 2 in EBEIT and 1 each in Health Sciences, Law and the Business School.  

The table below shows the structured developmental aspects to be covered by the nGAP scholars during the six-year programme.

Financial support provided by the DHET covers the following:

  • Salary costs;
  • Registration and tuition fees;
  • Mentoring costs;
  • Participation in the SSAU (Staffing South Africa's Universities) Development Programme (teaching and research development);
  • Infrastructure and equipment, 
  • Conference/international mobility.

At Nelson Mandela University, the aim is to foster a synergy and cohesiveness amongst the nGAP scholars and build a dynamic talent pipeline who will lead the University in the future. 



nGAP news:


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