Image, Text, Sound and Technology

Warning This funding opportunity is no longer offered. For information on currently offered SSHRC funding opportunities, see Funding

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Research Grants

September 2009 Competition

Value and Duration
Evaluation and Adjudication
Administrative Regulations
More Information



In its September 2000 report to SSHRC's governing council, the Working Group on the Future of the Humanities observed, “New information technologies represent one of the major impacts on humanities teaching and research. They also present an exciting opportunity for scholars, teachers and students to become informed partners and innovators.”

Digital technologies now pervasively inform how research is conducted in the humanities and social sciences, whether it is simple word processing, database searches, or highly complex multimedia presentations. To examine and interpret individuals and their cultures, researchers currently use three fundamental kinds of digital information: images, text and sound. These digital forms of information are, however, very sensitive to changes in the technologies through which they are created, analyzed, published and preserved. In recent decades, innovative technologies have transformed the very definition of text and its relationship to image and sound. To benefit fully from these new technologies, researchers must not only be aware of technological developments, but also be directly involved in them. To support researchers in this endeavour, SSHRC developed the Image, Text, Sound and Technology (ITST) program to increase researchers’ familiarity with, and effective use of, these new tools.



It is essential for researchers in the social sciences and humanities to have the expertise necessary to carry out research in today’s rapidly evolving technological environment. For example, in 1999, SSHRC and Statistics Canada launched the Data Training Schools. This program enables researchers to learn about and apply advanced technologies to the analysis of social statistics at postsecondary institution-based Research Data Centres across the country. Similarly, the ITST program will help researchers refine their ability to apply digital multimedia technologies to their research on image, text and sound.

The overall objectives of the ITST program are to:

  • reflect on, interpret, and analyze new digital media, multimedia, and text-based computing technologies, and integrate these into humanities and social sciences research;
  • bring together theorists, experimentalists, and technologists from different disciplines to share and nurture ideas and methods that challenge research to advance through the use of audio-visual and text-based technologies; and
  • facilitate the creation of national and international networks of, and partnerships among, researchers, industries, governments, and individuals that will promote and sustain social sciences and humanities research and resources worldwide.

The specific objectives of ITST Research Grants are to support projects that:

  • employ innovative technological tools in image, text and sound to make social sciences and humanities research more efficient, effective and comprehensive; and
  • devise new and creative applications for technology that offer valuable models that can be applied specifically to research in the social sciences and humanities.


SSHRC strongly encourages applicants to develop proposals for multidisciplinary teams of co-applicants, partners and collaborators that will offer the necessary range of intellectual, technical and practical expertise. Partners and collaborators may be drawn from the private and public sectors, as well as from academia. Applicants may also wish to include on their team appropriate specialists from outside Canada.

Possible topics and areas to be addressed include:

  • electronic editing and publishing;
  • e-literature;
  • Web programming;
  • immersive and virtual environments in multimedia research;
  • textual analysis;
  • 3D imaging technology;
  • creativity, culture and computing;
  • digital image design;
  • information aesthetics;
  • computer gaming; and
  • knowledge transfer of research results to fellow researchers, decision-makers and the public at large.

Please note that this program does not support the following:

  • digitization of collections of images, books or sounds;
  • support for routine computer applications from which little new knowledge about image, text and sound technology will emerge;
  • creation of stand-alone major research tools;
  • research activities, already funded under other SSHRC programs, that do not involve transformative multimedia and new media technologies; or
  • development of technological infrastructure.


Value and Duration

Up to $50,000 for up to two years.



SSHRC invites applications for ITST Research Grants from researchers affiliated with Canadian postsecondary institutions. Researchers not affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution are eligible to apply as co-applicants.


Institutions that propose to administer any grant awarded under this program must meet the requirements for managing SSHRC funds, and must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.


Evaluation and Adjudication

An interdisciplinary committee of experts in ITST research will assess all proposals. SSHRC will send all applicants a formal notice of decision and a summary of the committee's comments.

The committee will adjudicate proposals according to the following criteria:

  • fit between the proposed research and the specific objectives of the ITST Research Grants program;
  • soundness of the objectives and research approach (theory and methodology);
  • qualifications of the applicant and any co-applicants and collaborators;
  • plans for networking with other researchers, and quality of the proposed alliances with institutions and organizations, including, where appropriate, evidence of collaboration and commitment on the part of all partners;
  • suitability, scope and timing of plans for dissemination and transfer of knowledge; and
  • justification of the budget.

Administrative Regulations

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 (TAFAG). While the TAFAG has precedence, additional information can also be found in the Grant Holder's Guide.

More Information

For further information about ITST Research Grants, please contact:

Eric Bergeron
Program Officer
Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives Division
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON
K1P 6G4

Tel.: 613-996-1422
Fax: 613-947-0223