Department of National Defence Research Initiative

2017-18 Competitions

A Joint Initiative of SSHRC and DND

Application deadline Value and duration Results announced Apply
Insight Grants

October 15, 2017, for full application

$20,000 per year for 3 years ($60,000 total) will be awarded to successful Insight Grant recipients Summer 2018 See details under Description below
Insight Development Grants

February 2, 2018
$10,000 will be awarded to successful Insight Development Grant recipients Summer 2018 See details under Description below

Note: If a deadline falls on a weekend or a Canadian public holiday, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern time) on the next business day.

Value and Duration
Evaluation and Adjudication
Regulations, Policies and Related Information
Contact Information


Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an agency of the Department of National Defence (DND), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have signed a joint initiative agreement to support social sciences and humanities research and related activities pertaining to military personnel readiness, organizational and operational effectiveness, and human effectiveness in modern operations.



DRDC conducts social science research to support the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and DND in developing effective, efficient and affordable evidence-based strategies, policies, programs, procedures, processes and technologies that, together:

  • optimize the intake, training and management of the Defence Team, ensuring a workforce at the right numbers, at the right ranks/occupations, and with the appropriate skills and experience to meet future operational needs—this includes research in support of strategic and operational priorities in domains such as attraction and recruitment, selection and assessment, motivation, career management, training and education, and workforce analytics;
  • enhance individual and family well-being, care for the ill and injured, and prepare members for the transition to civilian life—this includes research with a focus on health, resiliency, morale, welfare and compensation;
  • enable the effective employment of the Defence Team in operational and organizational environments, and strengthening of the operational and strategic leadership capacity of the CAF—this includes research addressing the physical, psychological, social and cultural demands of military operations, as well as the efficient governance, agility and adaptiveness of the organization; and
  • enhance the command and intelligence effectiveness of the CAF, and the ability to achieve their missions in complex campaign environments—this includes research with a focus on understanding the social and cultural factors that provide context for effective operations in the non-kinetic sphere; understanding and predicting the intention, behaviour and influence of relevant individuals and collectives; and effective collaborations in contemporary multifunctional mission environments.



The DND Research Initiative (DNDRI) seeks to support research through the Insight Grants and Insight Development Grants funding opportunities.

Target Areas

DNDRI partners are currently interested in proposals focusing on the following specific areas of research:

1. Enabling Sustained and Effective Military Organizational Culture Change

Military institutions are responsible for maintaining organizational effectiveness and the well-being of their members. At the same time, militaries are expected to support culture change, achieve efficiencies, optimize governance and processes, and adapt to a continuously changing environment while facing ever-increasing competition for resources. “Personnel” is recognized as a critical component of organizational culture change, yet current change approaches seem to lack a personnel component rooted in a scientific framework. Thus, projects under this research challenge should focus on approaches and frameworks to understand the interdependencies between the multiple layers in the military organization that include the personnel component.

2. Developing Trust in Diverse Organizational Teams and in Cross-Cultural Settings

Projects under this research challenge should focus on frameworks to understand, and techniques to enhance, development of trust in diverse organizational teams and/or in cross-cultural settings, in the context of defence and security. The intention should be to further existing knowledge to improve engagement, shared understanding, motivation and collaboration, planning, decision making and execution of activities in, and leadership of, multi-organizational and/or multicultural teams. Research could involve the development of frameworks, models and theories to better understand the psychological and group dynamics in either diverse organizational or diverse cultural teams, as well as the development and validation of techniques, approaches and technologies to: facilitate initial trust building, detect decreases in trust, and develop strategies for the repair of broken trust and/or to mitigate the destructive effects of distrust in these settings.

3. Trust in Autonomous Systems

With advances and adaptation of autonomous systems in numerous applications, from vehicles to information management, the relationship between human and technology has evolved and become more complex and important. As the roles of humans increasingly change from “operators” to “partners” of autonomous systems in a team, trust becomes an increasingly complex issue. Projects under this research challenge should focus on, but are not limited to, furthering the knowledge and understanding of trust development with autonomous systems with regard to, for example, human-autonomy teaming; how humans perceive and interact with autonomous systems; approaches/criteria to measure and assess trust; the level of risk and error that humans are willing to tolerate from autonomous systems; the defining attributes of a system that allows humans to establish trust; synergistic interaction between human and machine intelligence; complacency/over-trust in autonomous systems; and differences in human and machine perception and cognition.


Value and Duration

Research Grants

DNDRI supplements are available through Insight Grant and Insight Development Grant applications.

  • DNDRI supplements worth $20,000 per year for three years ($60,000 total) will be awarded to successful Insight Grant recipients in addition to the annual value of the SSHRC Insight Grant.
  • A one-time DNDRI supplement of $10,000 will be awarded to successful Insight Development Grant applicants in addition to the value of the SSHRC Insight Development Grant.



In order to be eligible for and maintain DNDRI funding, all grant holders are expected to meet and follow program funding conditions determined by DND, in addition to the eligibility requirements outlined below for each specific type of grant.

Applications submitted to SSHRC that would be more appropriately evaluated by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will not be accepted. To determine if your research falls within SSHRC's mandate, please see Subject Matter Eligibility.

Research Grants

Applicants and participants

The DNDRI partners invite proposals from individual researchers and research teams affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution who are working in Canada in one or more of the target areas of interest.

All applicants must comply with SSHRC eligibility criteria for the Insight Grants and Insight Development Grants funding opportunities.

Teams may consist of an applicant (principal investigator / project director) and/or one or more co-applicants (co-investigators) or collaborators.


Institutions that propose to administer any grant awarded under this funding opportunity must meet the requirements for managing SSHRC funds and must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Each application for a DNDRI supplement is adjudicated first by the relevant SSHRC adjudication committee. SSHRC will then provide DND with those Insight Grant and Insight Development Grant applications that have been judged meritorious through SSHRC's existing merit review processes and that were marked explicitly for consideration under the DNDRI.

In June each year, DND will review the Insight Development Grant and Insight Grant applications forwarded by SSHRC. Applications will be ranked by a DND selection committee based on alignment with DND priorities. DND will then select the applications to be awarded a supplement in that year’s competition. To this end, applications must clearly and specifically indicate how the proposed research applies to the DNDRI objectives.

Only applications judged by DND as pertinent to its research priorities will receive supplements under this initiative to the limit of the available funds.

The DND selection committee's decisions cannot be appealed.

DNDRI adjudication timelines

Funding opportunity Review by SSHRC adjudication committees Review by DND Results announced DNDRI supplement start date
Insight Grants March 2018 June 2018 July 2018 January 2019
Insight Development Grants May 2018

Conditions of Funding

In order to receive and maintain eligibility for a DNDRI award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. The proposed research must meet the DNDRI objectives and have a focus on one or more of the target areas of research.
  2. DNDRI award recipients will be required to provide written notification to SSHRC of any changes in research, as continued funding under DNDRI is contingent on the research remaining in a DND research priority area. DND will then determine whether the research is still eligible for funding under the DNDRI.
  3. Recipients are required to submit annual reports at 12 and 24 months from the start of the award, and a final report at the conclusion of the award period for review by DND, using report templates. This will be done in accordance with SSHRC’s awards administration practices.


Regulations, Policies and Related Information

For descriptions of SSHRC terms, see Definitions of Terms.

Research Grants

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.


Contact Information

For more information about the DNDRI, please contact:

Chantal Meda
Senior Program Officer
Research Grants and Partnerships Division
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6G4
Tel.: 613-947-2094
Fax: 613-992-7635