2022 National Research Foundation Awards


The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela, will deliver the keynote address at the annual National Research Foundation (NRF) Awards taking place this evening.

The NRF, an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation, will celebrate the 2022 Awards in a hybrid format.  The prestigious awards are held annually to recognise and celebrate South African research excellence.

South Africa is home to some of the world’s most research-intensive higher education institutions, National Research Facilities and science councils. The NRF Awards honour prolific scientists behind some of the sterling research undertaken at these institutions. Researchers due to be awarded were largely nominated by their academic peers at their institutions either as individuals or as a group. The Lifetime Achievement Award is one of the highlights of the ceremony, honouring a South African or permanent resident above the age 60 whose scientific or innovative work and/or achievements have made extraordinary contributions to the country over the years.

The awards are presented across two categories - NRF ratings-based Awards and Special Awards.


The Special Awards Categories


  • Lifetime Achievement Award (includes a R500 000 grant)
  • Research Excellence Award for Next Generation Researchers (includes a R50 000 travel grant for international conference attendance)
  • Research Excellence Award for Early Career/Emerging Researchers (includes a R50 000 travel grant for international conference attendance)
  • Hamilton Naki Award (includes R200 000 research grant)
  • Champion of Research Capacity Development and Transformation at South African Higher Education Institutions (includes R300 000 research grant) 
  • Public Engagement with Research (includes attendance of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference)
  • Science Team
  • NRF Excelleration Award for SA Research Institutions, in recognition of a South African institution for achieving the most improved research performance over recent years.


Ratings-based Awards Categories


Each year a number of researchers whose research output has been peer-reviewed are given ratings by the NRF. These ratings are either A, B, C, P or Y. These ratings recognise the excellence shown by these researchers, highlighting not only their standing as leaders in their fields but also the world-leading nature of their work as assessed by their peers. At the NRF Awards, researchers who have received the A and P ratings are acknowledged. To obtain an ‘A’ rating, a researcher must be recognised by their peers as a leading international scholar in their field. The recognition for an A-rated researcher must be based on the high quality and high impact of their recent research output.


The ‘P’ rating is assigned to researchers (under 35 years of age) who have held a Doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of applying for the rating and who, based on the exceptional potential shown in their published doctoral work and/or their research outputs in their early postdoctoral careers, are considered likely to become future leaders in their field. 


The NRF holds the awards annually in line with its core business, which is to support knowledge generation and human capacity development in science, technology and innovation through a variety of interventions. The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, the Honourable Mr Buti Manamela, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Awards ceremony. The Chairperson of the NRF Board, Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh, will deliver the opening remarks, while the NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, will deliver the closing remarks.


The awards ceremony will be livestreamed, and journalists may register here to follow the awards ceremony: https://scatterlings.eventsair.com/nrf-2022/nrf-2022-virtual-registration/Site/Register


If you would like to attend the awards ceremony in person, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./061 477 3064.

About the NRF:

The National Research Foundation (NRF) is an independent statutory body established in accordance with the National Research Foundation Act. Its mandate is to support and promote research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge; supporting and promoting public awareness of, and engagement with, science; and promoting the development and maintenance of the national science system and support of Government priorities, thereby contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans.

Website: www.nrf.ac.za | Twitter: @NRF_News | Facebook: @NRFSouthAfrica

Media Queries can be sent to:

Bongani Nkosi
Media Relations Officer
NRF Corporate Communications
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Cell: +27 61 477 3064


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