Universities South Africa and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) honoured two teams from the Faculty of Humanities at the Univesity of Johannesburg (UJ) for engaged scholarship, awarding them the Medal for Social Sciences and Humanities at aceremony held on Tuesday, 12 April 2022, at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice in Menlyn, Pretoria.
The team at the Africa Centre for Evidence, led by Prof Ruth Stewart, received recognition for their commitment to participation and diversity and their commitment to partnerships and relationships in all they do.
Their value-based approach drives their work to reduce poverty and inequality in Africa through greater use of evidence in decision-making. They have completed over 75 projects supporting evidence-informed social policy across a wide range of sectors, from agriculture to transport and education.
The Centre for Social Change, led by Prof Carin Runciman, received the award in recognition of their partnership with the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division on the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 Democracy survey. The partnership was created out of the mutual recognition of the need for rapid response social science research that could inform the pandemic response. The research has helped to inform government on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, vaccine mandates and structural barriers to vaccination.
Forty- four scholars were nominated in three categories of this award, namely Established Researchers, Emerging Researchers and Research Teams. In addition, Prof Keyan Tomaselli, also from the Faculty of Humanities and Prof Prof Habib Noorbhai, from the Faculty of Health Sciences, were both finalists in the Established Researchers category.
This is the seventh HSRC-USAf Medal for the Social Sciences and Humanities ceremony to be hosted since the inception of this project in 2016. The HSRC Medal is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to scholarship in the social sciences and humanities through their research. The awards aim to anchor and celebrate the social sciences’ role in understanding societal issues and informing policy and programmes to improve people’s lives.