South Africa (SA)/France PROTEA Programme 2024 – NRF

South Africa (SA)/France PROTEA Programme 2024 – NRF

The South Africa (SA)/France PROTEA Programme is a bilateral incentive programme dedicated to strengthening collaborative research between the two countries. It is co-funded by both the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research from the French side, and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) from the South African side.

The development of the PROTEA Programme was based on a shared conviction regarding the importance of science, technology and innovation in building and sustaining a knowledge-based economy. The programme is a financial instrument supporting mobility and training of “incoming and outgoing” researchers, contributing to the development of new partnerships and to the strengthening of advanced scientific and technological exchanges between research institutions in South Africa and France.

The Programme therefore provides a springboard for initiating, developing, and expanding research projects. The Programme was first launched in 1997 and in December 2017 the two countries celebrated its 20th anniversary and agreed, based on the successes that have been achieved in the past 20 years, to continue investing in and supporting the Programme on an annual basis.


This Programme aims to:

  • contribute to scientific advancement in both countries by funding researchers’ mobility in the frame of joint research projects in specified research fields;
  • provide an opportunity for young and emerging researchers to cooperate in an international setting and to develop their scientific careers, especially for early-stage, mid-career as well as female researchers;
  • support the advancement of basic and applied research; and
  • contribute meaningfully to research capacity development.

The call is open to all scientific disciplines and thematic areas, including social sciences and the humanities as well as Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).

Please Note:

Joint projects with the potential to lead to future bilateral and multilateral co-operations within the French, South African and European research programmes will be favourably considered. Also, the joint projects by young scientists incorporating PhD students, and those that pay particular attention to a balanced involvement of female and male researchers (gender equality) will be positively considered and will receive a higher rating.


The projects will be supported for a period of two years (projects starting in 2024 and ending in December 2025).


  • An application must designate two Principal Investigators (PIs), one in South Africa and one in France, who will bear the main responsibility for the project, including its technical and administrative coordination as well as scientific and financial reporting.
  • Project proposals submitted by early-to-mid career researchers as well as project proposals with involvement of PhD (doctoral) students and/or female researchers, will be prioritised for funding by both sides.
  • The focus of the Programme lies in new international partnerships. Therefore, follow-up proposals with the same research partners will not be prioritised for funding (if they have already been funded under this Programme).

South Africa:

This call is open to working researchers residing in South Africa and affiliated with a recognised higher education or research institution such as a university, university of technology, science council or any other research institution as declared by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

South African applicants must consult their institutions for internal closing dates.

Commercial institutions and private education institutions are not eligible to apply under this programme. The South African applicant must be in possession of a PhD. In terms of human capital development, South African applications from historically disadvantaged individuals and the involvement of historically disadvantaged higher education institutions will be prioritised.


This call is open to working researchers residing in France with a recognised French higher education university/college, research institution, or enterprise.


The onus is on the applicants to find their own research partners. Proposals must be received in both South Africa and France. Proposals which have only been received in either South Africa or France, but not both, will not be considered for funding. The call process is highly competitive; therefore, submission of an application does not guarantee funding. The availability of funds and the evaluation of applications from both countries should be positive for projects to be considered for funding. The NRF will not be held responsible for non-submission, administration, or evaluation of the application in the partner country.

South Africa:

Applications must be submitted through an online application process on the NRF Connect link:


The French team’s project proposals, in French, must be submitted online at: protea on line
submission of the French proposals:

For more information, please click here