What We Do

“As South Africans we can achieve anything we wish, including putting human and social science research into action, as we put our minds to it and work together with a common purpose to uplift our people beyond inequality and gender differences.”

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

The HSRC’s integrated research programmes provide single points of entry – complete with a critical mass of researchers – for interdisciplinary and problem-orientated research in the following areas:

Research Programmes

Africa Institute of South Africa
Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators
Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery

Economic Performance and Development

Education and Skills Development
HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB
(including the Africa-wide research network SAHARA)
Human and Social Development
Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation

Publishing

The HSRC Press, the publishing arm of the HSRC, is South Africa's only open access publisher and is committed to the dissemination of high quality, social science research-based publications, in print and electronic form. HSRC Press publishes the research output of the HSRC as well as externally authored works. A formal peer-review process guarantees the highest academic quality and the Press has a very active local and international marketing programme, in addition to collaborating with foreign publishers on specific titles.

Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan

Our strategic documents are available for download as per good governance principles and requirements. They can be accessed here.