C3? Is that some kind of high explosive? No, no, no you can relax.
In South Africa, we have this parastatal called the National Research Foundation. One of its functions is to rate researchers.
I’ve held out against this as long as I could. Really, I have deep problems with the idea of putting researchers on different levels.But Unisa is pressurising us to get ourselves rated. At other South African universities, it is worse: you don’t make full professor there without a rating.
So in November last year I bowed to the inevitable and spent that month fighting with the NRF website (a design nightmare). It’s sort of nice to know that I didn’t waste my time completely: I am now a C3 rated researcher. Also, it means a little more money. Nothing wrong with that: I have a son with a toy car habit to support.
C3 is not great: It is in fact right at the bottom of the range, sort of like getting your school report and reading “Michel passes, but he must try harder next term”. The system goes up to A1, which amounts to being a worldwide household name. If Stephen Hawking was a South African researcher, he’d be rated A1.
But even a starter pack rating gets the university off my back. Now back to some real research work.