Guidelines for Completing Research Permit Application

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This document provides information needed by a person who wishes to apply for a permit to conduct research in Botswana. Such persons are advised to read it carefully and to follow the various procedures outlined. These guidelines reflect the country’s national research policy. The document was drafted by an Ad Hoc Research Coordinating Committee convened by the National Institute of Research and approved by the Office of the President.

Applications for a research permission should be directed to:

  • The Permanent Secretary
    Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
    Private Bag 002
National Research Policy

The following guidelines apply to researchers who are conducting research under the Anthropological Research Act 1967 (Appendix 1) and/or the National Monuments and Relics Act 19 (Appendix 2).

  1. Introduction
    Botswana is a multi-party democratic state committed to freedom of speech and open dialogue. The nation is founded on the four principles of Democracy, Development, Self-Reliance and Unity” which aim to achieve social harmony and give rise to four main development objectives:

    “Rapid Economic Growth, Social Justice, Economic Independence and Sustained Development.”

    Botswana believes that Democracy is expressed through an open approach to research. Such research is closely linked with Development, and is manifested through co-operation between researchers and Government. Furthermore, consistent with the principles of Self-Reliance, the Government is anxious to build up a strong local research capacity.

    While development-oriented research is obviously a priority, in the interest of expanding knowledge in various fields research of a more academic and theoretical nature is permitted wherever possible.

    Botswana has adopted an open research policy and encourages research. However, it is a small country in terms of manpower, resources and population and is open to the dangers of being over-researched in certain areas. Also, in the past, many researchers have left the country without depositing copies of their findings. For this reason all research is now subject to careful evaluation. Priority must be given to local institutional research and to research which is of maximum benefit to the nation. Areas and subjects not previously extensively studies, as well as to subjects of specific value for the country. At the same time the issue of a research permit depends upon the qualifications, references, institutional and financial support of the researcher, and the clarity and soundness of the research proposal.

    It should be noted that not every application, however well substantiated, will necessarily meet with Government approval. We hope that prospective researchers will understand the reasons for these precautions, and voluntarily comply with the spirit as well as the latter of these Guidelines for Research.

  2. Methods of Application

    Written consultation must be initiated with the relevant Government Department, research institution or another relevant body in Botswana before finalized funding proposals are submitted to a granting agency. A copy of the first correspondence in which the research theme is outlined should be sent to the Office of the President.

    By following these procedures, it is hoped that duplication of correspondence will be eliminated, and that research can be tailored to provide maximum benefit both to Botswana and the researcher. (For a list of Ministries/Departments and other institutions with special research guidelines see Appendix 3). In cases of where uncertainty exists as to whom any correspondence should be directed, please contact the Director of the National Institute of Research (Private Bag 0022, Gaborone).

    Once the relevant body in Botswana has either reached agreement with the researcher on the broad aims of the project or expressed its support, then the finalized proposal must be submitted to:

    • The Permanent Secretary
      Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs
      Private Bag 002, Gaborone

    It must be emphasized that even at this stage and although general agreements has been reached with the relevant body in Botswana the issue of a research permit is not necessarily automatic.

  3. Documents to Accompany the Application

    The application for a research permit must be accompanied by a completed application form (5 copies), which are available at the following places:

    • The Office of the President +
    • The Botswana High Commission in the United Kingdom++
    • The Botswana Embassy in the United States++
    • The Botswana High Commission in Zambia++
    • The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Botswana to the United Nations++
    • The National Institute of Research+
    • The National Museum and Art Gallery+

    An example of the application form is annexed to this document (Appendix 5).

    Completed application forms must be accompanied by:

    1. A Letter of endorsement from the applicant’s sponsoring Institution, Funding Agency or, if the applicant is not affiliated to any Institution from a person of professional standing in the field of the applicant’s discipline, supporting the application and providing assurance that the research will conform to those Guidelines.
    2. Where appropriate a preliminary list of titles for short issue papers and/or progress reports to be submitted to Government during field work with approximate dates (see also Section 5.1 and 5.4 of these Guidelines).
  4. Residence Permit

    All applicants, other than citizens of Botswana, are required under the Immigration Act to obtain a temporary residence permit PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN BOTSWANA. It is against regulations for visitors to change their visitor’s permit into a temporary residence permit while visiting Botswana. Applicants in the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia and Belgium should apply to the Botswana High Commission or Embassy. In respect of all other countries, applications for a residence permit should be made to: -

    • The Chief Immigration Officer
      PO Box 942
      Gaborone, Botswana

    In making this application, a copy of any agreement by the Office of the President on the research proposal should be attached.

  5. Requirements Within Botswana

    5.1 The Government and/or the University reserve the right to second staff or students to work with the researcher. The main purpose behind this is to provide training, but any person seconded will be expected to take an active part in the research programmes, act as a liaison officer with the public, help with interpretation, etc. The responsibility of basic remuneration of such staff lies with the Government and/or the University.

    5.2 Where the researcher wishes for his/her own part to obtain assistance from the University College of Botswana (UB) applications should be directed to the relevant department at the University, Private Bag 0022, Gaborone. In these cases remuneration should be in keeping with the Government and UB rates for student holiday employment.

    5.3 The Government and/or the responsible institution will have the right to visit the researcher at any reasonable time and/or designate a reference group to which the researcher will be responsible to ensure that the general terms of any permit issued are being observed.

    5.4 Quarterly Progress Reports

    Every 3 months a progress report, which shall include short descriptions of investigations and findings, will be submitted either to the relevant department or institution, or to the Office of the President as appropriate.

    5.5 Interim Reports Prior to Departure From Botswana

    Before leaving the country the researcher must provide a preliminary report, which will detail all findings but which will not absolve him/her from submitting later work accepted for publication, thesis etc. If so required the researcher will present a seminar, and/or a paper for local publication.

    5.6 Statutory Deposits of Resulting Publications

    Five copies of all publications including the thesis resulting from the research will be submitted for deposit at the National Archives, the NIR, the Botswana National Library Service (1 copy each) and to the affiliating body in Botswana (2 copies) within two months after the date of publication.

    5.7 Cash Deposit

    Recognizing that the results of research are of interest and value to the Government of Botswana as well as to the researcher, the Office of the President requires a cash deposit as surety against receipt of the requisite reports and publications stipulated in paragraph 5.4 and 5.5 of the Guidelines for Research. The mount of deposit will normally be equivalent to 5% off the total budget for the research project, provided that is will not be less than P100 nor will it exceed P1000. The deposit is returnable on satisfactory fulfillment of the researcher’s obligation to Botswana. In certain exceptional cases a deposit may not be required.

  6. Special Guidelines

    Several Government Departments and other Institutions such as the Department of Wildlife and Tourism, the Rural Sociology Unit, the National Museum and the University have their own requirements. These are drawn up in the form of Guidelines requirements. These are drawn up in the form of Guidelines and must be obtained from the relevant body prior to the formulation of the research proposal. These guidelines form an integral part of the research permit and non-compliance with them may result in the permit being withdrawn.

  7. Additional Information

    A pamphlet entitled “Practical Information on Botswana for Researchers” is available at the Office of the President, National Institute of Research or at the embassies of Botswana abroad.

+ Botswana-based agencies (See Appendix 4 for addresses)

++ Botswana Diplomatic Mission Abroad