|Formation||April 1, 1999|
|Purpose||Funding and research in South Africa|
|Leader||Prof Fulufhelo Nelwamondo|
It was established on 1 April 1999 as an autonomous statutory body in accordance with the National Research Foundation Act. Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation of South Africa with effect from 1 April 2021. The NRF Board is chaired by Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh.
The NRF has three main functions:
Unlike other Science Councils whose role is research performance, the NRF primarily fulfils an agency role, with a smaller portion of its activity allocated to actual research. Funding from the NRF is largely directed towards academic research, developing high-level human resources, and supporting the National Research Facilities, although beneficiaries include students, and private individuals or companies. KZN Literary Tourism is a project which has received funding through the NRF.
In 2004 the NRF founded seven Centres of Excellence (COE), which aim to facilitate inter-disciplinary research with the aim of enhancing research and capacity building. Additional COEs have been added since: