Call for applications: NRF Interns Graduate Internship Programme for 2021-2022

The internal closing date is 25 August 2020. 

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has opened a call for applications from final-year undergraduate students who will be registering for an honours degree in 2021.


The National Research Foundation (NRF) is a principal research funding agency of government. The mandate of the Foundation as set out in the NRF Act (Act 23 of 1998 as amended) is to (i) support, promote and advance research and human capacity development through funding and the provision of the necessary research infrastructure, in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including humanities, social sciences and indigenous knowledge; (ii) develop, support and maintain national facilities; (iii) support and promote public awareness of, and engagement with, science; and (iv) promote the development and maintenance of the national science system and support government priorities. The NRF transformation agenda underpins how the organisation implements its granting function by prioritising transformation of: the equity profile of postgraduate students and researchers; the knowledge enterprise; the relationship between science and society; and the organisation itself.


  • Provide bachelor graduates with work experience, while pursuing part-time honours studies, within the broader Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) disciplines, as well as the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).
  • Establish a pool of skilled honours graduates for the private and public sector, including universities and research institutions.
  • Effect transformation in the proportional representation of honours graduates from designated groups viz. black, female, financially needy and persons with disabilities.
  • Support postgraduate training to meet the specific needs of the country in partnership with the higher education system and industry.

Areas of support

The Graduate Internship Programme supports interns to receive training and work experience in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities.


  • Be a South African citizen in possession of a valid South African Identity Document (ID).
  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree in any SET, HSS or related disciplines prior to commencement of the internship. 
  • Have obtained a minimum of 65% for major subjects in the final undergraduate year of study.
  • Intending to pursue honours studies over the two-year internship. 
  • Students intending to pursue full-time honours programmes will only be eligible if all lectures and practical sessions are held in the late afternoon and/or on weekends. Applicants must provide a timetable and letter of support from Faculty Deans confirming that the structure of the honours programme is conducive to being undertaken simultaneously with the internship programme.
  • Have been funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) or the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) for their bachelor’s degree. 
  • Be 27 years of age or younger on 31 December of the year of application for the Graduate Internship.

Application process

All applicants must first identify the university where they will be registered for their honours degree before submitting an application to the NRF. All applications for the Graduate Internship Programme must be submitted on the NRF Online Submission System by accessing the link:

Late and incomplete applications will be rejected.

Click here for the call for applications.
Click here for the application guide.

Posted by: Ms Unarine Mashao, NRF Intern, Research Support Directorate:

Publish date: 2020/08/03