Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa)

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The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa primarily conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, for non governmental organisations and international development agencies in support of development nationally, in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in Africa.

The HSRC also seeks to contribute to the research and development strategy of the HSRC's parent Department of Science and Technology, especially through its mission to focus on the contribution of science and technology to addressing poverty.

In recent years the HSRC has undergone major restructuring, aligning its research activities and structures to South Africa's national development priorities: notably poverty reduction through economic development, skills enhancement, job creation, the elimination of discrimination and inequalities, and effective service delivery. In essence, the HSRC will be looking at the following broad dimensions of Poverty, Inequality and Inclusive Development under the following banners, which are:

  • Economic Inclusion: including growth, competitiveness, regional integration, infrastructure, technological innovation ICT, resources (natural, human, land), labour markets and spatial dynamics (urbanisation, agglomeration, density);
  • Social Development: including well-being (quality of life, security, social and spatial mobility, migration), human capabilities (education, skills, health, etc.), social relationships (race, class, gender, identity, etc.), social institutions and cohesion (family, community, etc.);
  • Governance and Decision-making: including political participation, democracy, trust-building, nurturing legitimacy in public structures, capacity-building in the state, enhancing leadership, distributing power, accountability, responsiveness, social movements, multi-level government and coordinated decision-making.

It currently comprises more than 200 researchers and 250 support staff in five different centres, across several multi-disciplinary research programmes, namely:

  • Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA)
  • BRICS Research Centre (BRC)
  • Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII)
  • Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
  • Economic and Performance Development (EPD)
  • Education and Skills Development (ESD)
  • HIV/AIDS, STI's and TB (HAST)
  • Human and Social Development (HSD)
  • Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation (PHHSI)
  • Research Use and Impact Assessment (RIA)

The HSRC is a statutory body which was established in 1968; its CEO is Prof. Crain Soudien and its Director of Communications is Mr. Julian Jacobs.

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