There is deep concern about the fact that many young scholars who have graduated with doctorates are not developing into NRF-rated researchers. There is a strong sectoral view that we should obtain a much better understanding of what impediments are prevented the development of these young scholars into outstanding researchers.
During the Research and Innovation Strategy Group (RISG) meeting of 8 October 2015, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) raised the challenge of the “silent majority” which refers to a large number of early career academics at lecturer and senior lecturer level who are not pursuing research. To assist the DST/NRF to better understand the career positioning of the majority of black emerging researchers within universities, the RISG proposed to undertake a research project to further investigate this phenomenon. The contract for this study, funded by the DST, was awarded to The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at the University of Stellenbosch. Good progress has since been made, with a total of a total of 3,260 responses received from 25 institutions. The study will also review institutional policies and strategies to incentivise the research productivity of emerging researchers. On behalf of CREST, USAf has written to institutions to request this documentation. The report will be finalised in February 2018.