The National Research Foundation (NRF) has partnered with the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme (FFSP) to support NRF-funded PhD students registered with a South African university to travel to the US to conduct research towards their doctorates at a host US institution or university.
This partnership is aligned with the NRF’s Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme and will contribute to the foundation's efforts to increase the number of South African PhD-qualified faculty that fully represent South Africa’s diverse demographics.
This cost-sharing agreement will accelerate the career pathways of exceptional early career researchers and post-doctoral fellows to become leading international researchers with strengthened academic rigour and competitiveness, through increased international exposure, collaboration and mentorship opportunities, the NRF states.
Visiting Student Research grantees of the FFSP 2021/22 cohort will be the first to be formally funded under this partnership, which will amount to about $1.8-million (R26-million) over the next five years.
“The NRF acknowledges the significant contribution the Fulbright Program has made to enhance excellence and international research, and especially the significant impact it has had in the transformation of the South African research and education system,” NRF CEO Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo says.
Further, the NRF's agreement with the Independent Institute of Education attests to mutual intent to support and foster a globally engaged cohort of exceptional early career researchers, he adds.
“This historic agreement with the NRF underscores the strength of the US-South Africa partnership in Fulbright exchanges. It reflects our shared commitment to expanding higher education opportunities for diverse populations, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs acting assistant secretary Matthew Lussenhop.