African Social Sciences Unit of Research and Evaluation

Developing African solutions by African Scientists through nuanced research and innovation

Johannesburg, South Africa

Academic development

Social fellowships
Masters and PHD programmes
Teaching and mentorship


Academic research

Social sciences research
Research collaborations


Capacity building

Mentorship, capacity building, and training


Technical advisory

Policy and Programme technical support
Proposal writing and coaching
Research and Academic Publications


Community engagement

Management of community advisory board



Grant writing and technical assistance

What we do?

We conduct in-depth social sciences research, provide programmatic support, conduct training and capacity building, and provide technical assistance to stakeholders in South Africa, Africa, and the world.

Current studies

Studies we are running at the moment


African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise


Vaccine information network


Prof Janan Dietrich


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SAMRC & IAS CIPHER Fellow, Director: Bio-Behavioural Research, PERINATAL HIV RESEARCH UNIT, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand.

Professor Janan Dietrich PhD (she/her) is an award winning and leading social and behavioral sciences Wits Researcher, the Director of the Bio-Behavioural Research Division at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) and co-founder of the newly formed African Social Sciences Unit of Research and Evaluation (ASSURE) of the Wits Health Consortium.

As the PHRU’S lead social scientist, she has been involved in health research for almost 17 years with specific expertise in HIV vaccines clinic research. Dietrich was also awarded funding through the Wits African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE) consortium to understand attitudes of healthcare workers about COVID-19 vaccines. In 2020/2021 she won a Great Leap Forward: Championing Health Innovation Award from the Wits Health Consortium.

Prof Janan is affiliated with the Health Systems Research Unit of the SAMRC and was the co-chair of the Southern African Social and Behavioural Group of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). Professor Janan is part of the Vaccine Safety and Confidence Building Working group of Columbia University, she has over 90 peer reviewed publications, she is a research psychologist working within clinical research and biomedical sciences

Dr Nellie Myburgh


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Dr Nellie Myburgh is a sociologist and head anthropologist of Wits VIDA (the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit).She is also co-founder and director of the African Social Sciences Unit of Research and Evaluation (ASSURE). Both are divisions under the Wits Health Consortium. Nellie holds a PhD degree in the Sociology of Health and has been adding to this discipline for well over two decades by way of designing and implementing mixed methods, specializing in qualitative, ethnographic, and phenomenological research.

She has a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Sociology) and Master of Arts (Sociology of Health) Degrees which she obtained from the University of Malawi and completed her Doctorate studies (Sociology), at the University of South Africa. Dr Nellie Myburgh has more than 22 years’ experience designing and implementing mixed methods research with specialization in qualitative, ethnographic, and phenomenological research methods.

For the past 20 years, she has been working in the field of social science conducting research in various areas of interest including: social, cultural, and economic issues; health (HIV and AIDS, TB; sexual reproductive health and rights; maternal and child health); youth; gender-based violence; gender equity and empowerment; socio-economic development; malnutrition; international migration; human rights; social justice; political participation of women, urbanization; and many more. Her research interests include gender (including equity, empowerment, and gender based violence issues), social development and policy, culture, maternal and child health, child malnutrition, vaccine acceptancy, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, agriculture and development, migration, human rights and social justice. Her research specialization is quantitative, qualitative, anthropological, ethnographical, and participatory research.

In Wits-VIDA, she provides social science methodological advice on a number of projects which are currently being undertaken including the Child Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Programme and Wits-VIDA.

Meet the rest of our team


Where we are

Our network spans all over Africa

In the news

Read about us and our work

Would you like to connect with us?

[email protected]
Floor 12, Nurses Home
Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital
South Africa