Insight Grants

October 2017 Competition

Value Stream A: $7,000 to $100,000
Stream B: $100,001 to $400,000
Duration 2 to 5 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
October 15, 2017 (Closed)
Results announced April 2018
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

* 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 Grants proposals are expected to respond to the objectives put forward in the call for proposals for the Insight program. Please see the Insight program description for more details.

Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities. Funding is available to both emerging and established scholars for research initiatives of two to five years.

Stable support for long-term research initiatives is central to advancing knowledge. It enables scholars to address complex issues pertaining to individuals and societies, and to further our collective understanding.

The Insight Grants funding opportunity supports research proposed by scholars and judged worthy of funding by their peers and/or other experts. Insight Grant research initiatives may be undertaken by an individual researcher or a team of researchers working in collaboration.

Applicants choose from one of two streams, depending on the amount of funding required. Both streams will be adjudicated by the same committees, and will receive the same rigorous level of merit review. The deadlines and application process are identical for both; however, the targeted success rate for Stream A will be higher than that of Stream B.

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

Related Opportunities

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

  • Insight 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.
  • Insight Grant applicants conducting research related to Defence Research and Development Canada’s priorities may be eligible for funding through the Department of National Defence Research Initiative.
  • Applicants requiring infrastructure funding to support their research and/or related activities may be eligible for support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund. For more information, please visit the CFI website, or contact the CFI liaison officer at your institution.

Please consult SSHRC’s Funding 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 have identified possible 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 Grant is $400,000, over two to five years. A minimum request of $7,000 is required in at least one of the years. A maximum of $100,000 is available in a single year.

Applicants may choose one of two streams when applying for an Insight Grant, depending on the amount of funding required: Stream A for requests between $7,000 and $100,000, and Stream B for requests between $100,001 and $400,000.



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 a workshop, digitization of a collection, or creation of a database are not eligible for Insight Grants 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. Note that Insight Grant funds may not be used for the remuneration and/or travel and subsistence costs of presenters or guest speakers.

Potential applicants who have questions regarding the eligibility of their project are encouraged to contact SSHRC program officers before submitting their application.


Insight 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 (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 Corporate Strategy and Performance at SSHRC at least five business days prior to the application deadline to begin the eligibility process. Applicants successful in the Insight Grants competition must be affiliated with an eligible institution before funding can be released.

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.

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.

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 five 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.


Co-applicants (except postdoctoral 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 program officers. Co-applicants on a successful application 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 co-applicant status.

Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be co-applicants for an Insight Grant under the same conditions as those described under Applicants above.


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 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 April 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 five 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

Normally, researchers may not apply, as an applicant, for an Insight Grant and an Insight Development Grant within the same calendar year. However, given the launch of the smaller Insight Grants stream in 2017, researchers who applied unsuccessfully for an Insight Development Grant in February 2017 may apply for an Insight Grant in October 2017.

Researchers may apply, as an applicant, for only one Insight 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

Full Insight Grant application forms will be made available on the online system starting July 15, 2017. 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.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Insight Grant applications are adjudicated, and available funds 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.

Two groups of individuals will be involved in the evaluation of Insight Grant applications:

  • external assessors; and
  • members of the Insight Grant adjudication committees.

These groups 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 will seek, but cannot guarantee, a minimum of two external assessments per application. External assessors usually read only one application and provide the adjudication committee with their assessment thereof.

Committee members read an entire cohort of applications, along with the pertinent assessments provided by external assessors. Members, as a group, then evaluate and rank all of the proposals assigned to their committee. Adjudication committees consider but are not bound by the judgments of the external assessors.

SSHRC makes funding decisions based on the recommendations of the adjudication committee 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.

In the case of applicants who have selected a multidisciplinary committee, relevant expertise to review the proposal may also be sought from within the larger pool of Insight Grant committee membership.

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 Grant applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):

    • 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%):

    • probability that the objectives will be met within the timeline proposed;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of financial and in-kind contributions from other sources, where appropriate;
    • quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable; and
    • appropriateness of the strategies for conducting the activity/activities proposed.

  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (40%):

    • 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 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.;
    • evidence of contributions to the development of talent; and
    • potential of the applicant/co-applicant to make future contributions.

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, any external assessments received and 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 Grants funding opportunity, please contact:

Tel.: 613-996-6976

Or contact the program officer for your field of research:


Program officer



Aboriginal research

Patricia MacCaughan

Lorraine Anderson




Wendy Corcoran

Chantal Meda



Humanities disciplines

Chantal Meda

Wendy Corcoran

Stefani di Gaetano

Sarah Nicholls





Business and economics

Jennifer Harris

Melissa Gavin



Education, psychology and social work

Sébastien Demers

Isabelle Sénécal

Geneviève Truchon

Jing Yang





Other social science disciplines

Stephen Brown

Marie-Eve Gagné

Luc Lebrun

Stephanie Vigier





Multidisciplinary research

Luc Lebrun

François Simard