The REIF, funded by the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) is funding made available to a Nelson Mandela University established academic in collaboration with an early career academic staff member. The purpose of the fund is to stimulate and grow a culture of mentorship between established and early career academics, within a joint research project with clearly articulated roles. Mentoring as a capacity development initiative is important in order to produce high quality, research/engagement and innovation accredited outputs. Applications will be welcomed in the following areas which focus on the following priorities: 


  • Research: Mandela University has identified six institutional research themes around which the university plans its core business of teaching and learning, research and community involvement, and has already established clear strengths within these areas:
  1. Ocean and Coastal Sciences
  2. Social justice and Democracy
  3. Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Livelihoods
  4. Innovation and the Digital Economy
  5. Origins, Culture, Heritage and Memory
  6. Humanising Pedagogies
  • Engagement: Mandela University defines engagement as a reciprocal process of mutual sharing of knowledge, skills and resources between the university and the broader community (both internal and external) to enrich scholarship, research and creative activity; enhance teaching and learning; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; contribute to public good and transformation and to enhance social, economic and ecological sustainability.
  • Innovation: Mandela University, as a dynamic African University, is committed to excellence and innovation, and fostering a pioneering and inventive spirit among our students and scholars. It is a University that acts as a social laboratory for experimentation, innovation and creativity to find answers to epic challenges facing society and the economy today.



  • Applications must involve an established academic (as the lead researcher) and an early career academic (as the co-researcher), who wish to pursue a joint research project, with clearly articulated roles and responsibilities. Persons who are located at other universities or who do not hold appointments in eligible categories at Mandela University will not be considered.
  • The lead researcher for the grant project must be an established academic with demonstrated expertise in research.
  • The co-researcher must be an early career academic researcher: typically, individuals who are within six years of their first academic appointment (either at Mandela University or another institution), and/or currently working on, or recently completed, a doctorate.
  • Research which will significantly contribute to developing capacity - the proposed research must clearly outline how the joint project will contribute to the mentoring of the early career academic - in order for them to develop themselves and their research up to a point where they can leverage external funding.  
  • Applicants are required to provide details on how the research project will advance the approved Institutional Research Themes.
  • How well the project relates to a specific research focus or research area of expertise of the academics involved. 
  • Applicants must include a detailed and well-motivated budget breakdown - justification for the costs required to develop, deliver and evaluate the project.
  • The plans for reflection and evaluation of the project. 
  • Envisaged research or engagement or innovation and DHET accredited outputs must be clearly defined (such as articles, peer-reviewed books/chapters in books or published conference proceedings). 
  • The Review Committee also expects that the lead researcher will ensure that the contribution of the early career academic to a project is appropriately recognised and credited in the project outputs, and that the early career academic has opportunities to give presentations and papers about the research in which they are involved.
  • Research Development support will be provided for personnel directly participating in the project (e.g. research capacity development workshops, writing retreats, grant proposal writing workshops etc.). 
  • Research projects must be completed within 12-24 months, from the award date. 
  • Successful applicants are required to submit annual progress reports, which will be required in 6 month intervals, providing evidence of expenditure and progress made towards meeting the aims and objectives of the project plan.  
  • Applicants must inform the Office of Research Development (RD) office of any changes to the application as soon as possible. If the applicant receives any extra funding towards the activity outlined in the Grant application, whether before any award of funds or during the Grant, RD must be notified.
  • During the term of the Grant, RD reserves the right to reclaim any unspent funds under any circumstances.



  • All funding calls are advertised via MEMO.
  • The basis of the application is a funding proposal/research project plan which should give the Review Committee sufficient information to decide whether the project is feasible and whether it will make a contribution to the Mandela University’s Research and Innovation Strategy.
  • Applicants need to develop a research proposal/research plan with clear outcomes to be considered for a REIF allocation and the research plan should match the project aims/objectives to specific activities and outputs.
  • Interested applicants should complete the attached application form in typescript – all relevant sections must be completed and the relevant supporting documentation attached. Only applications signed by all the relevant role-players will be considered.
  • Completed applications and accompanying documentation need to be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to Ms Jadine Januarie via email at by the closing date.
  • Applications will follow a review process and applicants will be informed of the outcome of the review process.
  • Incomplete, hand-written, and late applications cannot be screened and will thus be excluded.



Successful applications will be funded on the basis of a specific budget request detailing research-related costs. Budget requests that are not well-motivated according to the requirements of the REIF will not be approved for funding.

Allocations will be limited to a maximum of R 100 000.00. Please Note: All allocations will be awarded at the discretion of the Review Committee and budget limitations.



REIF is intended to contribute to the direct costs of establishing and operating your collaboration, (i.e. costs directly related to implementing activities contained in the proposal). Funding may be requested in the following broad areas:




Human Resources costs

  • Research or student assistance for personnel working directly on the grant-funded project (this is meant for the running of specific research activities and is not meant to fund bursaries or the research of a student). RD encourages student assistantships for the purpose of supporting research activities and as a vehicle for motivating senior undergrad students to pursue postgrad studies.

Other research-related costs

  • Essential research equipment for use on the project. Please note a maximum of 50% of the REIF award may be spent on equipment. 
  • Consumables must be expressly motivated as part of the project running costs.  

Operational costs

  • Travel and subsistence costs - for data collection.
  • Costs of meetings, training events and seminars integral to the collaboration.
  • Basic catering costs associated with events or meetings directly related to the collaboration.


Note: Budget requests and motivations that are NOT consistent with the permissible funding categories will NOT be considered in the funding decision process.



Items that are not funded by the REIF are as follows:

  • Indirect costs (overheads);
  • Bursaries or registration costs for emerging researchers who may be working on a Doctoral degree (seek HR assistance in this regard);
  • Bursaries or scholarships for postgraduate students;
  • Teaching replacement (this category is covered through the Teaching Relief Grant - TRG);
  • Conference travel (this category is covered through the Conference Travel Grant - CTF);
  • Basic office equipment (desks, chairs, filing cabinets, photocopiers, printers);
  • General stationary, photocopying and printing costs (If you include stationery items and printing costs in the budget section these should not include standard items but specifically printing of questionnaires and direct research-related costs);
  • Telephone, fax and internet costs;
  • All ICT equipment (personal laptops, computer hardware, and purchase or renewal of software licenses) is excluded, unless for specialised equipment and software licences expressly motivated as part of the project running costs.  
  • Professional society memberships, journal subscriptions (unless strongly motivated where the journal cannot be sourced by Nelson Mandela University or via partner institutions);
  • Publication Fees (this can be applied for through the Department of Research Support and Management);
  • Books, unless well motivated and supported for specific purpose. Please note that any book purchases are to be made through the Library as per policy, they will then be bar coded and placed on permanent loan to you;
  • Any funding line that is listed as: “miscellaneous”, “other” or “etc.”