Postdoctoral research fellowships are normally awarded to individuals within 5 years of having achieved a doctoral degree. Postdoctoral research fellows (PDRFs) are individuals who undertake research and gain professional experience for a future academic career, under the mentorship of a host/principal investigator.

Fellowships are negotiable up to 2 years after which extension of tenure may be considered for up to a maximum of five years. A sixth year of enrollment cannot be considered. The purpose of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for experiential learning in research, which may serve as a path for further academic and professional development.


What a fellowship entails

Postdoctoral research fellowships are provided by several different sources, including the University's Research Committee, the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and a number of other external foundations and agencies.

These fellowships are non-taxable, unless they comply with the guidelines for "open scholarships" as set out by the South African Revenue Services. In essence, this means that:

  • fellowships must be granted without fringe benefits
  • no services are required of the successful candidate in return for the fellowship.

A PDRF who undertakes research for the benefit of an individual or corporation will not normally be granted tax exemption. Application steps for tax-exemption processes are described in the Policies Governing Postdoctoral Research Fellows at the University of Cape Town.

You can explore all policies pertaining to postdocrtoral research fellows at UCT at the link below.


Funding opportunities

The PGFO receives information on funding and other opportunities. This information can be found in Section 6 of the financial assistance for postgraduate study and postdoctoral research booklet (no 14, see Download), and is posted on the postdoctoral-funding noticeboard.




UCT Main Building

Enrolled UCT PDRFs are eligible to use the following facilities:

  • library borrowing facilities
  • parking facilities
  • membership of sports and other clubs
  • access to student health and counselling facilities
  • access to educare and related services
  • access to student and/or staff housing, where such accommodation may be available.



Interested in becoming a UCT PDRF?

Individuals who are interested in pursuing postdoctoral research at UCT can contact the faculty office or academic department responsible for their area of research. More information about UCT's seven faculties can be found here.

You can also check out available fellowships and more information about their terms and conditions on the pages below.