South Africa

Human Science Research Council, Pretoria

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa is a statutory body, established in 1968. It supports development nationally, in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in Africa. It primarily conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies, in partnership with researchers globally, but specifically in Africa.

The HSRC aligns 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. To address all these key priorities the HSRC has consolidated its research capabilities into the following interdisciplinary, problem-orientated, research programmes:

  • Child, Youth and Family Development
  • Democracy and Governance
  • Education, Science and Skills Development
  • Social Aspects of HIV and AIDS and Health
  • Urban, Rural and Economic Development

In addition, a number of cross-cutting research initiatives supports the work of the HSRC as a whole, its research programmes, as well external stakeholders. Examples of cross-cutting units include the capacity development unit, the gender development unit and the knowledge management unit.

The Human Sciences Research Council has been conducting the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) on an annual basis since August 2003. SASAS is a nationally representative sample survey that gathers information on the public’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviour patterns and values. The long term aim of this survey programme is to construct an empirical evidence base that enables us to track and explain the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of the country’s diverse populations. This survey also hosts the annual ISSP modules.

The outputs of research projects include reports for users, occasional papers, and scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals or books.