South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF) has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first African funding body to attain full membership in the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) for Social Sciences and Humanities. This historic decision was unanimously reached during the T-AP Forum on September 20, 2023.
The NRF's remarkable journey toward full membership commenced in 2021 when it received an invitation to join the T-AP COVID-19 Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World (RRR) Call, eventually attaining observer status. The NRF is now an active participant in the open T-AP Research Call on Democracy, Governance, and Trust (DGT) and is providing financial support to South African researchers involved in this important endeavour.
The NRF's full membership in T-AP is a significant stride for South Africa, as it solidifies the Humanities and Social Sciences as critical knowledge areas that can drive national development. This development enables South Africa to expand its social science research networks across Africa, reinforcing research initiatives on the continent in these crucial fields. Furthermore, it paves the way to extend the Trans-Atlantic platform's influence to the African region, creating a more inclusive and collaborative research landscape.
As South Africa takes its place within the T-AP, it is poised to contribute to the advancement of global research in the Humanities and Social Sciences while strengthening its position as a hub for transformative research and innovation.
T-AP serves as a collaborative bridge between research funders in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) from South America, North America, and Europe. Its mission is to boost the capacity of funders, research organizations, and scholars to engage in international research collaborations. This is facilitated by identifying shared challenges, promoting a culture of collaboration in HSS research, issuing joint research calls, fostering the formation of networks, and encouraging interdisciplinary studies. Moreover, T-AP aims to highlight the essential role played by social sciences and humanities in addressing the challenges of the 21st century.
Article by Jed Mwangi