Insight Development Grants

February 2014 Competition

Value $7,000 up to $75,000
Duration 1 to 2 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
February 6, 2014 (Closed)
Results announced June 2014
Apply CCV, CCV instructions, and application form

Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Administrative Regulations and Related Information
Contact Information


Insight Development Grants proposals are expected to respond to the objectives put forward in the call for proposals for the Insight program. The objectives of the Insight program are to:

  • build knowledge and understanding from disciplinary, interdisciplinary and/or cross-sector perspectives through support for the best researchers;
  • support new approaches to research on complex and important topics, including those that transcend the capacity of any one scholar, institution or discipline;
  • provide a high-quality research training experience for students;
  • fund research expertise that relates to societal challenges and opportunities; and
  • mobilize research knowledge, to and from academic and non-academic audiences, with the potential to lead to intellectual, cultural, social and economic influence, benefit and impact.

Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and/or ideas. Funding is provided for short-term research development projects, of up to two years, proposed by individuals or teams.

Insight Development Grants foster research in its early stages, but are not intended to support large-scale initiatives. Long-term support for research is offered through SSHRC’s Insight Grants.

Proposed projects may involve, but are not limited to, the following types of research activities:

  • case studies;
  • pilot initiatives; and
  • critical analyses of existing research.

Projects may also involve national and international research collaboration, and the exploration of new ways of producing, structuring and mobilizing knowledge within and across disciplines and sectors.

Within the Insight Development Grants funding opportunity, funding is available for two distinct categories of scholars: emerging scholars and established scholars.

Emerging scholars: This funding supports high-quality research projects by emerging scholars to develop new research questions and/or approaches. Such projects may build on and further the applicant’s (or team’s) graduate work and/or represent a continuation of their overall research trajectory.

Established scholars: Funding for established scholars provides support to explore new research questions and/or approaches that are distinct from the applicant’s previous/ongoing research. Research projects should be clearly delimited and in the early stages of the research process. Insight Development Grant funding is not intended to support ongoing research for established scholars.

Note that SSHRC also welcomes applications involving research-creation. For a definition of research-creation, refer to SSHRC’s Definitions of Terms.

Insight Development Grant applicants conducting research on matters related to enhancing participation in sport in Canada may be eligible for funding through the Sport Participation Research Initiative.

Individual researchers or teams of researchers working in collaboration on long-term research initiatives of three to five years may apply to the Insight Grants funding opportunity.

Researchers involved in formal partnerships are encouraged to apply for Partnership Grants or Partnership Development Grants.


Value and Duration

The maximum value of an Insight Development Grant is $75,000 over one to two years. A minimum budget of $7,000 in at least one of the years is required.

For the current competition, at least 50 per cent of funds will be reserved for applications from emerging scholars.



Subject Matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Insight Development Grant proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.


Insight Development Grant applications may be submitted by an individual researcher or by a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant and one or more co-applicants and/or collaborators). All team members must meet the eligibility criteria specific to their category (see below).

Eligibility under the emerging scholar definition is determined solely by the status of the applicant.

Applicants (except postdoctoral fellows/researchers and PhD students) must normally be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution at the time of application. If they are not, they must contact SSHRC. Applicants successful in the competition must be affiliated with an eligible institution before the grant is awarded.

Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status within the Insight Development Grants funding opportunity.

Postdoctoral fellows/researchers are eligible to be applicants for an Insight Development Grant. However, in order for SSHRC to release grant funds, successful applicants must formally establish an affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2014 for the current competition), and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


Researchers whose primary affiliation is with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution or with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution are eligible to participate as co-applicants. In the case of international co-applicants, the rationale for international collaboration must be clearly outlined in the application.


Any individual who will make a significant contribution to the research initiative is eligible to be a collaborator. Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution.


Students enrolled in a program of study are not eligible to apply for an Insight Development Grant. However, a PhD candidate is eligible to apply if he or she:

  • will have met all requirements for the PhD before the grant is awarded (i.e., before June 1, 2014, for the current competition), including all course work and successful defense of their dissertation;
  • establishes a formal affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2014 for the current competition); and
  • maintains such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.

Multiple Applications

Researchers may not apply, as applicant, for an Insight Development Grant and an Insight Grant within the same calendar year. For instance, a researcher who applies for an Insight Development Grant in February 2014 may not apply for an Insight Grant in October 2014, whether successful in the competition or not. However, a researcher who applied for an Insight Grant in October 2013 may apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2014, provided that the objectives of the research are different.

Researchers may apply for and hold, as applicant, only one Insight Development Grant at a time.

Please refer to SSHRC’s regulations regarding multiple applications for more information.

There is no limit to the number of SSHRC applications on which a researcher may be listed as a co-applicant or collaborator.

Applicants who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit a final research report by the deadline specified in their Notice of Award are not eligible to apply for another SSHRC grant until they have submitted the report.


Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution. Institutions proposing to administer any grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.


Insight Development Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds, on research and related activities undertaken during the period of the grant, and on outcomes. Successful applicants will be informed of reporting requirements upon receiving their Notice of Award.


Application Process

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with the accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer, or equivalent, from the applicant’s institution.

Eligible PhD students and postdoctoral researchers may submit their applications directly to SSHRC.

Note: Applicants will be required to complete the Canadian Common CV as part of their application to this funding opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to begin work on their CV early.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Insight Development Grant applications are adjudicated, and available funds are awarded, through a competitive process. SSHRC is committed to providing a range of adjudication options appropriate to individual funding opportunities. Applications may be adjudicated by discipline-based, multidisciplinary, or thematic committees, according to the nature of the application.

For general information on SSHRC’s adjudication process, see Merit Review.

SSHRC makes funding decisions based on the recommendations of the adjudication committees and on the funds available.

Applicants will also be required to identify their primary discipline and primary area of research and specify if their preference is to be adjudicated from a multidisciplinary perspective. Applicants submitting proposals that are multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary in nature, and who wish to have their proposal considered by committee reviewers from more than one discipline and/or area of research, must indicate secondary and tertiary disciplines and areas of research, and include a rationale for the request. SSHRC will use this rationale to determine the most appropriate review for the application.

Research Groups

Insight Development Grants are adjudicated by academic and/or other experts drawn from, but not limited to, the following research fields:

Group 1: History; medieval studies; classics; literature; fine arts; philosophy; religious studies; and related fields.

Group 2: Anthropology; archaeology; linguistics; translation; political science; public administration; law; criminology; geography; urban planning and environmental studies; and related fields.

Group 3: Business and management; economics; and related fields.

Group 4: Sociology; demography; communication studies; journalism; media studies; gender studies; cultural studies; library and information science; and related fields.

Group 5: Education; psychology; social work; career guidance; and related fields.

In the application form, applicants will be asked to indicate which of the five groups they consider most appropriate for their proposal, and to select a primary discipline and area of research from a detailed list on the application form. Adjudication committees will be created based on these groups, according to the number and nature of applications received.

The adjudication of research-creation proposals may involve a more tailored adjudication, including evaluation by experts in research-creation, and collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts.

Applicants may contact SSHRC to discuss group selection.

Note: SSHRC will endeavour to accommodate applicant requests regarding the above-mentioned adjudication processes and groups. SSHRC reserves the right to determine an application’s final committee assignment.

Priority Areas

SSHRC continues to recognize the value of research throughout all of the social sciences and humanities, as well as in its current priority areas. Applicants may indicate in their application form whether their research falls within up to two of SSHRC’s priority areas, ranking them in order of importance. This information is gathered for reporting purposes and may also assist SSHRC in identifying applications for additional support and/or to create adjudication committees in priority areas, in accordance with the number of applications received.

Please read the priority area descriptions carefully to determine whether your intended proposal is relevant to any of them. Applicants who have identified their proposal as related to either one or two SSHRC priority areas must complete a one-page Statement of Alignment describing the proposal’s relevance to the first priority area. The Statement of Alignment is reviewed to verify consistency with the priority area. While alignment with the priority area is not an evaluation criterion, the information contained in the Statement of Alignment remains an integral part of the application, and information contained therein may be used in evaluating the application in accordance with the evaluation criteria below.

If it is determined that a proposal is not aligned with the parameters of the priority area, the proposal will nevertheless remain eligible within the Insight Development Grants funding opportunity, and will be assessed within the applicant’s chosen research group.

Evaluation Criteria and Scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate Insight Development Grant applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (50%):

    • originality, significance and expected contribution to knowledge;
    • appropriateness of the literature review;
    • appropriateness of the theoretical approach or framework;
    • appropriateness of the methods/approach;
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, and opportunities for them to contribute; and
    • potential influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (20%):

    • probability of effective and timely attainment of the research objectives;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of financial and in-kind contributions from other sources, where appropriate;
    • quality of knowledge mobilization plans, including for effective knowledge dissemination, knowledge exchange and engagement within and/or beyond the research community where applicable; and
    • strategies and timelines for the design and conduct of the activity/activities proposed.

  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (30%):

    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the applicant and any team members relative to their roles in the project and their respective stages of career;
    • evidence of contributions such as commissioned reports, professional practice, public discourse, public policies, products and services, experience in collaboration, etc.;
    • evidence of contributions to the development of talent; and
    • potential to make future contributions.

Note: Adjudicators will only consider information regarding the last six years of research contributions. Any career interruptions indicated will be taken into consideration.

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria listed above, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria in order to be recommended for funding.

Score Descriptor


Very good - excellent


Good - very good


Satisfactory - good

Below 3


Communication of results

Research offices will be informed of the competition results pertaining to their applicants by way of SSHRC’s secure site. All applicants will receive, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the adjudication committee’s evaluation of their proposal.


Administrative Regulations and Related Information

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.

For descriptions of SSHRC terms, see Definitions of Terms.

Frequently asked questions about Insight Development Grants and Insight Grants


Contact Information

For more information about the Insight Development Grants funding opportunity, please contact:

Tel.: 613-996-6976

For more information on the Insight Development Grants application forms and process, please read the Research Portal FAQs and Canadian Common CV FAQs.