Insight Development Grants

February 2018 Competition

Value $7,000 to $75,000
Duration 1 to 2 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
February 2, 2018
Results announced June 2018
Apply CCV, CCV instructions, and application form

* 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.

Future Challenge Areas
Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Regulations, Policies and Related Information
Contact Information


Insight Development Grant proposals are expected to respond to the objectives put forward in the call for proposals for the Insight program.

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.

SSHRC welcomes applications involving Aboriginal research, as well as those involving research-creation.

Within the Insight Development Grant 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.

Related Opportunities

SSHRC and its partner organizations offer several initiatives that complement this funding opportunity.

Please consult SSHRC’s search tool to learn more about specific joint initiatives.


Future Challenge Areas

SSHRC invites all applicants to review Imagining Canada’s Future’s six future challenge areas and subquestions, and to consider addressing one or more of these areas in their research proposal. Summary reports related to the Knowledge Synthesis Grants for each future challenge area identify potential gaps in current knowledge, which applicants may wish to further explore. While this is not an evaluation criterion for merit review, SSHRC monitors research capacity in these areas, and develops and implements strategies and knowledge mobilization activities, to enhance the contribution of humanities and social sciences across the six 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.

Proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.

Projects whose primary objective is curriculum development, organization of a conference or workshop, digitization of a collection, or the creation of a database are not eligible for funding.

An application will be declared ineligible if it is determined that more than 30 per cent of the requested budget has been allocated to ineligible expenses.


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).

Applicants should consult SSHRC’s definition of emerging scholar to determine eligibility to apply as such.

Applicants (except postdoctoral 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 Grant 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 this funding opportunity.

Applicants (or project directors, where applicable) who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an end of grant 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.

Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be applicants for this 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 2018 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 project 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, 2018, for the current competition), including all course work and successful defence 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 2018 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 2018 may not apply for an Insight Grant in October 2018, whether successful in the competition or not. However, a researcher who applied for an Insight Grant in October 2017 may apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2018, provided that the objectives of the research are significantly different.

Researchers may apply for and hold, as an 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.


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.


Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds, on funded 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. Committee discussions will be guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

Merit Review and Committee Structure

In the application form, applicants will be asked to select the committee they consider most appropriate for the review of their proposal. There are four types of committees from which to choose:

  • discipline-based;
  • groups of disciplines;
  • multidisciplinary (one humanities-focused and one social sciences-focused); and
  • thematic (Aboriginal research).

SSHRC will create discipline-based committees where the volume of applications received demands. Where it does not, SSHRC will form committees based on groups of disciplines. In addition, SSHRC will also establish thematic and multidisciplinary committees if warranted by the volume of applications.

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Aboriginal Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Aboriginal research. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Aboriginal research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific Challenge, Feasibility and Capability evaluation criteria in the context of Aboriginal research. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Aboriginal research to judge the extent to which the guidelines may be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Aboriginal research.

The adjudication of Aboriginal research proposals may involve a more tailored adjudication. If a sufficient number of Aboriginal research applications are received, SSHRC may establish a distinct adjudication committee.

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 program officers to discuss committee 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%):

    • for established scholars: relevance of the proposal to the objectives of the funding opportunity;
    • 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 for the project results to have influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

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

    • appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
    • expertise of the applicant/team in relation to the proposed research;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget, justification of proposed costs, and, where applicable, other financial and/or in-kind contributions; and
    • quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including for effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community where applicable.

  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 co-applicants, relative to their roles in the project and their respective stages of career;
    • evidence of other past knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and media), and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.; and
    • quality and quantity of past contributions to the development of training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel.

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 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.


Regulations, Policies 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.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. See SSHRC’s Open Access overview for more information. SSHRC also encourages researchers to manage data arising from their research, in accordance with both community standards and best practices.

Guidelines and Related Support Material

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:


Contact Information

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

Tel.: 613-996-6976

Or contact the program officer for your field of research:

Field Program officer Telephone Email
Aboriginal research Patricia MacCaughan 613-944-4329
Lorraine Anderson 613-947-4233
Research-creation Wendy Corcoran 613-943-5563
Chantal Meda 613-947-2094
Humanities disciplines Chantal Meda 613-947-2094
Wendy Corcoran 613-943-5563
Sarah Nicholls 613-992-5127
Business and economics Melissa Gavin 613-992-8936
François Simard 613-995-7129
Education, psychology and social work Sébastien Demers 613-947-9657
Isabelle Sénécal 613-992-5147
Jing Yang 613-944-5804
Other social science disciplines Stephen Brown 613-947-3724
Marie-Eve Gagné 613-943-1560
Luc Lebrun 613-992-5146
Beth Scarlett 613-947-3973
Stephanie Vigier 613-996-5794
Multidisciplinary research Luc Lebrun 613-992-5146
François Simard 613-995-7129

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