Call for Expression of Interest: South African BRICS Think Tank Academic Research Cluster Grants


The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) is pleased to invite suitably qualified researchers and academics based at South Africa’s public universities to apply for an expression of interest for the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT).

The role of the SABTT is to act as a dynamic broker between the worlds of knowledge and policy action. Its vision, mission and strategic objectives also reflect its intention to influence policy and promote knowledge production. This objective is informed by the BRICS’ central ideals of pursuing economic and development and building an international economic and political order that is just.

The SABTT provides a platform for the NIHSS to pursue its mandate of developing initiatives that contribute towards a better and safer world order through peaceful diplomacy and multilateralism. One of the programmes of the SABTT is the BRICS clusters, which allows the NIHSS to play a vital role in organising joint-research, networking and exchange programs with a view of addressing the five research focus areas outlined in the BRICS Long Term Strategy, namely:

  • Promoting cooperation for economic growth and development,
  • The maintenance of peace and security,
  • Social justice, sustainable development and quality of life,
  • Political and economic governance, and
  • Achieving progress by sharing knowledge and innovation.

Funding under this programme will support South African academics and researchers who undertake research endeavours within the five BRICS research focus areas, through holding seminars and workshops, publishing books and journal articles, and fostering research networks at non-South African universities across the African continent and BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).


  • Only South African citizens based in South African public universities within the Humanities and Social Sciences fields, or at South African research institutes, or those involved in collaborative BRICS projects, may apply.
  • Postgraduate students must be currently registered for PhD/Doctoral study on a full-time basis.


  • A maximum of R300 000.00 will be awarded to successful research clusters.


  • The project must be completed within twelve (12) months, with quarterly reports and closing report to be submitted to the NIHSS.
  • Only proposals not exceeding R300 000.00 will be considered.

To apply, kindly submit the following documentation online:

  1. Applications should be submitted at 
  2. Certified copy of South African ID/Passport
  3. Motivation letter
  4. A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae/ Resume
  5. A proposal clearly detailing the purpose of the project and intended outcomes/outputs, timeframe for undertaking the project, work outline and itemised budget.
  6. In the case of PhD student applicants, a letter of recommendation from the supervisor confirming the applicants’ affiliation and capacity to undertake the proposed activity AND proof of registration.

Enquiries related to the call, may be directed to Mr Senkhu Maimane ( For technical queries only, please call 011 480 2328.


CLOSING DATE: 12 February 2020 (Incomplete or late applications will not be considered)