Improve your chances of a successful funding application.

Use our Funding Guidelines to improve your chances of success when applying for funding from GENUS.

General Guidelines

General guidelines are to help ensure your application is ready.

  • Avoid Plagiarism: Ensure your proposal is original and properly credits all sources. Plagiarism undermines the integrity of your research and will disqualify your application.
  • Utilise Available Resources: To prepare your application thoroughly, refer to the Funding Guidelines and FAQs for each grant on our website.
  • Be Mindful of Deadlines: Each grant has a different call for applications and closing dates. Double-check these dates before applying to ensure timeliness.
  • Institutional Affiliation: Ensure that you’re affiliated with an academic, research, or museum institution partnered with GENUS.
  • Clear Research Plan: Clearly state your rationale, hypotheses, and goals. Outline the methods for testing these hypotheses.
  • Include Pilot Study Results: If you’ve conducted a pilot study, include these findings in your application.
  • Literature Review: Thoroughly review and accurately cite related literature to support your research proposal.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Commitment: Demonstrate a strategy that promotes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment in Palaeoscience.
  • Proofread Your Application: Ensure your application is well-written and free of errors.
  • Visa Assurances for Non-South Africans: If you’re not a South African resident, provide assurances of obtaining the necessary visas for research.
  • Ethical Clearance: If applicable, obtain ethical clearance before the release of funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of grants does GENUS offer?

GENUS offers Postgraduate Bursaries (Honours, Masters, and Doctoral), Next Generation Palaeoscientist Postdoctoral Fellowships, We Dig Fossils Grants and GENUS Research Grants.

If I am not affiliated with a school, research, or museum institution, may I apply for a grant?

No. The applicant must be affiliated with one of our partner institutions.

What academic, research or museum partners are associated with GENUS?

GENUS comprises several key partners aligned to the development of Palaeosciences in South Africa. Our Partners include Nelson Mandela University, North-West University, University of Cape Town, University of the Free State, University of Pretoria, Rhodes University, University of the Witwatersrand, Albany Museum, Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, Iziko Museums of South Africa, and National Museum, Bloemfontein.

How do I know if my topic is eligible for funding?

GENUS supports research in Evolutionary Biology, Palaeontology, Palaeo-anthropology, Palaeobotany, Middle Stone Age Archaeology, Geochemistry, or other related disciplines to Palaeosciences. If you have further questions, email a brief summary of your project to

What types of research projects does GENUS Support?

GENUS funds Palaeoscience research that falls under four research themes: 1. Evolutionary Processes: This area of research centers on the study of evolutionary processes, biodiversity, and understanding the timing of evolutionary events within major clades. It involves analysing the global distribution of fossil taxa, as well as exploring the intricacies of functional morphology and key innovations in morphological evolution. 2. Cultural and Behavioural Evolution: Explores the pivotal shifts in material culture and behavioral patterns among early humans, elucidating their profound influence on the development of modern human behaviour. 3. Palaeo-environments and Palaeoclimates: Earth systems change dynamically, and when stretched beyond certain thresholds, lead to changes (and potentially collapses) in ecosystems and biodiversity. This theme uncovers the variability in the resilience of past ecosystems to fluxes through space and time. 4. Innovation: Using technologies to optimise the utilisation of fossils and archaeological material by enhancing efforts to explore, preserve, enhance, and research them is crucial. It is equally essential to seek out new, inventive methods for extracting and analysing information.

I received a previous award from GENUS Am I eligible to apply for another?

Yes, as long as you are fully compliant with the terms of your prior award.

What are the closing dates for GENUS applications?

The closing dates for the Postgraduate Bursaries are in late June or early July. Please refer to the NRF Online Submission System for specific dates. All other grants, Postdoctoral fellowship, We Dig Fossil Grant and GENUS Research Grant, open calls for applications on 01 August with a closing date of 30 September.

Does GENUS accept applications outside of the funding cycle?

No, we do not accept applications outside the funding cycle.

How is my application reviewed?

GENUS has a two-tier review process. The quality of your application is scored by two reviewers. The scores and your application then go to the GENUS Review Panel, composed of invited GENUS committee members and external panellists, where a final decision is made.

How and when should I receive the decision about my application?

You will be sent an outcome letter via the email address included in your application. If you haven’t heard by early February, please contact us at

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