The HSRC will be a national, regional and global leader in the production and dissemination of transformative social science and humanities research in the interests of a just and equal society


The HSRC produces leading-edge policy research, through engaged scholarship, to utilise in understanding and  explaining social conditions and informing social change for inclusive growth in communities

Our Values


Respecting equality, embracing ideas, and speaking out against discrimination of any kind

Critical friendship

Pursuing non-partisanship but collaborating with all stakeholders, including the government


Conducting business honestly, diligently and underpinned by ethical principles, while embracing, but not abusing, intellectual freedom


Treating colleagues, stakeholders and members of the public with dignity and humility; observing organisational policies and processes; and preserving the environment and natural resources


Undertaking leading-edge research while remaining relevant.


Creating a safe and supportive working environment for colleagues

Our Mandate

The HSRC derives its mandate from the HSRC Act, Act 17 of 2008. Section 3 of the Act requires the HSRC to:

  • Initiate, undertake and foster strategic basic and applied research in human sciences, and to address developmental challenges in the republic, elsewhere in Africa and in the rest of the world by gathering, analysing and publishing data relevant to such challenges, especially by means of projects linked to public sector oriented collaborative programmes;
    • The Science and Technology Laws Amendment Act (Act 9 of 2020) expanded on this objective by providing for the Council to perform its functions in any territory outside of the Republic.
  • Inform the effective formulation and monitoring of policy, as well as evaluate the implementation thereof;
  • Stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of fact-based research results;
  • Help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences;
  • Foster research collaboration, networks and institutional linkages;
  • Respond to the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups in society through research and analysis of developmental issues, thus contributing to the improvement of the quality of their lives;
  • Develop and make available data sets underpinning research, policy development and public discussion of developmental issues; and
  • Develop new and improved methodologies for use in the development of such data sets.