The objective of the project is for the SAMRC to increase its footprint nationally to include all strata of universities - particularly to include under resourced universities otherwise referred to as Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs).
The purpose of the RCDI grant is to provide an opportunity for funding researchers at universities and research institutions previously constrained by inadequate access to resources. The aim of the RCDI grant is to contribute and assist in accelerating the building of research capacity and scientific leadership at the selected universities. The resources of the programme allow the HDIs and researchers to improve their contribution to the generation of knowledge towards the solutions to health challenges in South Africa. Additionally, as per its objectives, the RCDI programme builds capacity by enabling the researchers to partner with the SAMRC research units and research-intensive institutions to increase the number of MSc and PhDs graduates and peer-reviewed publications.
To date, eight universities have been invited for participation under this initiative, namely: i) University of Limpopo, ii) University of Venda, iii) University of Zululand, iv) University of Fort Hare, v) Walter Sisulu University, vi) University of the Western Cape, vii) Mangosuthu University of Technology and viii) Sefako Makgatho University.
Each university is awarded one million rand per financial year for five years. To date, the programme has funded 32 Principal Investigators across all the eight universities and including 18 current PIs hosted in the eight universities.
Priority research areas: Violence and Injury, Non-Communicable Disease, Maternal and Child Health, Health Systems, Public Health Innovation, and COVID-19.
Participation by universities is advertised through request for application.
SAMRC RCDI-Nested Postdoctoral Fellowship and Postgraduate Programmes
RCDI-nested research fellowship/ scholarship is an intervention programme to accelerate the building of research capacity and scientific leadership by strengthening the research team and improving supervision experience of the RCDI- principal investigators. This will be done by creating opportunities to host and retain early career scientists that have demonstrated the potential to become established researchers.
RCDI Principal Investigators are eligible to participate in the expression of interest to host postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students. It is expected that the RCDI project will have funding for the period of the fellowship and scholarship. Selected institutions (HDIs) are: University of Fort Hare, University of Limpopo, University of Venda, University of the Western Cape, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Walter Sisulu University, and University of Zululand. Only one postdoctoral fellow and one PhD student may be nominated for one RCDI-funded project.
SAMRC RCDI-Nested Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme
Application processes include advertisement of the request for application followed by nomination by RCDI-funded PI at the HDI. Full-time employees may not hold an RCDI-PhD Scholarship.
SAMRC RCDI -Nested Scholarship Programme
The main purpose of the MCSP is to invest in promising Mid-Career Scientists to facilitate their retention in the public sector in areas of strategic interest to both the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the SAMRC. This programme aims to equip mid-career scientists in their affiliated institutions to be able to write successful grant proposals in their funded research, and to grow their research teams by mentoring postgraduate students and hosting postdoctoral fellows. The stature of the funded principal investigator must demonstrate growth that cannot be achieved without the MCSP grant.
The SAMRC President recommends specific research areas to fund under this initiative and nominates candidates for the pre-selection process.
The purpose of the SAMRC Intra-mural Postdoctoral Fellowship is to contribute and assist in accelerating research capacity development and scientific leadership by creating opportunities to host and retain postdoctoral scientists that have demonstrated the potential to become established researchers. Postdoctoral fellows play a crucial role in strengthening the research team and student supervision.
Division of Research Capacity Development (RCD) has funded intramural postdoc within research and business units. The period for the award is three (3) years with the option to extend for a further two years subject to satisfactory performance and the availability of funds. Funding for each financial year is subject to receipt of satisfactory progress reports and the availability of funding for the programme. The hosting Unit Director and/or Principal Investigator (mentor) shall also provide the necessary research running expenses, infrastructure, career development, and mentorship.
The Fellow shall act as a researcher on the project that he/she applies for and will spend a minimum of 80% on the project. The Fellow will negotiate a performance contract with his/her supervisor.
Purpose and objectives
The SAMRC Clinician post-PhD Career Development Programme is an intervention programme to leverage the gap between clinician PhD training, early investigators and mid-career scientists. The purpose of the programme is to increase opportunities for talented clinicians who recently completed their PhD degrees to learn how to develop and lead their research plans before they establish their own research teams and transition to independent investigators. As a post-PhD developmental programme, the programme seeks to build research capacity and scientific leadership of early-career clinician-scientists taking into account transformation requirements, focusing mainly but not limited to black and females who have demonstrated a potential to become excellent clinician-researchers. This will be done by financially supporting and encouraging newly graduated clinician PhDs to join the postdoctoral programmes in well-established research groups, encouraging peer-review publications, supervision training, research project proposal development and grant applications for funding, and preparing promising clinician-scientists into research and academic leadership positions.
The programme is expected to strengthen capacity in research priority areas and facilitate retention of clinician-researchers in the public sector in areas of strategic interest to the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the SAMRC for solid scientific and academic leadership in the country.
Value, duration, and conditions of the award
On a full-time basis, the value of the award is negotiated around the equivalent to the after-tax take-home package for the qualification according to the South African Government cost of full-time employment. The funding period is two years renewable for a further third year, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding. The host Institution must demonstrate the support to the Clinician Research Fellow in terms of research infrastructure, research expenses, mentorship and career development to reach the independent investigator status.
While each request of application may require specific eligibility criteria, the following eligibility criteria may apply:
- Only bonafide South African citizens and permanent residents may apply.
- Applicants must be qualified in medical and other clinical professions and have a research doctorate.
- To be appointed as a Clinician (Post-PhD) Research Fellow, the individual must have completed the PhD degree no more than five (5) years from the date of application (motivation from female applicants returning after a period of absence from research due to family responsibilities may be considered).
- Preference will be given to female candidates and the historically disadvantaged groups. For this reason, we require race and gender to be specified.
- Applicants must be younger than 45 years. Candidates older than 45 years but under 50 years need strong motivation from the host Institution.
Purpose and Objectives
The SAMRC under the initiative of its President/CEO, has established the Early Investigators Programme as an intervention to the current SAMRC Mid-Career Scientists programme to accommodate funding for promising scientists who have demonstrated leadership potential to become independent researchers but are not yet at the level of a Mid-career scientist. The purpose of the Early Investigators Programme is to i) support the career development of South African scientists at the end of their early postdoctoral stage, ii) facilitate their transition to the next level of established Mid-Career Scientists, and iii) foster their retention in the public sector in areas of strategic interest to the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the SAMRC for a solid scientific and academic leadership in the country.
It is expected that funded investigators will be able to strengthen their leadership skills, increase their research outputs and management skills, train and graduate research students, and attract further funding to grow their own research programmes. In its first five years, the SAMRC Mid-Career Scientist programme has performed well, attracting high-quality researchers with a critical focus on transformation and building capacity in the previously disadvantaged institutions, and contributing to the transformation of the SAMRC grant holders’ profile. As the Mid-career Scientist Programme, the EIP seeks to attract black scientists within the research areas that contribute to the mandate of SAMRC and demonstrate potential for public health impact.
Value, duration, and conditions of the award
The value of the award is up to R500 000.00 per year for five years comprising the first two years renewable for a further period of three years, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Payment of the grant funding must be linked to clear milestones and deliverables.
The grant is used for research purposes. In the case where the award is partially used as a salary, a formal request must be included in the initial application indicating the institutional commitment to cover the running expenses. The award must demonstrate an intentional and measurable contribution to the objectives of the programme to facilitate retention in the public sector in areas of strategic interest to both the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the SAMRC.
- Only South African citizens and permanent residents may apply.
- Applicants must have a research doctorate in health/medical research with at least four years of demonstrated continuous postdoctoral research or two years of post-PhD research experience for clinician-scientists.
- Applicants must be affiliated to a recognized academic institution in an established academic post, i.e. permanently employed, or in a long-term contract of employment (at least for the duration of the project, salaried by the university) or must have secured a commitment from the Institution to host the proposed project and provide necessary financial support to the applicant for the duration of the grant.
- Preference is given to female candidates and the historically disadvantaged groups. Applicants who have already demonstrated independence as evidenced by substantial grant income as principal investigators or have already established their research groups (for more than four years) are not eligible.
- The SAMRC Early Investigators Programme award may not be held concurrently with another SAMRC research grant. Full-time employees of the SAMRC may not hold the SAMRC Early Investigators award.
Eligible EIP applications are subject to the peer-review process, and review reports are assessed by the panel (Selection Committee), who also score the application against standard objective criteria (evaluation guidelines) and recommend fundability. While previously disadvantaged individuals receive preference (targeting 80% of the awards), the academic merit and the quality of the proposed research must be ranked higher. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial programme of research with integrity. The applicants must also provide a clear rationale of why the Early Investigators Grant will best support their long-term career goals and chosen career route.