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NIHSS Strategic Plan 2015/16 - 2019/20

NIHSS STRATEGIC PLAN 2015/16 – 2019/20


The NIHSS strategic plan relates to the period 2015–2020, with 2015/16 as the first fiscal year in the five-year cycle.

In attempting to impact on and ‘correct’ the performance trajectory of the humanities and the social sciences, the plan focuses on the university system as a whole, because scholarship and its management are deeply relational. Similarly, in addressing problems and dilemmas that are pock-marking the national landscape, we are cognisant of the fact that we are reflecting on processes under way across the planet, for reasons that have to do with structural changes in the global economy, new divisions of labour between regions, and new forms of knowledge production, innovation and dissemination.

Nevertheless, our proposals, as we describe them in the Strategic Objectives and through various implementation programmes, will have transformative and far-reaching implications.


Our vision is a new Humanities and the Social Sciences that is an epicentre of scholarship, pedagogy, community practice and social responsibility in Africa. The NIHSS also envisions that our tertiary system will be an equal partner in the world’s knowledge production and dissemination alongside centres of excellence in the North and the Global South.

The Institute seeks to advance and coordinate scholarship, research and ethical practice in the fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) within and through the existing public universities and those to be established or declared in future as public universities. The NIHSS mission is to redress existing deficits and to coordinate programmes, projects, collaborations and activities in the HSS disciplines within and through existing and future public universities. The NIHSS is a statutory body established December 5, 2013 in accordance with section 69, read with sections 38A, 38B, and 38C of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No.101 of 1997). The Institute aims to contribute significantly to ensuring the excellence, integrity and dynamism of the HSS, through its core functions of enhancing and coordinating scholarship, research and ethical practice in the HSS fields.

The Institute will fulfil its mission – alone and/or in partnership – by doing the following:

-          Providing strategic and intellectual resources to the higher education sphere within the Humanities and Social Sciences;

-          Advancing research, teaching, and learning by ensuring collaboration and/or coordination of the work of higher education institutions;

-          Advising the Minister of Higher Education and Training on matters relating to the Institute’s strategic objectives, or on policy affecting teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences and higher education generally; and

-          Advocating equity, justice and social responsibility.


The Institute will achieve its mandate through the following Strategic Objectives and implementation programmes:





1.      Advance postgraduate scholarship through a range of innovations


Doctoral Scholarships Programme (NIHSS-SAHUDA)

African Pathways Programme (NIHSS-CODESRIA Scholarships)

National Mentorship Programme

Regional Doctoral workshops

National Doctoral Conference

2.    Dynamise the fields of research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences in South Africa through a range of Catalytic Projects and Humanities Hubs

Catalytic Research Programme

Humanities Hubs

3.    Promote the integrity, reputation and recognition of the HSS within the higher education community and the science and technology community

Working Groups

Professional Associations

4.    Build and strengthen networks and partnerships with organisations working in areas related to the humanities and social sciences

Strategic initiatives (HSS Awards, colloquiums, conferences, joint publications)

5.    Foster international research collaborations between South Africa and countries of the Global South

African Pathways Programme (Research and partnerships)

6.    Act as a dymanic broker between the worlds of knowledge and policy action.

BRICS Programme (Research, SABTT and BTTC)

7.    Coordinate and manage all BRICS Think Tank related activities on behalf of South Africa