Grant Applications

How do I write a grant proposal?

You can download the general proposal format template document below. It is a generic template on what a research proposal should contain and how it should be structured.

Generic grant proposal template

What support does UP offer to doctoral students and postgraduate fellows?

Some funders require a breakdown of the support offered by the University to doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

The University of Pretoria has several research and education-based international exchange agreements with a number of African, southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere countries. We routinely host students and staff from institutions across the globe and have well established administrative structures to assist with this process.

Institutional support may include:
  • Access to world-class laboratories
  • Access academic libraries and information specialists
  • Administrative support
  • Visa support
  • Equipment/ reagents
  • IT support
  • Internet connection
  • Housing (if funded by the hosting department/ faculty)
  • Stipend (if funded by the hosting department/ faculty)
  • Transport (if funded by the hosting department/ faculty)
  • Training including language training through CE@UP (if funded by the hosting department/ faculty)

I need an institutional letter of support to accompany my application. Can you help?

The Research Grants Management Division within DRIS can assist by drafting a standard letter of support and arrange for the relevant person’s signature.

Please note that most of the letters must be signed by Executive or Deans. For this reason submit your request at least three working days before the due date.

The Research Grants Management Division will identify and arrange with the correct person to sign. The institutional representative is based on the budget accompanying your proposal. For more information click HERE.

You will need to submit the following information with your request for an institutional support letter:

1. Name and designation of addressee

2. Name of funding organization

3. Postal and email address

4. Complete funding proposal

5. Budget – ensure that the budget clearly indicates the 10% institutional cost. Unclear about institutional cost, click HERE for more information.

6. Deadline date for submission

7. Any additional information that should be contained in the letter of support.

Note that we prepare a standard letter of support. Point out any additional information that the funding agency explicitly request.

Send all of the above information to NINETTE.MOUTON@UP.AC.ZA.

How does the new THRIP system differ from the previous one?


There is a significant difference between the previous THRIP programme (administered by the NRF) and the new THRIP programme (administered by the dti) starting in 2016. The dti/THRIP Call opened on the 18th of December 2015 and applicants may apply for funding until the 29th of February 2016. A brief summary of only the key differences/additions are presented in this report. The differences are based on a comparison of the 2015 NRF/THRIP Guidelines and the dti/THRIP Guidelines published in November 2015. The published dti THRIP Guidelines should be read for a comprehensive overview of the programme.

The most significant change is the fact that industry applies for and receives the funding. A university will be one of the partners in the application.

Programme Description

The description/focus of the programme changed to focusing on collaborative partnerships between government and industry (working with academia) for research and development in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) on a cost-sharing basis to produce highly skilled human resources and technology solutions, for improved industry competitiveness.

Priorities for funding

The priorities changed from focusing on all institutions to focusing on ‘previously Black Higher Education Institutions’.

Support for projects are now focused on the sectors published in the latest version of the dti Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) whereby each call will have a main focus on some of the sectors.

Mandatory Conditions

The applicant for THRIP funding should be a registered legal entity in South Africa in terms of the following legislation: Companies Act No 71 of 2008, Companies Act (as amended), No 62 of 1973 (as amended) or Close Corporations Act, 1984 (as amended) and Co-operatives Act No 14 of 2005 (as amended).

The applicant must have a partnership with at least one partner from the following South African Research Institutions:
- Higher Education Institutions (HEI) (public South African)
- Science, Engineering and Technology Institutions (SETI) and
- National Research Facilities.

Research-performing museums have been excluded.

If the partnership is a tripartite between industry, previously advantaged university and previously disadvantaged university, a plan of how the previously disadvantaged university will be involved in the project should be submitted and the benefits must be defined, including transfer of skills and capabilities in terms of equipment management and operation.

In terms of student support - if a project achieves at least 75% Black and female students, an additional 25% per student will be made available (i.e. an additional R50 000 per student to the total of R250 000).

The applicant must submit a valid B-BBEE certificate of compliance.

Qualifying projects

The project must be applied research in the fields of science, engineering and/or technology.

The project intention should be to innovate.

In the case of a first-time black-owned entity as an applicant, the project will qualify even if no specific technology-related outputs are expected during the first year of support.

Funding Criteria

The cost-sharing grant is up to R8m per annum for a period of 3 years for approved projects. The funding formulae changed to contribution percentages per industry partner. The industry partners are categorised as large companies or a Registered Industry Association (contribution 50% THRIP and 50% Industry), SMMEs (contribution 75% THRIP and 25% industry), SMMEs with level 2 B-BBEE contributor status (contribution 80% THRIP and 20% industry) and SMMEs with level 1 B-BBEE contribution status (contribution 90% THRIP and 10% industry).

The TIPTOP maximum grant increased to R500 000 (previously R300 000). There are also fixed stipend amounts for graduates with science, engineering or technology qualifications. Those with a National Diploma – R6 000, BSc Engineering graduates – R8 000, BTech/Four year BSc Engineering/BSc Honours graduates – R10 000 and MSc/MTech graduates – R12 000.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Funding

THRIP funding for once-off support in relation to the cost of legal advice has increased from R10 000 to R50 000 and the maximum grant for each SMME involved in the project has also increased to R50 000. Arrangements for ownership and exploitation of IP arising from a project must be agreed upon between the applicant and the HEI/SETI prior to commencement of project. No funding will flow unless an agreement on IPR arrangements is in place.

IPR for the project must comply with project relevant provisions of NIPMO and project relevant legislations such as the Copyright Act, Designs Act, IP Laws Amendment Act and IP Law Rationalisation Act.

Qualifying costs

Remuneration for the research leader at the HEI/SETI should not exceed 10% of the THRIP budget and it must be in accordance with the HR policies of the institution.

A limit of R20 000 has been set for local travel (including accommodation) and R60 000 for international travel (including accommodation) per annum and flight tickets for local and international travel will be limited to economy class.

The THRIP maximum contribution in relation to student bursaries (for students participating in the THRIP project) increased to the following amounts:
- PhD students – R200 000 (previously R100 000)
- Masters students – R150 000 (previously R70 000)
- Honours/BTech/Fourth year students – R80 000 (previously R40 000)

Costs for litigation of patents disputes by SMMEs against large and international enterprises are capped at R1m and costs of litigation of patents disputes (for patents of strategic importance to the SA economy by entities in the manufacturing sector for applicants not participating in the main THRIP) are capped at R1m. Costs of litigation of patents disputes by Black-owned large enterprises against other large and international enterprises only are also capped at R1m.

Non-qualifying costs

Contributions from companies owned wholly or partly (≥25%) by the HEI/SETI receiving the grant (it was 5% previously).

Grant disbursement and reporting

THRIP funds will be disbursed through pre-payment on agreed milestones between the dti and the applicant over the maximum cycle of 3 years. The first disbursement may not exceed 40% of the total grant amount for the first year.

Payments shall be made directly into the bank account of the approved applicant only.

Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

All approved applicants will be monitored to assess how THRIP is contributing towards the strategic objectives of the grant and its intended outcomes. Monitoring information required from applicants will form part of the claim forms. In addition to the site inspection visits at each claim stage, the dti may conduct monitoring site visits, focused group sessions, and rapid appraisals as and when required.

THRIP business process

The process entails the following:

1. Announcement of call for applications

2. Submission of proposals

3. Acknowledgement by THRIP and capturing on THRIP database

4. Screening of applications

5. Application allocated to technical consultants (previously peer-review process)

6. Technical consultants visit applicants to conduct due diligence

7. Technical consultants prepare report for Adjudication Committee for consideration

8. Adjudication Committee makes decision

9. If approved an approval letter is issued and contracts prepared for signatures

10. 1st milestone claim (prepayment) processed

11. Payment request submitted to finance

12. 2nd and subsequent milestone claims processed

13. Payment request submitted to finance

14. Client submits annual reports to dti (project status reports submitted for 3 years after completion)

For more information and assistance contact John Visagie at DRIS at JOHN.VISAGIE@UP.AC.ZA or 012 420 2263.