The early history of research funding in South Africa: From the Research Grant Board to the FRD
Keywords:Centre for Science Development, differentiated funding, Foundation for Research Development, National Research Council and Board, National Research Foundation
The South African government has a long tradition of supporting research at public higher education institutions. Such support commenced in the early 20th century, although the exact nature of the support at that time is poorly documented. The oldest research funding model in the country was agency funding, which started as early as 1911 through the Royal Society of South Africa. A few years later, in 1918, a more coordinated funding body called the Research Grant Board (RGB) was established in the Union of South Africa. The RGB offered competitive funding to individual academics in the natural and physical sciences. The human sciences were only supported much later with the establishment of the Council for Educational and Social Research in 1929. Here we review the history of research funding in South Africa, with a special focus on the work of the RGB between 1918 and 1938.
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