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Enabling Grant Seeker Excellence Awards

Under the leadership of the acting DVC for Research & Internationalisation, Prof Kevin Naidoo, and as part of a three-year pilot initiative, the Research Office announces the launch of UCT Enabling Grant Seeker Excellence Awards.

In the context of an increasingly unpredictable national research funding environment, the purpose of this intervention is to encourage applications to external – particularly international – funders and to decrease research funding dependency on the university (and ultimately, beyond this call, also the NRF). The challenge is to use our limited resources to encourage a desire for excellence that is built on independence. 

The call will be repeated annually on a rolling basis for three years, with researchers encouraged to continuously seek research funding from external-to-UCT sources (including the NRF).


Applications are due on 30 June each year, with the first deadline being 30 June 2019. 


Applications for Enabling Grant Seeker Excellence awards are encouraged from researchers who meet both of the following eligibility criteria:


  1. Researchers appointed on permanent or contract UCT academic conditions of service, including joint Provincial Government of the Western Cape/UCT academic staff (excluding registrars), on condition that the employment contract is valid for the duration of the grant period.
  2. Researchers

2.1.) who as principal investigator or UCT lead of a collaborative project [1] are applying (or have applied) for the first time in their careers for external-to-UCT grants between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019[2].


2.2.) who are not currently in receipt of external-to-UCT grants and are applying (or have applied) as principal investigator or UCT lead for an external-to-UCT grant between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019.


2.3.) whose external-to-UCT grant as principal investigator or UCT lead is ending in the course of 2019 (at which point they will hold no other external-to-UCT grants) and are applying (or have applied) as principal investigator for an external-to-UCT grant between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2019.


Click here to fill out the online application form.

In order to access the form please sign into Google using your UCT network ID and password.


The awards will be sized according to the following sliding scales, which are linked to the amount the UCT principal investigator or lead researcher will bring into the University should the external-to-UCT grant application be successful:

  • R100 000 UCT awards

Applications for R5m or more

  • R50 000 UCT awards

Applications for less than R5m but more than R1m

  • R20 000 UCT awards

Applications for less than R1m and more than R100k

  • R10 000 UCT awards

Applications for less than R100k and more than R50k



All eligible researchers are encouraged to submit an application although the number of awards available each year are limited. Should demand be greater than the budget allocation, preference would be given in order of priority 2.1. – 2.3. as stipulated under criterion 2 above.

In the application, the researcher will be asked to detail how the UCT enabler award will be used in relation to the work detailed in the external-to-UCT grant.

Researchers are cautioned to make considered and careful submissions to external agencies as inadequate proposals to funders risks reputational damage to themselves and affect their own future success with such funders.


Please address all queries to


[1] In all cases, only principal investigators or the single UCT lead researcher on a collaborative grant would be eligible. Team members on collaborative grants are not eligible.

[2] In all cases, going forward, the cycles will be adjusted to 12 months, e.g. 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 and so forth.