Chief Research Specialist

Reference # Ref No: IM/CRS/0721
Published 29/07/2021
Contract Type Contract
5 Years
Salary Market Related
Location Nationwide, Nationwide, South Africa
Duration 5 Years
In delivering ‘social science that makes a difference’, the Research Programmes of the Human Sciences Research Council initiate and undertake policy-oriented research projects and programmes from its offices in Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. Its public-purpose mandate is set out in the Human Sciences Research Council Act of 2008.

The Impact Centre draws on diverse perspectives, skills and partnerships to generate, measure and communicate impactful research on critical challenges facing South Africa and the world.
In fulfilling the HSRC’s public good mandate, the Impact Centre will conduct rigorous, creative and relevant impact research for the public good; conduct large-scale quantitative and representative surveys that are the basis for complex data analytics, modelling and simulations and leverage a wide range of expertise, convene multi-stakeholder forums, promote and produce evidence-informed understanding on impact.

The focus of the Science in Society unit is to undertake research about the science/society interface, and to generate knowledge resources and tools to build the HSRC’s impact capabilities. Knowledge resources include databases, research outputs, expertise, and new ideas about impact in the social sciences and humanities generally, and also as relevant to the HSRC. The unit undertakes both research and praxis, which form a mutually reinforcing knowledge and skills base. Research requires a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses, inter-alia, scholarship related to impact assessment, the research/policy nexus, and science communication. Praxis includes the development of the HSRC’s Policy Briefs, management of the HSRC Seminar series, and the implementation of a formal research/policy engagement structure (the Policy Action Network).

Chief Research Specialist the Science in Society Unit
X 1 Position
5- year contract appointment
Ref No: IM/CRS/0721

The Impact Centre seeks to appoint a Chief Research Specialist on a 5-year contract. We are looking for an accomplished candidate with experience of policy-relevant research to support the work programme in the science in society unit and the Impact Centre as a whole. The level of the appointment will depend on the mix of qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.
Job Functions Other Research Development, Science and Scientific Research,Research and Development
Industries Research
Key Responsibilities:
•Develop a programme of work in the Science in Society unit in research impact, science communication, the public
understanding of science, science policy, and innovation systems;
•Build visible national, continental and international research partnerships that result in collaborative and multidisciplinary
studies and high quality publications;
•Develop opportunities for fund raising to support your programme of work;
•Conduct good quality research, analysis and evaluation (using qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies) that has both
strategic and policy relevance;
•Network with major users and funders of social science research to understand their research needs;
•Design programmes for problem-oriented interdisciplinary research;
•Manage research teams and large scale long term research projects;
•Deliver high-quality results and reports to budget and deadline;
•Communicate research findings and publishing in refereed journals;
•Build national and international research links; and
•Mentor junior researchers

Key Requirements:
•A doctorate in the social sciences or related disciplines;
•At least 6 years’ experience as a senior academic;
•A strong record of published research with up to 7 peer-reviewed articles in both local and international journals – several of which should be first authored;
•Expertise in one of the priority research areas of the Impact Centre: research impact, science communication, the public understanding of science, science policy, and innovation systems;
•Experience synthesising research and/or facilitating knowledge transfer to support public policy decision-making would be an advantage.
•Intellectual and personal integrity, imagination and drive;
•A strong user orientation, based on a commitment to social research that makes a difference;
•The ability and enthusiasm to lead research teams involved in large-scale multidisciplinary research, to manage research teams, and to mentor and train their members; and
•The versatility to apply quantitative and qualitative methodologies to challenging subject matter across disciplinary boundaries.
The HSRC offers a fixed salary packages on positions. Applicants must be South African citizens. The HSRC is committed to accelerating the improvement in the proportion of its staff who are black, female or disabled.


In your application, please include (1) a letter of motivation; (2) a comprehensive CV; (3) three copies of sole/first authored peer reviewed publications; and (4) the names of three contactable referees (with mobile/telephone, e-mail and fax contact details). Please indicate the specific position you are applying for and include the reference number. The HSRC will only consider applications that comply with the above requirements. Applicants may be required to undertake a written exercise in the competencies required for the position.

Please submit your application on-line at http://hsrc.jb.skillsmapafrica.com/

Please note the following:

•Ensure you use Google Chrome or Firefox from a computer or laptop, and not a cell phone
•Only your CV can be uploaded on the first page after you have registered/logged in.
•ALL OTHER DOCUMENTS can be uploaded on the “Document” tab on your profile
•Attachments must be less than 2 MB.
•Should you experience problems applying online, please send your applications to [email protected] Clearly indicate the reference number in the subject line.

For further enquiries, and not applications, please contact Prof Heidi van Rooyen on email [email protected]
The HSRC is committed to accelerating the improvement in the proportion of its senior managers and research and administrative staff who are black, female or disabled.

Closing date: 06 August 2021. We encourage applicants to submit applications before that date.

Applicants who have not been contacted within eight weeks after the closing date should assume that their applications have been unsuccessful. Only interviewed candidates will be notified of the outcome of their applications.


Job Closing Date 06/08/2021
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Last Updated: 30-6-2021 []
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