Africa’s largest social sciences research institute gets new CEO

Professor Sarah Mosoetsa. Picture: Supplied

Professor Sarah Mosoetsa. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 31, 2022


The board of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has announced the appointment of Professor Sarah Mosoetsa as its new chief executive officer, effective from February next year.

Prof Mosoetsa will vacate her role as chief executive at the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) to take up the post at the HSRC.

The HSRC is the largest dedicated social sciences and humanities research institute on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Its mandate is to inform government policy; evaluate policy implementation; stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research; foster research collaboration; and, help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

Before her appointment, Prof Mosoetsa was instrumental in establishing and setting up the NIHSS in 2013, and has held the position as its chief executive since 2014.

She has a doctorate in sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand, where she is an associate professor of sociology. Prof Mosoetsa is also the author of several publications, including, among others, "Eating from One Pot: Dynamics of Survival in Poor South African Households", as well as co-editor of the ILO publication, "Labour in the Global South: Challenges and Alternatives for Workers" and co-editor of the Cambridge University Press publication, "Precarious Labor in Global Perspective".

She has worked for various organisations, including the Society, Work and Politics Institute, the HSRC and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Prof Mosoetsa currently sits on various boards and committees, among others, the National Minimum Wage Commission, the National Research Foundation board, the University of South Africa council, the University of Venda council and the advisory board for the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies.

According to a statement issued by the HSRC, Prof Mosoetsa is passionate about the humanities and social sciences in South Africa, the continent and the globe, as well as their contribution to societies grappling with the challenges of poverty and inequality, economic transformation and redress.

HSRC board chairperson Dr Cassius Lubisi congratulated Prof Mosoetsa on her appointment as chief executive.

“The HSRC is proud to welcome her and to share in and benefit from her thought leadership, her pursuit of excellence and her people-centric approach to organisational culture, and we look forward to working alongside her over the next five years.”

The board also thanked Professor Leickness Simbayi for his “capable and enduring leadership” as interim chief executive since the departure of the former head, Professor Crain Soudien.

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