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The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa primarily conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non governmental organisations and international development agencies in support of development nationally, in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in Africa.

The HSRC also seeks to contribute to the research and development strategy of the HSRC's parent Department of Science and Technology, especially through its mission to focus on the contribution of science and technology to addressing poverty.

In recent years the HSRC has undergone major restructuring, aligning 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. It currently comprises more than 130 researchers and 100 support staff in five different centres, across ten multi-disciplinary research programmes.

The HSRC is a statutory body established in 1968; its President and CEO is Dr. Olive Shisana and its council is chaired by Professor Jakes Gerwel.

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