Mission, Vision and Values

The HSRC is a non-partisan, public-purpose organisation that generates scientific knowledge through its research and analytical work in the social and human sciences.

It undertakes and promotes research that is often large-scale, multi-year, and collaborative in nature. It produces high-quality scientific evidence to inform further analysis, debate, advocacy and decision-making by role players in government, the media, academia, and community-based groupings. The HSRC responds to the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups in society through its research. It develops and makes available data sets underpinning research, policy development and public discussion of developmental issues.

Through its work the HSRC aims to inform policy development and good practice, thereby making a difference to the lives of people in South Africa and in the mother continent.


The HSRC intends to serve as a knowledge hub for research-based solutions to inform human and social development in South Africa, the African continent and the rest of the world.

Mission statement

The HSRC is a research organisation that advances social sciences and humanities for public use.


At individual level, staff at the HSRC will be guided by the values of independence, non-discrimination, tolerance of diversity, honesty, integrity, respect, non-partisanship, innovation, diligence, responsiveness and collaboration. At institutional level, the HSRC will at all times strive to distinguish itself as separate from, yet often closely collaborating with, government, universities, NGOs, media, and advocacy groups; and to remain a scientific organisation whose work is viewed as authoritative and non-partisan. Quality, integrity and ethical conduct are essential hallmarks of HSRC work.


Social science that makes a difference