Yes, the fields of study will be aligned to the NRF strategy, in that the majority of student bursaries will be allocated in a directed manner so as to respond to national priorities, vulnerable disciplines and fields important for socio-economic development, as may be identified by the NRF from time to time.
No, the proposed gender target of 55% female is aimed at encouraging women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) not only to remain in the system, but to progress from honours up to doctoral studies.
The NRF mandate states that the objective of the foundation is to contribute to national development by supporting, promoting and advancing research and human capacity development, through funding and the provision of the necessary research infrastructure, in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development. It is for this reason that the NRF has taken a strategic decision based on its mandate not to fund: postgraduate certificates or diplomas (e.g. PGCE), professional masters (e.g. MBA) and doctoral degrees, regardless of the NQF exit level.