PhD Research Intern



The Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research programme conducts scientific research towards understanding the institutions and practices of democracy, governance and citizenship so that appropriate interventions can be made, and practical solutions generated, in overcoming the challenges South Africa faces.. Gender mainstreaming is required in all research projects and initiatives as per the HSRC mandate. The thematic research thrusts of the programme themes coalesce around:
Democracy, governance, social cohesion and citizenship, human rights and the rule of law, access to justice, Africa and the global South, service delivery and traditional leadership, public service reform, local government reform, crime and corruption, democratisation and state capacity and South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS).

The internship experience is intensive and seeks mature individuals who are able to work independently as well as in a team. The appointed intern will develop her/his research expertise by working with experts and project specialists.

The successful applicant will be based in Pretoria, Durban or Cape Town and will be employed on a fixed-term, 3 year contract.


    • In addition to completing their degrees, research interns are required to participate in all aspects of the research process as they work on research projects. Among other duties, they will participate in the following activities under supervision:
  • The conceptualisation and execution of research projects;
  • The formulation of research questions and funding proposals;
  • The submission of research proposals for ethical review;
  • Data collection and analysis;
  • Write up of research including manuscripts for publication, conference presentations, and research reports;
  • Assist with administrative matters in the research environment.


    • Applicants for the PhD internship must have graduated with a Master’s degree and be registered (preferable) or be in the process of registering for a PhD in the Social Sciences/Humanities;
    • Successful candidate not yet registered for a PhD, must do so within 6 months of joining the HSRC;
    • Candidates must have an interest in one of the priority research areas of DGSD; preference will be given to candidates who have a strong background and research focus in the Humanities on issues of poverty and inequality;
    • Computer literacy including MS Office, Outlook and Excel and related applications;
    • Good planning and organisational skills, including working well under pressure;
    • Sound communication skills (verbal as well as report writing);
    • A sound conceptual grounding in the discipline and in research methods, qualitative or quantitative;
    • Applicants must be South African citizens or citizens of an African country already registered at a recognised South African tertiary institution.
    • APPLICATIONS In your application please include:
    • (1) a one page letter of motivation indicating your suitability for the position; (2) MA degree certificate or certified proof of completion if the certificate has not been issued yet; (3) your CV, that must include your South African citizenship or residency status, and expected date of submission of your thesis; (4) published article in an academic journal or a writing sample, as well as a one-page outline of your PhD thesis; (5) proof of registration for PhD if applicable; and (6) the details of three recent referees with telephone, fax or e-mail contact details.
    • The HSRC will only consider applications that include the above requirements. Applicants will be required to undertake a written exercise in the competencies required for the position. The HSRC is committed to accelerating the proportion of its researchers who are black, female or persons with disabilities.
    • Please submit your application on-line at
    • 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 profi
    • Attachments must be less than 2 MB.
    • Should you encounter challenges in applying for this post please contact Skillsmap directly – for Telephonic support: +27 12 420 7200; for Email support: [email protected]
    • The HSRC is committed to accelerating the improvement in the proportion of its senior managers and research leaders who are black, female or living with disabilities.
    • We encourage applicants to submit prior to this date. Applicants who have not been contacted within eight weeks should assume that their applications have been unsuccessful. Only interviewed candidates will be informed of the outcome of their applications.
    • Details about the HSRC can be found on:


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