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SAMRC Self-initiated Research Grants

Closing date : 5 August 2016

The MRC’s Self-initiated Research (SIR) Grants Programme is designed to support original research initiated by a researcher at a recognized research institution in various areas of health. SIR grants are in the amount of up to R200 000 per year for a maximum period of three years. These funds provide support for research expenses and it is expected that the researchers/ applicants already have in place the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research. Applications are invited in two different categories as follows: 1.) early-career researchers and 2.) mid-level and established researchers.

The following changes have been introduced to the SIR Programme in 2016:

  • New research priority areas are covered
  • Individuals working within MRC extra-mural research units are now eligible to apply   
  • The focus of the call is early-career scientists; however mid-level and established researchers are also invited to apply, provided that a clear focus on capacity building is demonstrated

Eligibility criteria

Definition of a research institution
For the purposes of the SIR Programme, a research institution is defined as a legally constituted institution or organization wherein research is one of the primary purposes for its existence, including the training of postgraduate students. The broad thrust of the organisation’s research, basic or applied, should be towards the advancement of knowledge. Research institutions include universities, science councils and other organisations whose core business is conducting research and/or training postgraduate students.

Individual eligibility
SIR grants are open to South African citizens or permanent residents only. SIR grant applicants should be either permanently employed at a recognized research institution or be in a long term contract (at least for the duration of the project). For early-stage investigators there must be a commitment from the institution to host the applicant and project for the duration of the grant.

Only one research proposal will be considered for funding per individual applicant and once granted, only one such grant may be held by an individual until the project has been completed. Preference will be given to individuals who have not previously been a recipient of an SIR grant. Recipients of other MRC grants, including individuals working within MRC extra-mural research units, may apply for an SIR grant; however, all such grants must be declared in their application. Research grant applications that are proposing work on behalf of commercial entities will not be considered. Individuals working within MRC intra-mural research units are not eligible to apply for an SIR grant.

Evaluation criteria
The SIR Grants Programme is highly competitive and has limited funds available. The primary consideration in determining the success of a funding application is the quality of the research proposal. However, equally important to the MRC is transformation and building the capacity of, particularly, early-career, black and women scientists as well as resource-limited institutions. Thus proposals that are from principal investigators or institutions meeting these criteria and/or involve a component of capacity building of or partnership with such individuals and/or institutions will be preferred.

For more information on the call and priority areas please click on the following:

For more information and any queries please contact

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Last updated:
30 June, 2016
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