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Human Sciences Research Council

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:

  • Africa Institute of South Africa
  • Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery
  • Economic Performance and Development
  • Education and Skills Development
  • Human and Social Development
  • Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation
  • Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB.

A cross-cutting entity, Research Use and Impact Assessment, seeks to extend and enhance the use and impact of scientific research from the HSRC and other sources of research; and to manage the HSRC’s relationships, reputation and brand.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 61 articles

A culture of better service and use of minimal force are key to improving public confidence in the South African Police Service. GCIS/Flickr

South Africans have low trust in their police. Here’s why

Perceptions that South African police treat people disrespectfully, lack impartiality or transparency, and are prone to brutality undermine public confidence in them.
A man gets vaccinated at the recent launch by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a vaccination campaign. in Katlehong, Gauteng Province. GCIS/Flickr

Human rights and COVID restrictions: what South Africans are willing to give up

Most adults were prepared to sacrifice their rights to ensure the safety and health of all during the pandemic, averaging 74%.
Residents clean up the streets and local businesses after looting incidents in Alexandra, Johannesburg. EFE-EPA/Kim Ludbrook

What lies behind social unrest in South Africa, and what might be done about it

Much of the commentary on the July riots, which cost over 300 lives and billions of rands in damage to the economy, has neglected the long history of violent protests in the country.
Examining the impact of school closures on educational outcomes. GettyImages

Counting the cost of lost schooling in South Africa

While the loss of contact learning time can be quantified, it’s more difficult to quantify the effect of school closures on learning outcomes.
Demolition of uninhabited shacks in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, Cape Town, August 6, 2020. The land, which was to be developed as a community facility for neighbouring communities, has been illegally occupied by people who have been demarcating plots and building informal settlements. Rodger Bosch/AFP

Can social housing help South Africa overcome its legacy of apartheid?

Despite millions of free homes built since 1994, spatial inequality in South Africa remains high. A study evaluating a programme to boost rentals in well-located areas found mixed results, however.
Démolition de cabanes inhabitées à Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, au Cap, le 6 août 2020. Ce terrain, qui devait être aménagé pour accueillir des équipements collectifs destinés aux communautés voisines, a été occupé illégalement par des personnes qui ont délimité des parcelles et construit des habitations informelles. Rodger Bosch/AFP

En Afrique du Sud, le logement social peut-il aider à dépasser enfin l’héritage de l’apartheid ?

Analyse des effets d’un ambitieux programme de logement social mis en place en Afrique du Sud en 2006.
The graves of the victims of the Sharpeville massacre tell a grim story. Frank Trimbos/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Survey shows ignorance about big moments in South Africa’s history – like the Sharpeville massacre

The low levels of familiarity with key historical events indicate that there are serious shortcomings in the development of national collective memory in South Africa.

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