The National Research Foundation (NRF) has a number of research funding instruments on Nanotechnology.
National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme
The Department of Science and Technology (DST)-funded National Equipment Programme (NEP) and the National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme (NNEP) provide South African research institutions with state-of-the-art research equipment.
State-of-the art research infrastructure is essential to support, develop and retain scientific and technological skills capable of generating globally competitive new knowledge and technologies for the 21st century. Infrastructure for world-class research and innovation involves major items of equipment for multi- and interdisciplinary research which require substantial financial investment, usually being too expensive for individual research institutions to acquire individually.
The NNEP forms part of the implementation of the National Nanotechnology Strategy, directed at positioning South Africa as a player in this rapidly advancing area of science, by supporting the acquisition of research equipment for the analysis and characterisation of nanomaterials. 2015 is the final year of the NNEP funding instrument, after a ten-year investment.
The objectives of the NNEP are to:
- Stimulate and support increased nanotechnology research by investing strategically in equipment for the characterisation of nanomaterials in support of the NNS;
- Build human resource capacity and infrastructure capacity in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology;
- Promote regional, national and international research collaborations in nanoscience and nanotechnology;
- Encourage access to equipment for research and training by post graduate students;
- Support the creation of new and novel devices for the application of nanotechnology in various areas;
- Support and strengthen the strategic objectives of the NNS.
Nanotechnology Flagships Project
The Nanotechnology Flagships Project serves to demonstrate the benefits of nanotechnology and its impact on some of the key challenges facing South Africa within a reasonable time-frame.In 2007/2008, the DST and NRF made an initial investment in a portfolio of ten research projects, and in 20011/2012 made a second three-year investment through a closed call to provide existing grant holders with the financial resources needed to complete and consolidate their research project within a maximum period of three years.