NRF Formalizes Agreement To Send PhD Students To The USA

Chargé d’Affaires Todd Haskell joined NRF CEO Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo to celebrate this partnership that will support NRF-funded PhD students to conduct research towards their doctorates in the United States as part of the Fulbright Program.

Press Release | April 21, 2021

The United States Mission to South Africa is pleased to announce the formal partnership between the Fulbright Program and the National Research Foundation (NRF) that will support NRF-funded PhD students registered with a South African university to travel to the United States to conduct research towards their doctorates at a host U.S. institution or university, as part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program (FFSP).  

This partnership is aligned to the NRF’s Global Knowledge Partnerships Programme, and will contribute to the NRF’s efforts to increase the number of South African PhD-qualified faculty that fully represent South Africa’s diverse demographics. This cost-sharing agreement will accelerate the career pathways of exceptional early career researchers and Postdoctoral Fellows to become leading international researchers with strengthened academic rigor and competitiveness, through increased international exposure, collaboration and mentorship opportunities.  

Speaking at the partnership signing, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Chief Executive Officer of the NRF said, “The NRF acknowledges the significant contribution the Fulbright Program has made to enhance excellence and international research, and especially the significant impact it has had in the transformation of the South African research and education system. This agreement with the IIE attests to our mutual intent to support and foster a globally engaged cohort of exceptional early career researchers.” 

Acting Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Matthew Lussenhop added that, “This historic agreement with the National Research Foundation underscores the strength of the U.S.-South Africa partnership in Fulbright exchanges. It reflects our shared commitment to expanding higher education opportunities for diverse populations, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This 75th anniversary year of the Fulbright Program reminds us of the enduring importance of international exchanges in building bridges of understanding among peoples.”  

Visiting Student Research grantees of the FFSP 2021-2022 cohort will be the first to be formally funded under this partnership, which will amount to approximately $1.8 million (R26 million) over the next five years.