The Honorary Research Associate (HRA) and Honorary Research Affiliate (HRAf) are staff categories that contribute significantly to UCT's research endeavour. Researchers that carry these honorary titles may not be employed by UCT or any other South African university. Postdoctoral fellows and students are not eligible.

UCT recognises two distinct categories of honorary researcher status:

  • Honorary Research Associates (HRA) are appointed for a five-year period, after which the nomination may be renewed. Nominations are supported by both the relevant HOD and the dean and are approved by the Chair of the University Research Committee.
  • The Honorary Research Affiliate (HRAf) is appointed for a three-year period, and renewal will be based on a sustained publication track record and sustained relationship with a host. Nominations are supported by the relevant HOD and the dean as well as the host, and are approved by the Chair of the University Research Committee.

Eligibility criteria

The position of HRA/HRAf is potentially open to any researcher who does not occupy a salaried position at UCT or another South African university. It is therefore not open to UCT staff already employed on a permanent or contractual basis by the university. Students and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible either.

An HRA should be a person of significant academic standing who is connected to the research of the host department, and requires access to selected university facilities. They must have a steadily maintained and distinguished track record in accredited publications, producing a number of peer-reviewed articles, books or chapters in books prior to the appointment.

An HRAf should be a young or early career researcher with a PhD or Masters (the latter would especially apply in the case of professional disciplines) who wishes to continue actively with their research within the ambit of UCT and to the benefit of UCT. The HRAf is required to have an upfront agreement in place with a proposed host, who will act as mentor. The host must be a senior UCT academic who would vouch for the calibre of the affiliate as well as his / her ability to produce accredited research publications.


HRAs/HRAfs are issued with staff cards and enjoy selected staff privileges at UCT, including access to the library, recreational facilities, the right to purchase a parking disc and the benefit of being affiliated to the institution. HRAs/HRAfs need not apply for leave to be away from the University. HRA/HRAf applicant and HOD will be notified of outcome.

HRAs/HRAfs are eligible to apply for University Research Committee (URC) Conference Travel Funds, Short Research Visit Funds, Open Access Article Processing Costs (APRs) and Page Costs for print journal funding. Eligibility for Faculty block grants is at the Faculties' discretion, where block grants are distributed according to faculty-specific strategies. They may also apply to some NRF funding programmes where the eligibility criteria are met. All UCT regulations for the administration and use of research funds apply. Honorary Research Associates and Affiliates are not covered by University insurance when on field trips, unless special arrangements have been made.

Honorary Research Associates and Affiliates may not be appointed on salaried contract positions at UCT, regardless of the source of funding. A once-off non-recurrent payment for a specific task within a set time-frame may be considered by exception, on submission of a motivation by the HOD or host, and at the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research. The motivation for a once-off non- recurrent payment has to be submitted to the Research Office prior to the commencement of the specific task.

Application Process

Workflow for HRA and HRAf

Contacts and downloads

For more information about Honorary Research Associates/Affiliates contact the Research Support Services.

Honorary Research Associate/Affiliate application form (R&I29)

Memorandum of understanding between host of and Honorary Research Affiliate (HRAf only)

Appointment form (HR100a)

Personal details form (HR101)

Disclosure form (HR130)




For more information on Honorary Research Associates/Affiliates email