SSHRC Institutional Grants

December 2014 Competition

Value Minimum of $5,000 per year
Duration 3 years
Application deadline
December 1, 2014 (Closed)
Results announced June 2015
Apply Application form and instructions

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



Through its SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual block grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty in the social sciences and humanities. SIG grants are intended to help Canadian postsecondary institutions develop, maintain or strengthen research capacity and research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

SIG funds may be used to:

  • assist social sciences and humanities researchers with modest research funding requirements;
  • support national and international knowledge mobilization within and/or beyond the research community; and
  • support the development of students.

SSHRC expects that all SIG-funded research training will incorporate appropriate dimensions of the Guidelines for Effective Research Training.


Value and Duration

SSHRC provides annual block grants for three-year terms. These are calculated according to the following formula:

  • $50 for each faculty member whose discipline falls within SSHRC's mandate; plus
  • an amount based on the postsecondary institution's average performance, over the three previous competition years, in all SSHRC research support funding opportunities, calculated at the rate of:
    • 23 per cent of the first $100,000 awarded;
    • 20 per cent of the next $400,000 awarded; and
    • 14 per cent of the remainder, if any.

This formula recognizes multi-institutional grants by distributing credit for performance to all co-applicants.

Grants will be calculated once per three-year funding cycle.

SSHRC guarantees a minimum grant of $5,000 to each eligible institution deemed through the merit review process to meet the evaluation criteria.



Subject Matter

SIG applications may be used to support research and research-related activities in from one to several of the disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.


To be eligible for this funding opportunity, a postsecondary institution must:

  • be a Canadian postsecondary institution eligible to administer SSHRC funds;
  • be independent of the federal government for the purpose of faculty employment status;
  • hold active degree-granting status for social sciences and humanities disciplines at the undergraduate level or beyond; and
  • have submitted all required reports for prior SIG grants (statement of account form and activity report) before the application deadline.


The postsecondary institution holding a SIG grant determines the number of competitions it will hold annually, establishes deadlines that best suit the needs of its researchers and sets the application procedures.

However, in awarding funds, the institution must adhere to the following restrictions:

  • Recipients must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution, and must maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.
  • Visiting fellows and scholars are not eligible, nor are the costs incurred for their travel and residency.
  • Postdoctoral fellows affiliated with the institution are eligible to receive support, provided they meet the rest of the eligibility criteria.
  • Students are not eligible to hold a SIG-funded grant; however, SSHRC encourages researchers to employ students in SIG-funded research.
  • The value of individual grants awarded must not exceed $7,000 each.


SIG 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 by mail to the following address, and be postmarked no later than December 1, 2014:

SSHRC Institutional Grants
Research Grants and Partnerships Division
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street
PO Box 1610
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4


Evaluation and Adjudication

SIG applications are adjudicated, and available funds awarded, through a merit review process, based on the evaluation criteria below. Applications will be reviewed by either SSHRC program staff or an adjudication committee, or by both. The adjudication committee will be composed of senior administrators and/or scholars from postsecondary institutions and other granting bodies.

SSHRC staff and committee members are asked to assess whether applications meet the evaluation criteria below. To be recommended for funding, an application must receive a “satisfactory” rating for all subcriteria.

SSHRC makes SIG funding decisions based on the recommendations of staff and the adjudication committee, and on the funds available.

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

SSHRC Review

Applications from institutions that received SIG grants of less than $25,000 in the 2013-14 fiscal year are reviewed by SSHRC program staff, using the evaluation criteria below. Applications that receive an “unsatisfactory” rating during this internal review process are forwarded to the adjudication committee for committee review.

Committee Review

Applications from institutions that received SIG grants of $25,000 or more in the 2013-14 fiscal year are assessed by an adjudication review committee.

Applications from institutions with no prior SIG grant are automatically sent for committee review. The grant calculation for institutions submitting an application for the first time is determined according to the above formula.

All applications recommended for funding will receive a grant. The size of the grant will be calculated according to the above formula and the funds available (grant amounts will be adjusted to fit within the total amount of funding available).

Evaluation Criteria and Rating

The following criteria and rating scheme are used to evaluate SIG applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour:
    • clarity of the alignment between the anticipated research and related activities and the objectives described in the institution’s strategic plan;
    • expected contribution of the funded activities to the development and/or strengthening of institutional research capacity and excellence in the social sciences and humanities; and
    • potential influence and impact of the funded activities within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence:
    • strategies and timelines for the design and conduct of the activities proposed; and
    • rigour and appropriateness of the merit review processes in place at the institution.
  3. Capability—The potential to succeed:
    • governance structure in place to ensure the effective stewardship of SIG funds; and
    • where applicable, evidence of meaningful reported outputs and outcomes resulting from previous SIG funding.

Rating table

Based on the following table, a rating will be assigned for each of these criteria. Applications must receive a “satisfactory” rating for each of the subcriteria in order to be recommended for funding.

Rating Descriptor
Satisfactory Meets or exceeds expectations
Unsatisfactory Does not meet expectations

Communication of results

Institutions will receive their results in spring 2015. Unsuccessful institutions will receive a committee evaluation form.


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.


Contact Information

For more information about the SIG funding opportunity, please contact your institution’s research office, or address questions to:

Research Grants and Partnerships Division
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street
PO Box 1610
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6G4
Tel.: 613-992-3145