Director SPP at National Research Foundation

Updated: 7 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

About the Position

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development through funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural science, engineering, social science and humanities.

The Planning and Development (PD) is a newly established directorate which focuses on providing:

  • Macro-organisational system planning, foresight, including evaluating and reporting on the status and needs of national research as well as research trends and interests within and across disciplines and knowledge fields; and
  • Assessment of the state and development needs of individual research institutions and interventions in order to be responsive to the requirements of National System of Innovation.

The NRF invites applications from suitably qualified individuals to occupy the position of Director: PD within the Strategy, Planning and Partnerships business division.

Reporting to the Executive Director: PD; the successful candidate will work closely with other NRF Business units, use robust business intelligence to support and enhance NRF, decision making to enhance the NRF's delivery of its mandate, and improvement of efficiencies in that regard. In addition, on engaging research institutions in strengthening research capabilities in key institutional competency areas. The incumbent will be responsible for generating strategic documents to enhance the NRFs' influence and impact as articulated in the organisation's mandate. Main duties will include providing macro-organisational planning, foresight, and monitoring and evaluation.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide guidance, assistance, and coordinate macro-level planning and development interventions to enhance NRF's efficiencies in delivering on its mandate;
  • Design, develop, and monitor long-term strategies to support research at higher education institutions, public research entities, science councils and national research facilities;
  • Conduct NRF performance monitoring and assessment of developed policies and long -term strategies and frameworks; and
  • Manage staff and finances.

Key Requirements

  • A Master's Degree in the natural sciences with a strong research experience. A Doctoral degree will be an advantage.
  • A minimum of five (5) years research experience in any of the following areas: Institutional Planning, Science Policy Development, or the higher education sector;
  • Experience in working with local and international research institutions;
  • Good project management ability;
  • Demonstrated experience in analysing information, writing analytical reports as well as preparing and delivering presentations to a wide audience;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including patience, diplomacy, willingness to listen and respect for colleagues. Must be capable of working individually and in teams;
  • A thorough understanding of the South African Science and Higher Education landscape;
  • People and financial management ability will serve as an advantage.

The NRF is committed to employment equity and redress. Correspondence will be conducted with shortlisted candidates only.

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:


  • translate vision into corporate goals
  • communicate at different levels
  • lead, manage and execute activities of the programme
  • initiate strategic partnerships with the public and private sector


  • managing projects
  • managing human resources and business finances


  • the legislation relating to conducting research
  • the processes involved in conducting research
  • the South African Science and Higher Education landscape

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