Prof robert morrell uct research office presentation to north west university 28 february 2014
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Prof. Robert Morrell, UCT Research Office Presentation to North West University 28 February 2014 . NRF Evaluation & Rating. What is an NRF rating?. Assessment of your recent research track record. Based on the quality of your research outputs. International peer-review system.

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NRF Evaluation & Rating

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Prof. Robert Morrell, UCT Research Office

Presentation to North West University

28 February 2014

NRF Evaluation & Rating

What is an NRF rating?

  • Assessment of your recent research track record.

  • Based on the quality of your research outputs.

  • International peer-review system.

Why be rated?

  • Access to NRF funding for 6 years.

  • Benchmarking. Assist NWU to improve its research profile.

  • Maintain publishing record.

NRF rating categories

NRF rating categories: Definitions

NRF rating categories: Definitions

NRF rating categories: Definitions

P Young researchers (normally younger than 35 years of age; doctorate or equivalent less than five years) who…are considered likely to become future leaders in their field.

NRF rating categories: Definitions


Rating unsuccessful (a dreaded outcome!). If you are not successful with your rating application, you will receive this verdict and will have to wait for THREE years before you can apply again.

Timing your Rating application

  • For a Y/P rating eligibility to apply is not altogether clear. Postdoctoral fellows were NOT eligible this year but might be in the next cycle.

  • There is no absolute number of research outputs that will determine when you are ready to apply and you need to make a calculation of quality vs quantity in answering the Question: Does my research work indicate that I have the potential to be an established researcher?

Timing your rating application (2)

  • To apply for a ‘senior’ NRF rating (C,B,A) you need to ask yourself whether you’re established or internationally recognised or an international leader.

  • You can answer this by looking at your research outputs in the last 8 years. Have you published in high-impact, international journals? Have you led research projects and raised research funding as a PI? Have you been invited to international conferences, given plenary or keynote addresses? Has your research work had impact (what are your bibliometrics)?

Planning for Rating

  • Do you have a research and publishing strategy?

  • What and where are you publishing?

  • Are you developing a coherent research niche?

  • Do you have research partners and international collaborators?

  • What are you doing to develop a research profile?

Research Strategy

  • Balance between conference presentations, local journal articles, international journal articles, review articles, book chapters, edited books, monographs.

  • Research output and the creative arts? Engineering? ICT? Policy research?

  • Impact Factors and citations.

How is your application processed?

Submission of scholarly achievements

Specialist Committee

Not accepted

Selection of 6 peers/reviewers

Reviewers’ reports


Specialist Committee

Joint meeting

How is your application processed? [2]

Joint meeting


No Consensus

A, P recommendation

B, C, Y

Executive Evaluation Committee

Inform Applicant


Appeals Committee


  • Applicants are given the opportunity to nominate their own reviewers.

  • They are also given the opportunity to indicate who should not be approached.

  • A mix of national and international reviewers is appropriate in most cases.

  • Ideological differences within disciplines in the social sciences and humanities could confound the selection of suitable peers. However, reports by peers in such instances should be identifiable and treated appropriately by wise panel members.

What do reviewers comment on?

  • Quality of research outputs over the review period (last eight years).

  • Impact of research outputs on the field.

  • Standing as a researcher, nationally and internationally.

  • Coherence of researcher’s work.

Information required by NRF

Research outputs of the last 8 years

Definition of research

  • For purposes of the NRF, research is original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge and/or enhance understanding.

  • Research specifically includes:

  • the creation and development of the intellectual infrastructure of subjects and disciplines (e.g. through dictionaries, scholarly editions, catalogues and contributions to major research databases);

  • the invention or generation of ideas, images, performances and artefacts where these manifestly embody new or substantially developed insights;

  • building on existing knowledge to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products, policies or processes.

  • It specifically excludes:

  • routine testing and analysis of materials, components, instruments and processes, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques.

  • the development of teaching materials and teaching practices that do not embody substantial original enquiry.

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