Worldwide the postdoctoral research fellow (PDRF) cohort is acknowledged as a key component of the research ecosystem that contributes strongly to research outputs. Development and funding support for UCT PDRFs serves to build the capacity of the University’s future early-career and established academics, while also providing training in teaching and supervision.

Enrollment and reactivation of enrollment

Once a fellowship has been offered to a postdoctoral researcher, the PDRF will be required to enroll at UCT at the beginning of their tenure and at the beginning of each subsequent academic year of their tenure. The enrollment process takes place in the PGFO.

 

The below steps are mandatory to enrol as a new local postdoctoral research fellow at UCT.

 

Step 1

The following is required reading

Step 2

Once the above required reading and steps have been completed, you may follow the link to the new Postdoctoral Enrollment process via Peoplesoft. Listed documentation below will be required to be uploaded.

(Kindly note that enrollment process can be located on the 3rd page of Peoplesoft ) 

  1. Certified copy of South African ID
  2. MoA - Memorandum of Agreement
  3. Full CV (to include a full list of publications)
  4. PhD certificate or PhD submission of doctoral degree
  5. Award letter from funder
  6. Approved and signed Conditions of Award ( Advert of the Award) 

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the required documentation to be uploaded on the new Enrollment process via Peoplesoft.

Type of document

To be completed by

Description

Award letter from funder

PI/host

Letter confirming the funding and conditions

Approved conditions

PI/host

Conditions of award

MoA - Memorandum of Agreement

PI/host

Signed by prospective fellow and witness

Binding agreement made and entered by and between The University of Cape Town (A University in terms of Act 101 of 1997 of Rondebosch (hereinafter referred to as UCT) and the postdoctoral research fellow

MoU - Memorandum of Understanding

PI/host and signed with prospective fellow and head of department

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides a standardised guide for the heads of departments and research units and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Cape Town.

This copy is retained by the host Department

Certified copy of South African ID

Prospective fellow

-

Full CV

Prospective fellow

-

PhD certificate or PhD submission of doctoral degree

 

Prospective fellow/University

Certificate awarded during graduation OR letter from University Doctoral Degrees Board confirming submission

 Postdoctoral Administration Office

 email: pdocs@uct.ac.za

Tel: 021 650 5065

Closed

The below steps are mandatory to enrol as a new international postdoctoral research fellow at UCT.

 

Step 1

The following is required reading

Step 2

As an international fellow you are required to apply for international clearance via the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO). Click here for a guide to the IAPO pre-registration process.

Step 3

Once the above required reading and steps have been completed,Once the above required reading and steps have been completed, you may follow the link to the new Postdoctoral Enrollment process via Peoplesoft. Listed documentation below will be required to be uploaded 

(Kindly note that enrollment process can be located on the 3rd page of Peoplesoft ) 

  1. Certified copy of visa
  2. Certified copy of passport
  3. Medical insurance
  4. MoA - Memorandum of Agreement
  5. Full CV (to include a full list of publications)
  6. PhD certificate or PhD submission of doctoral degree
  7. Award letter from funder
  8. Approved and signed Conditions of Award ( Advert of the Award) 

 

Type of document

To be completed by

Description

Award letter from funder

PI/host

Letter confirming the funding and conditions

Approved conditions

PI/host

Conditions of award 

MoA - Memorandum of Agreement

PI/host

Signed by prospective fellow and witness

Binding agreement made and entered by and between The University of Cape Town (A University in terms of Act 101 of 1997 of Rondebosch (hereinafter referred to as UCT) and the postdoctoral research fellow

MoU - Memorandum of Understanding

PI/host and signed with prospective fellow and head of department

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides a standardised guide for the heads of departments and research units and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Cape Town.

This copy is retained by the host Department

Certified copy of South African ID

Prospective fellow

-

Full CV

Prospective fellow

-

PhD certificate or PhD submission of doctoral degree

 

Prospective fellow/University

Certificate awarded during graduation OR Letter from University Doctoral Degrees Board confirming submission

Visa

(for international fellows only)

Prospective fellow

The Postdoctoral Office request international clearance for all prospective fellows once all required information has been submitted.

See the Postdoctoral Research Fellows Pros and Cons of different Visa Types

Medical Insurance

(for international fellows only)

Prospective fellow

See the Medical Insurance information

 Postdoctoral Administration Office

 email : pdocs@uct.ac.za

Tel: 021 650 5065

Closed

Postdoctoral Research Fellows are required to renew their postdoctoral enrollment in January each year and before the end of March of the following year to retain access to facilities and to facilitate payment processes, irrespective of the first date of registration. 

Please complete the mandatory steps BEFORE APPLICATION.

STEPS

  1. Required reading. Please read all policy documentation.  (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)
  2. Guide for the new digitised reactivation process 
  3. Required reading. Please read the Enrollment Criteria and Eligibility for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town
  4. International Fellows are required to apply for international clearance via the International Academic Programmes Office – IAPO Pre-Registration Process.

Once the above required reading and pre-registration online application (Step 3) have been completed the PDRF may download and complete the listed documentation as shown in the table below with his/her Principal Investigator/Host.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the required documentation to be returned to the PGFO’s Postdoctoral Office for processing.

Type of document

To be completed by

Description

Award letter from Funder

PI/Host

Letter confirming the funding and conditions

Approved conditions

PI/Host

Conditions of Award

MoA - Memorandum of Agreement

PI/Host

Signed by Fellow and witness

Binding agreement made and entered by and between The University of Cape Town A University in terms of Act 101 of 1997 of Rondebosch (hereinafter referred to as UCT) and the Postdoctoral Research Fellow

MoU - Memorandum of Understanding

PI/Host and signed with Fellow and Head of Department

A new MOU must be completed ONLY if the fellow enters a new project and is mentored by a new Principal Investigator.

This copy is retained by the Host Department

Research Progress Report

Fellow with PI/Host

Bi-annual research progress report completed by the Postdoctoral Research Fellow and his/her Host/Principal Investigator

PG023 - Notification of Termination of Fellowship and Tenure

Fellow with PI/Host

To be completed ONLY when PDRF apply for

  1. Release of retainer fee only
  2. Withdrawal/Termination from research tenure or
  3. Completion of Postdoctoral Research

Visa

(for international fellows only)

Fellow

International PDRFs are required to apply for international clearance before applying for the reactivation of enrollment for the next academic year. See the Postdoctoral Research Fellows Pros and Cons of different Visa Types

Medical Insurance

(for international fellows only)

Fellow

International PDRFs are required to apply for international clearance before applying for the reactivation of enrollment for the next academic year.
See the Medical Insurance information

Endorsement of Academic and Professional accomplishments form

Fellow

Signed by Head of Department and Dean of Faculty

This form should be completed as a record of the PDRF’s activities during their tenure at UCT. This form should be completed together with the Host/Principal Investigator.

International PDRF’s should return the following documents:

  1. Certified Copy of Visa
  2. Certified Copy of Passport
  3. Medical Insurance
  4. MoA - Memorandum of Agreement ( Only if funding changed ) 
  5. Award of letter from Funder

Local PDRF’s should return the following documents:

  1. Reactivation of Enrollment application form
  2. MoA - Memorandum of Agreement ( Only if funding changed ) 
  3. Award of letter from Funder

Return all documents to the:

PGFO Postdoctoral Administration Office

By Email to: pdocs@uct.ac.za

Tel: 021 650 5065

Reactivation of Enrollment (local)

Reactivation of Enrollment (international)

Closed

Conditions of your fellowship

All PDRF awards are governed by specific and approved conditions of award. Such conditions provide a framework for the research/study to be undertaken and the basic conditions under which the PDRF is enrolled. Such conditions must be approved by the Chair of the University Research Council or his/her delegated authority.

As a PDRF, you are not a student, nor an employee, but an academic and professional trainee, known as a postdoctoral research fellow. The fellowships given to PDRFs provide no fringe benefits and the PDRF is not required to provide any service in return for the fellowship value.

 

A document known as the "Conditions of Award" ensures that all applicants and candidates are subjected to the same criteria so that selection is free and fair. It clearly outlines the terms of reference for all fellowships available to postdoctoral researchers at the university. The head of department or fund holder must compile this document. It is then submitted to the Postgraduate Funding Office, where it will be approved by the deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation. A copy of this document, as well as a copy of the advertisement, will be submitted by the PDRF Office in the Postgraduate Funding Office (PGFO) to the South African Revenue Services along with a request for tax exemption.

Closed

You must enter into a legally binding Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with UCT, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the faculty/host department. Such agreements will protect both parties and provide recourse to both parties in the event of a dispute or complaint. The MoA will ensure compliance with the University’s code of conduct, policies and conditions.

The MoU is a bilateral agreement between yourself and the principal investigator and provides a framework for the work to be done and a means of monitoring the agreed-upon expectations of both parties.

Closed

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

Payment

An agreed-upon amount of your fellowship will be paid to you on completion of the MoA and once you're enrolled. The balance of the fellowship will be released to you at agreed-upon intervals during the year.

Payment is made by the PGFO and may take the form of 2 to 4 payments to your fee account, which can be transferred to your banking account at a later stage.

While you wait for the transfer of funds to your banking account, limited cash advances can be drawn via the PGFO. The balance of the fellowship will be paid in subsequent instalments once tax exemption has been received.

After receipt of the fellowship, any balance on your University account will be your sole responsibility and UCT will not take responsibility for offsetting any outstanding balance at the end of your tenure.

Tax exemption

These fellowships are non-taxable, unless they comply with the guidelines for "open scholarships" as set out by the South African Revenue Services (SARS). 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.

After the first instalment has been paid to you, the PGFO will make a request for tax exemption on your behalf. The balance of the fellowship will be paid in subsequent instalments once tax exemption has been received.

A PDRF who undertakes research for the benefit of an individual or corporation will not normally be granted tax exemption.

Termination

You and/or your principal investigators are required to inform the PGFO when you terminate your tenure at UCT. Where such termination occurs before you have completed your research and/or full tenure, UCT reserves the right to recover all or some of the funds that have been paid to you in advance.

Closed

The academic activities of the PDRF will be described in the conditions of award and the MoU. The PDRF will not be required to provide any service in return for the fellowship value and the limited teaching, lecturing, supervision or other work that is integral to the training of the PDRF must be fully recorded in the MoU.

The MoU will be used as informal terms-of-reference and/or a guide to resolve any disputes arising between the PDRF and its department.

Closed

Each fellowship is awarded for one year only. Fellowships and tenures are renewable for up to a maximum of 5 years thereafter. A sixth year of tenure will not be considered.

PDRFs are not permitted to register for any degree whilst enrolled as a PDRF at UCT, nor are they permitted to undertake full-time employment with any party within or outside of the University. Work in the form of consultancies may be permitted with the express agreement of the head of department and the dean of the relevant faculty, who will act as the monitoring agents of such consultancy, which is subject to limitations on hours of work and income derived.

Closed

Because a PDRF is essentially a trainee, the conditions of award and the MoU must describe the kind of training and work to be done by both the PDRF and the department. In addition to this, the University may from time to time provide professional development courses and seminars to assist PDRFs. PDRFs may organise seminars and training courses amongst themselves or for senior students in their specific areas of research and such events can be hosted and accommodated by UCT's Postgraduate Centre.

Closed

Capacity-building opportunities

UCT offers many opportunities for postdocs to expand their knowledge and hone the skills they need to become successful and established researchers. Below you'll find some of these opportunities on offer.

 

The ERP is for early career academics or those who have not yet established themselves as researchers. It includes a wide range of professional development seminars and workshops which are open to all staff, as well as research development grants for eligible early career staff. (The grants are dependent on funding and limited to staff who meet certain criteria, which include being on academic conditions of service, and being an active participant in the researcher development initiatives of the Research Office).

In the ERP, early career academics are helped to plan their research careers so that they can achieve the various milestones necessary to advance in a research intensive university – a doctoral degree, accredited (subsidy-earning) research outputs (such as articles, books, patents, creative productions), successful grant proposals, postgraduate supervision, and NRF rating.

Retired or current professors with excellent research and supervision experience are engaged to offer seminars on a wide range of topics such as:

  • research planning
  • academic publishing
  • measuring research impact
  • optimising conference attendance
  • sabbatical planning
  • research ethics
  • effective presentation posters
  • preparing a CV
  • managing online presence
  • library resources  
  • plagiarism
  • reviewing a publication
  • examining a thesis
  • ad hominem promotion criteria
  • grant proposal writing.

The ERP also offers workshops on postgraduate supervision, grant proposal writing and conference presentations. Writing retreats are organised at the request of departments or research groups.

Find the 2023 programme here (downloadable PDF) and register for the training sessions by contacting Nocky Bobo.

Closed

Digital Library Services (DLS) helps with Research Data Management (RDM) and offers Digital Scholarship, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data stewardship services to the research, teaching and learning communities at UCT.

DLS champions all ethically open forms of digital scholarship, research, teaching and learning at UCT, including the following:

They regularly offer training opportunities. You can access a calendar with all future trainings here and view content on previous trainings here.

Closed

UCT’s Responsible conduct of Research (RCR) Policy is applicable to all staff and students based at or affiliated to UCT and includes provision for training and education in RCR.

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is tasked with developing and delivering appropriate RCR training activities to the UCT research community across a variety of platforms including face-to-face workshops, written communication, online training initiatives and webinars.

They currently offer a series of online training modules. You can access these via UCT's SuccessFactors platform by searching "integrity".

Each module consists of online content and a self-contained knowledge check, followed by a final assessment on the Learning Management System. Once you have completed the final assessment (and achieved more than 80%), you will be directed to a course evaluation. A certificate of attendance (for individual modules) will be triggered once the course evaluation has been submitted.

It is RECOMMENDED that you access SuccessFactors and the online modules using Microsoft Edge.

Modules 1-4 of the RCR courses have been accredited for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Ethics points through the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). They are classified as level 1 credits and accrue at the rate of one point per hour to a maximum of 2 hours (modules 1, 2 and 3) and 3 hours (module 4).

The ORI is required to submit the points on your behalf and undertakes to do so on a monthly basis for any courses completed during the prior month. If you wish to claim your CPD ethics points, please complete this short form to notify us.

Closed

PDRF services

Below you can read more about the dedicated services available to UCT PDRFs.

 

The Blue Desk is located opposite the main entrance to the Postgraduate Centre. This is a visible, dedicated service that provides a one-stop information service for all matters relating to the postdoctoral sector.

The Blue Desk information service offers:

  • a central point of contact for your enquiries about any aspect of postdoctoral affairs
  • a broad range of information – if staff cannot answer your query or resolve your problem, they will refer you directly to the person who can
  • directions (and a map) to all areas on campus
  • information on services and facilities available at UCT
  • information and advice on getting the most out of the Postgraduate Centre and its facilities, specifically the available space for meetings and seminars
  • information on funding and other opportunities
  • information and advice on the Postdoctoral Research Fellows Association (PDRF)
  • copies of UCT student and PDRF publications
  • faculty postgraduate booklets, maps, etc
  • help with PeopleSoft, Amathuba and Vula (UCT's online resources).

 

Closed

The University's Postgraduate Centre is located on the upper campus on the upper level of the Otto Beit Building, adjacent to the Postgraduate Funding Office. This heritage site has been extensively renovated to provide an attractive and comfortable space where PDRFS as well as master's and doctoral students meet, use the internet, read and hold seminars.

The centre can be used:

  • as a forum for large or small discussions
  • to accommodate and encourage inter-departmental and inter-faculty communication and association
  • just to relax, read or surf the net.

The centre offers:

  • TB Davie Seminar Room
    It can be used for seminars, conferences, training courses, etc. There is no charge to PDRFs or master's and doctoral students for the use of the room or equipment.

    • digital and overhead projectors
    • whiteboards
    • flip-charts
    • chairs and tables for up to 45 people.
  • Mandela Rhodes Room
    This room is equipped with comfortable chairs and reading materials (including the Mail & Guardian and Business Day newspapers, Time and the Economist magazines, and other miscellaneous materials). There are also tables and 10 computer workstations. (Printing facilities are not available.)

 

Closed

eResearch services

eResearch logo

UCT eResearch was created under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research & Internationalisation as a partnership between ICTS (Information and Communication Technology Services), UCT Libraries and the Research Office, to help researchers across UCT redefine how their work can best be done in the era of big data and artificial intelligence.

The eResearch Centre provides support to researchers in the use of resources including (but not limited to) computing, software, data management and storage, digital scholarship and ensuring access and visibility. In an ever-changing and evolving environment, the eResearch Centre helps to ensure that UCT is ready to respond to changes in the global research landscape.

For more details about the specific services and capacity-building activities they offer, please browse here.

You can log an eResearch request via ServiceNow or email the team at eresearch@uct.ac.za.

eRA (electronic Research Administration system)

eRA logo

The electronic research administration (eRA) system is a tool for researchers to manage the administration of research processes and research outputs. See the overview here.

To access the eRA system you need to log in through the UCT Research Portal, which you can access by clicking here. The login button is on the top right-hand corner of your screen.

Currently, you can use eRA (click on this link for How to Guides and FAQ Support) :  

  • To update your researcher profile
  • To apply for research ethics approval
  • To apply for University Research Committee (URC) conference travel
  • To apply for URC page costs and to Open Access journal publication funding (article processing charges)
  • Pre- and post-award grants management.

For support and more information and guides on using eRA, please see here.

Contact support

Please see the contact details for your specific query below.

 

Email the PGFO PDOC Administration Office at pdocs@uct.ac.za for queries relating to:

  • Conditions of award
  • New Enrollment
  • 2022 Reactivation of Enrollment
  • Fellowship Payments
  • Extension of Research Tenure
  • Termination
Closed

Email the PGFO PDOC Administration Office at pdocs@uct.ac.za for queries relating to:

  • Postdoctoral Virtual Conference Participation Grants and process
  • CIDRI-AFRICA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and process
  • URC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and process
  • PDRF URC Accredited Groupings (URC-ARG) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and process
  • PDOC COVID Supplemental Research Fellowship and process
  • Accelerated Transformation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and process
Closed

Email the PGFO NRF Administration Office:
nrffunding@uct.ac.za

Closed

Email the PGFO Departmental Administration Office:
pfodept-awards@uct.ac.za 

Closed
Otto Beit Building

The physical Postgraduate Funding Office is located at:

Level 3
Otto Beit Building
University Avenue North
Upper Campus
University of Cape Town
Private Bag X3
Rondebosch
7701
See Upper Campus map. (We are located at C6/7.)

Tel: +27 (0)21 650 5065
Closed

Research funding

To find and apply for research funding, please browse to the Research Support Hub. Here you'll find information on:

Current funding opportunities
A calendar of all open funding calls, including deadlines and contacts.

Research Professional Africa
Understand how to access and use the most comprehensive funding database and information for researchers in Africa.

Internal funding
Details about all funding opportunities offered by the URC and innovation seed funding administered by RC&I.

National funding
Research funding opportunities offered by a range of South African organisations, including the South African government.

International funding
Research funding opportunities offered by international government bodies and private organisations such as the EU, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the NIH.

Research fellowships
International fellowship opportunities for UCT academic staff.

Research contracts
Support for negotiating and authorising a wide range of research-related contracts with organisations outside UCT.

Postgraduate funding
Information about the services and opportunities (including scholarships and bursaries) offered by the Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office.

Get research opportunities in your inbox
Subscribe to UCT’s researcher-specific mailing list to stay abreast of latest research funding and other opportunities.