The New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) is a prestigious programme under the Department of Higher Education and Training (the Department) which involves the recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics. The recruitment of these academics is based on carefully designed and balanced equity considerations and in light of the disciplinary areas of greatest need in the higher education system. The nGAP is currently the biggest programme within the Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework (SSAUF), a university staff development component under the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP).

The UCDP is an integrated, people-focused and transformative programme designed to address capacity development at all levels and areas (research, teaching and curriculum/programme development) with a view to address access and success in South Africa’s public universities. The UCDP is made up of 3 core components, namely: student development, staff development, and programme/curriculum development. The programme operates at the nexus of quality, equity and success in universities.

The nGAP is implemented in partnership with all 26 public universities in South Africa. The programme was introduced in 2015 and so far a total of 373 posts (125 in 2015, 79 in 2016, 58 in 2017 and 111 in 2018) have been allocated to universities.
The most important features of the programme are that successful applicants are appointed into permanent posts firmly factored into long-term staffing plans right from the outset, and appointments are governed by contracts which clearly spell out the expectations, obligations, roles and responsibilities of the employing university and of the newly appointed academic.
The programme is recurrent, and successive cohorts of nGAP appointees are taken on at intervals that are determined by fund availability. The number of posts that are made available, and the intervals between successive cohorts, are determined by the ability of the Department to source funding for successive cohorts.
The nGAP covers a six year period for each cohort taken onto the programme, covering a 3-year development programme plus 3 years induction thereafter. The nGAP is structured as follows:

  • a Development Programme of 3 years duration (with the possibility of the programme being tailored to meet the needs of individuals);
  • three years induction after successful completion of the Development Programme; and
  • continuing permanent employment at the appointing institution thereafter.

The nGAP is summarised in the table below:

Table 1: The New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP)


Stage 1
Development Programme

Stage 2
Induction and early career development

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6



[reduced work load -]

[reduced work load-]

[reduced work load-]

[increasing work load -]

[full work load]

[full work load]

Doctoral/Post-Doctoral Study

PhD possibly still completing



Participation in development activities as part of the SSAU-UP







Research Study Costs

Contributions towards the lecturer’s research study costs

International mobility

The intention is to support one international mobility opportunity, to take place at a point where it will have maximum benefit for the development of the nGAP lecturer

Government carries the full cost of the post for the first 3 years, with cost-sharing mechanisms between government and the appointing university from the fourth year of the programme.
Institutions are required to bear the full employment costs for the post after 6 years. This requires institutions to develop long-term staffing plans, taking into account equity, enrolment and strategic size and shape plans (including growth), anticipated retirements of staff, and the usual attrition rates over and above retirements. Institutions showed convincing evidence of this planning provision before they were awarded nGAP posts.
Posts approved for support at all the universities are used to create a composite nGAP advertisement, which is advertised nationally (Mail and Guardian newspaper and in the Sunday Times newspaper). At institutional level, the posts are advertised through various platforms, including electronic and print-based media, in order to solicit applications. The advertisement clearly indicates that the posts are institution-based and are permanent posts. The composite advertisement for 2018 can be accessed here. [please place the link here and also at the bottom of the page]
Applicants are encouraged to apply for as many posts as they wish.

A set of criteria that includes equity goals, academic merit, and institutional and national priorities linked to the transformational agenda of the SSAUF, as well as other imperatives, guides the selection of nGAP academics. Selection for nGAP posts takes place at university level and happens through the regular university selection process conducted by the institution, with the Department representative with observer status participating in the recruitment process.
Performance contracts are put in place between the appointed nGAP academic and the university that clearly stipulating obligations, expectations, roles and responsibilities. Contracts set out matters such as the need to participate successfully in the SSAU Development Programme, the academics’ workload and spells out expectations in relation to registration for a PhD. Should the nGAP academic already have a doctoral degree, a higher workload could be negotiated - however, participation in the SSAU Development Programme remains required. It should be noted that nGAP appointees may register to study at an institution of their choosing: it does not have to be the institution to which they are appointed as staff members.
nGAP academics undertake a reduced workload, with a spread of responsibilities and levels (in other words, the teaching experience should not be restricted to first year level).
All nGAP academics are assigned a mentor for the duration of their participation in the programme. The mentor's role includes keeping close track of agreed developmental milestones and plans. Mentors are envisaged to be experienced and successful academics: if necessary, recently retired academics may be contracted as mentors. The duties of mentors include providing: assistance with the preparation of a personal plan for professional development; assisting where necessary with the process of registering for a PhD, assistance with such matters as personal problems, time management, and financial management; and opportunities for reflective discussions on teaching and research experiences, opportunities and challenges.

Universities are expected to provide an annual report to the Department on the progress of nGAP academics at the end of each year of the six year cycle.

Should an nGAP academic choose, on successful completion of the programme, to leave his/her home university and work at another South African university, the new university employer would need to repay reasonable SSAU-DP costs to the state. Should an nGAP academic choose, on successful completion of the programme or during the course of the programme, not to pursue an academic career, s/he or her/his employer would need to repay reasonable SSAU-DP costs to the state. If the nGAP academic drops out of the programme, s/he would need to repay costs on a pro rata basis. These conditions are built into employment contracts.

The workload for the nGAP lecturer who already holds a doctoral degree and who may embark on post-doctoral studies should be negotiated. Workload includes the overall work done by a lecturer (i.e. preparation for lectures, research, marking, administrative work)