The Journey of a SSHRC application | e-Learning module transcript


The journey of a SSHRC application

Have you ever wondered what happens after you submit your application to SSHRC?


You submit your application


We verify eligibility


We conduct a merit review


And finally, you receive the results

STEP 1 Submitting your application

Applications are submitted to SSHRC via online forms, the Research Portal, or mail, depending on the funding opportunity.

For most funding opportunities, applicants apply through one of almost 200 institutions or organizations eligible to administer SSHRC funds with which they’re affiliated.

Consult your institution/organization well before the application deadline.

A single competition may receive 100 to nearly 3,000 applications, depending on the funding opportunity.

SSHRC handles as many as 12,500 grant applications per year.

About 70% of web form applications are submitted on the competition deadline date.

Don't wait until the last minute!

Prepare your application:

Give yourself plenty of time to plan and to address your questions.

Use any checklists provided, so you don’t miss anything.

Once submitted, your application data is transferred to SSHRC’s grants management system, which tracks its progress.

STEP 2 Verifying eligibility

SSHRC staff ensure all applications meet the eligibility requirements listed in the funding opportunity description.

Usually, 98% of SSHRC applications are deemed eligible.

Applicants are notified if their application is deemed ineligible.

Checks may include, among others:

  • Verifying the eligibility of the applicant and other relevant participants (e.g., reviewing their affiliation and scholar type, where applicable).
  • Verifying the applicant has adhered to SSHRC’s policies and regulations (e.g., multiple applications or outstanding reporting requirements from previous funding).
  • Verifying the application is complete and the subject matter corresponds to the agency’s mandate.

STEP 3 Merit review

Once an application is deemed eligible, it is ready for merit review.

SSHRC awards public funds based on excellence and the availability of funds.

Experts within and beyond academia may volunteer or be nominated by their institution or organization to serve as committee members. See the Merit Review section of SSHRC’s website for more details.

More than 90 committees meet each year to adjudicate applications. Committees may focus on a single discipline, a group of disciplines or an area of research.

More than 600 committee members participate in the adjudication process every year.

Adjudication meetings are held to discuss proposals. For some funding opportunities, committee deliberations are supported by input from external assessors and expert panel members.

SSHRC invites observers—typically, distinguished researchers or research administrators—to committee meetings to report on the process’s overall quality.

To support committees in adjudicating applications for SSHRC’s larger grants, SSHRC also recruits some 6,000 external assessors and expert panel members from Canada and around the world.

Most merit review meetings take place between December and March so institutions/organizations can receive results in time to plan the upcoming year’s activities.

After adjudications, committee members complete a questionnaire to help continuously improve the merit review process. SSHRC staff present the committees’ recommendations to SSHRC’s senior management for approval.

SSHRC and the institutions that administer funds on its behalf share accountability for maintaining high research conduct standards.

The Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions, signed by SSHRC and institution representatives, sets out the high legal, ethical and financial standards expected in the conduct of research.

STEP 4 Applicants receive results

Depending on the type of funding, applicants may be notified of results directly.

Where an application is submitted via an institution/organization, SSHRC notifies that institution of results before the applicant receives formal correspondence.

SSHRC sends successful applicants the terms and conditions of their funding, and transfers funds to the institution around this same time.

Applicants are typically notified of the competition results within six-to-eight weeks of adjudication.

Applicants may appeal a negative funding decision where evidence suggests an error in the merit review process resulted in the decision.

SSHRC recognizes the efforts of all participants in the merit review process, and congratulates award holders.


Applicants and their institutions may not make public announcements about grants or awards until the results are formally announced by the Government of Canada. All results are made public on the SSHRC website following these announcements.

Disclaimer: This information pertains to grant, fellowship and scholarship applications received by SSHRC. The process for tri-agency initiatives and Impact Award nominations may differ.

Contact and other resources

We hope this presentation has answered your questions.

For more information concerning specific funding opportunities contact: