I live in South Africa, I have some research work that holds very good financial potential. This research to be conducted will be done in a group headed by me, how can I protect my idea from being stolen? This research is available elsewhere but not in my country. What possibly, legally speaking can I do to protect my idea and research?
If you have your associates and others you work with sign an NDA, you could sue should a person violate it. This possibility might well deter unauthorized disclosures. In addition, this would be evidence that you regraded this as private work and had taken steps to protect it. In the US this is an essential element of getting trade secret protection. I don't know if that is also true in South Africa. But that should make it harder for anyone else to claim the work as theirs. But to be honest, people dishonestly trying to claim credit for someone else's research work is not nearly as common as you may fear.