Top-rated scientists face drastic funding cuts from January
The National Research Foundation’s parliamentary grant has declined over the past five years
The National Research Foundation will slash funding for some of the top scientists in the country as it restructures one of its key funding programmes for "rated" researchers. The foundation uses a rating system to benchmark researchers and has until now rewarded those who make the grade with multiyear incentive grants: an A-rated scientist, for example, has been eligible for R500,000 over five years. From January, the multiyear grants will come to an end and the amount awarded to people at the top of their game will be dramatically cut: for example, an A-rated scientist will get a one-off grant of R50,000 in January, and no further funding. National Research Foundation CEO Molapo Qhobela said these changes were necessary because the foundation simply did not have enough money to go around. The growth in the number of rated researchers over the past decade had not been matched by an increase in the foundation’s parliamentary grant. In fact, the foundation’s parliamentary grant had d...