Internal deadlines

Please expect a slower than usual response time to NRF rating queries over the year-end period.

  • Applications received by 20 November 2023 will receive feedback before year-end.​
  • Applications received between 21 November 2023 and 8 January 2024 will receive feedback by the end of January 2024.​
  • Applications received between 9 and 19 January 2024 will receive feedback before mid-February 2024.
  • Applications received between 23 January and 19 February 2024 will receive feedback in the second week of March 2024.

NRF system closing date: 29 February 2024 at 16:30.


The following persons are eligible to apply for evaluation and rating:

1.1 Permanent/fulltime (P/FT) researchers at UCT 
1.2 Fixed term contract researchers* formally affiliated with UCT (e.g. retired researchers, research associates/fellows) who are active researchers with a notable track record in research and/or postgraduate student supervision.
1.3 Fixed term contract/part time (C/PT) researchers* at UCT who are active researchers with a notable track record in research and/or postgraduate student supervision and could include
a) Persons holding joint appointments between a SA institution and a foreign institution;
b) Persons holding joint appointments between two institutions within SA (of which at least one appointment should be a formal association with an NRF recognised research institution).
1.4 Persons who are in the process of being appointed in full-time posts at UCT. A motivation confirming the researcher’s employment and intended start date must be provided in the relevant comments block on the rating application.

*The current contract must still be valid at the closing date for rating applications and institutions need to motivate the institutional benefits in terms of capacity building and/or student postgraduate training as well as the institutional commitment in terms of future support to enable the applicant to retain his/her association. They must provide some commitment in the relevant comments block that the association will still be in place two years after the rating becomes valid. Applications from researchers in these categories will be screened by a panel for validity of the claims before being processed.

Additional information for Y- and P-rated researchers

  • A doctoral degree or equivalent is a requirement when applying for consideration in the Y- or P-rated categories.
  • If you are a young researcher and completed your PhD in 2018 or later (within the last 5 years), you will need to apply under the 2024 call in order to be considered for rating in the Y category (40 years and younger) or P category (normally 35 years or younger).

UCT internal review for NRF rating applications

  • Applications received by 20 November 2023 will receive feedback by the end of January 2024.​
  • Applications received between 21 November 2023 and 8 January 2024 will receive feedback by mid-February 2024.

How to apply online

The NRF has adopted a new online system NRF Connect since April 2022. All applications must be completed on the online system. Refer to steps below to register: 

  1. Register/Login by following the steps in the Manual published on the NRF website at;  
  1. Click on SYNC NOW to Migrate your NRF Online Submission CV data to NRF Connect;  
  1. Create or update your CV; 
  • Note: The Research Office provides a UCT application guide and template (which includes helpful comments) to be used in the preparation of a draft application. However, all information must be transferred to the NRF online system before submission for internal review.

Library support for NRF rating application

The UCT Libraries Bibliometrics Working Group assists researchers with providing the relevant evidence required in the narrative section of the rating application. This document outlines the support available from UCT Libraries to assist with NRF rating applications.

Tips for application

  • Applicants to consult the NRF Statement on Predatory Journals and Deceptive Publishers to avoid publishing in journals that do not have a rigorous peer review system or scholarly publishing practices.
  • First-time applicants are welcome to contact at the Research Office to establish their rating-readiness.
  • Consult the NRF Rating call documents  before attempting to complete an application.
  • Consult the key research areas & types of research outputs document when completing an application. Use the UCT application guide and template to compile your narrative sections (e.g., assessment of completed research and self-assessment). The narrative sections are limited to either 1 or 2 pages each; the online system may automatically delete extra text.
  • Only include published research output in your application, which reviewers can access in the public domain. This covers the period 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2023. Do not include publications that are in press, submitted or in preparation in your research outputs section. These should be listed in the section ‘Ongoing and planned future research’.
  • Include the impact factor of journals, together with citation records and an h-index – include this in your research outputs and narrative sections.
  • When adding multi-authored publications, or if you are not the senior author on a publication, it is important to outline your own contributions to the research/publication.
  • The NRF does not accept incomplete or late submissions. An incomplete submission will be returned to the applicant.

For more information on NRF ratings email or