Insight Development Grants

February 2015 Competition

Value $7,000 up to $75,000
Duration 1 to 2 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
February 1, 2015 (Closed)
Results announced June 2015
Apply CCV, CCV instructions, and application form

Future Challenge Areas
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.

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the Guidelines for Effective Research Training while preparing their applications. These guidelines will also be useful to reviewers, postsecondary institutions and partnering organizations.

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.

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.

Note that SSHRC welcomes applications involving Aboriginal research. For SSHRC’s definition of Aboriginal research, refer to SSHRC’s Definitions of Terms.

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


Future Challenge Areas

SSHRC invites all applicants to review the six future challenge areas and subquestions, and to consider addressing one or more of these areas in their research proposal. However, this will not be an evaluation criterion for merit review. SSHRC will monitor research capacity in these areas, and will develop and implement strategies, including a range of outreach and knowledge mobilization activities, that enhance the contribution of social sciences and humanities across the six challenge areas.

In keeping with its tradition and mandate, SSHRC will continue to invest in humanities and social sciences research addressing a broad range of topics, while also promoting and investing in the future challenge areas.


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 be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution at the time of application. If the Canadian postsecondary institution with which they are affiliated is not a SSHRC eligible institution, the institution must meet the requirements to administer grants and awards, as outlined in the Institutional Eligibility Requirements for the Administration of Grants and Awards, and must contact SSHRC at least five business days prior to the application deadline to begin the eligibility process. Applicants successful in the Insight Development Grants competition must be affiliated with an eligible institution before funding can be released.

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 2015 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, 2015, 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 2015 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 2014 may apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2015, 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 ensuring high-quality adjudication of all proposals, in particular by ensuring an appropriate mix of skills and expertise on merit review committees.

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

Insight Development Grant applications are evaluated through a single-stage committee review process that does not involve external assessments.

The adjudication committees include national and international scholars from the research community and may include experts from other sectors as needed. Participants in the review process, if not in a conflict of interest with the applicant or any team members, are asked to evaluate the proposal based on the evaluation criteria below.

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

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 available on the application form.

Merit Review and Committee Structure

SSHRC will create multidisciplinary and/or thematic adjudication committees according to the number and nature of applications received, and taking into account information provided by applicants.

As stated above, all applicants will be asked to indicate the primary discipline and area of research relating to their proposal. In addition, applicants who prefer a multidisciplinary review will be asked to indicate secondary and tertiary disciplines and areas of research relating to their proposal, and to include a rationale. SSHRC will use this rationale to determine the most appropriate review for the application. In the case of applicants who have indicated a preference for a multidisciplinary review, relevant expertise may be sought to review the proposal from within the large pool of Insight Development Grants committee membership.

Applicants will also be asked to identify whether their proposal is a research-creation or an Aboriginal research project. SSHRC strongly encourages applicants to consult its definitions of Aboriginal research and research-creation.

The adjudication of research-creation and Aboriginal research proposals will involve a more tailored adjudication. The evaluation of research-creation proposals will also include the assessment of artistic merit. If a sufficient number of Aboriginal research and/or research-creation applications are received, SSHRC may establish distinct adjudication committees for these.

Note: SSHRC will make efforts to accommodate applicant preferences. However, SSHRC reserves the right to determine an application’s review process and committee assignment.

Applicants may contact SSHRC to discuss group selection.

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

For the February 2015 Insight Development Grants competition, SSHRC is introducing a new six-point evaluation scale.

Adjudication committee members assign a rating for each of the three criteria listed above, based on the following table. The descriptors are as follows:

Very good

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, where applicable.


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.