The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Universities South Africa (USAf), annually award and acknowledge scholars who have made an outstanding contribution to the social sciences and humanities through their research.
The 2022/23 HSRC/USAf CEOs’ Awards aim to recognise research excellence under the “Social Justice” theme. Social sciences and humanities research influence and direct policymakers on how to improve socio-political and economic experiences. This year’s theme seeks to identify innovative research projects that are centred on analysing social justice inquiry, theories and practice aimed at achieving transformative impact in communities – socially, scientifically and otherwise. As such, the awards will recognise scholars and researchers who approach social justice issues using sharpened analytical lenses, rigorous conceptualisation, and research methods characterised by meaningful engagement with their peers and the affected communities. These researchers focus on questions related to policies or interventions aimed at addressing inequities, inequalities, unemployment and poverty, and their work must include proposed solutions.
Marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and communities are disproportionately affected by social injustices; however, research frameworks often do not consider complex and unique local contexts. Dominated by Western paradigms, approaches often fail to consider that, even within these groups, narratives differ and so will the solutions. The current times require scholars, researchers and institutions to prioritise progressive and transformative discussions and debates aimed at truly understanding social issues, and how research in the area of social justice can be powerful and meaningful.
As inequality and poverty deepen, the gap between social classes widens. Social justice is a rallying cry for progressive thinkers and activists; and the HSRC/USAF 2022/23 Awards will celebrate and acknowledge scholars contributing toward achieving goal 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015, aimed at reducing inequality within and among countries.