The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) was established on 5 December 2013 as an independent statutory body in terms of Gazette No. 37118 vol. 582 and in accordance with Section 69 read with sections 38A, 38B, and 38C of the Higher Education Act (Act No 101 of 1997). The scope or application of the NIHSS will be to advance and coordinate scholarship, research and ethical practice in the fields of Humanities and the Social Sciences (HSS) within and through the existing public universities and those to be established or declared in future as public Universities.
The work of the NIHSS will be guided by the following principles: The principle of co-operation between institutions and the establishment of communities of scholarship in South Africa, Africa and international; The principle of norm-driven internationalisation, (co-operation and collaboration will not be for its own sake but on the basis of mutual respect and development); The principle of social responsibility and equity as enshrined or implied in the Constitution, and; The principle of functional differentiation as opposed to resource differentiation.