In a globalised world, the internationalisation of research is imperative for the competitiveness of any country. While international collaboration has always been an intrinsic part of the research and innovation (R&I) endeavour, the forces of competitiveness and globalisation are accelerating the scope, pace and importance of cross-border R&I, strengthened by directed partnerships both within and outside of South Africa. Stakeholders around the world are working to internationalise their R&I efforts, driven by the need to establish a global reputation, to access global knowledge and expertise, and to mobilise new resources.
Striving towards an internationally competitive science, technology and innovation system is one of the strategic performance goals of the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) Vision. The essential purpose of this intervention is to build and maintain excellence in South African research, rather than to only facilitate international collaboration. The promotion of international collaboration through the support of travel opportunities and participation in scientific events, enriched by national learning opportunities and engagements, are important mechanisms towards this goal.
The Knowledge, Interchange and Collaboration (KIC) instrument was therefore established to contribute to the following objectives:
- Internationalising South Africa’s research platform;
- Enhancing networking within the global science system;
- Fostering collaboration in order to improve the quality of research outputs by researchers.
Within the NRF funding context, the internationalisation of research is an intrinsic part of the current funding instruments, built into research grants awarded through programmes such as Competitive Funding for Rated Researchers, the South African Research Chairs Initiatives (SARChI), and the Centres of Excellence (CoE) Programme. Therefore, funding for KIC support is prioritised for those researchers who have not already been allocated travel support through any other current NRF grant awards.
For more information, including the types of support, kindly view KIC Call Guide 2nd round 2018.