Partnership Development Grants

November 2017 Competition

Value $75,000 to $200,000
Duration 1 to 3 years
Application deadline
(8 p.m. eastern)
November 30, 2017 (Closed)
Results announced March 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


Partnership Development Grant proposals are expected to respond to the objectives of the Insight program or the objectives of the Connection program, or a combination thereof. Please see the Insight and Connection program descriptions for more details.

Partnership Development Grants provide support over one to three years to teams/partnerships, led by a project director, to:

  • develop research and related activities in the social sciences and humanities, including knowledge mobilization and the meaningful involvement of students and new scholars, by fostering new partnerships for research and related activities involving existing and/or potential partners; or
  • design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities that may result in best practices or models that either can be adapted by others or have the potential to be scaled up to a regional, national or international level.

Partnership funding is intended for teams working in formal collaboration between postsecondary institutions and/or organizations of various types.

A formal partnership is a bilateral or multilateral formal collaboration agreement between an applicant and one or more partner organizations, of which at least one must be a Canadian postsecondary institution and at least one must be different from the institution or organization that will administer the grant funds. Partnerships may be between academic institutions, or between one or more academic institutions and one or more non-academic partner organizations. These partner organizations agree and commit to work collaboratively to achieve shared goals for mutual benefit. Partner organizations must provide evidence attesting to the commitment that has been agreed upon. For more information, see the definitions for formal partnership and partner organization.

It is expected that students and new scholars will meaningfully participate in proposed initiatives. The quality of training, mentoring and employability plans for students and emerging scholars will be evaluated as an important part of the proposed initiative.

The intellectual leadership and governance for the creation of a formal partnership may come from within the research community and/or from partner organizations from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. However, the grant funding, once awarded, may be administered only by an eligible institution (see information under Eligibility below).

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

SSHRC invites applicants and their partner organizations who wish to propose formal disciplinary, interdisciplinary, interinstitutional, international and/or cross-sector partnership arrangements to apply for support through this funding opportunity. Funds are available to support a variety of formal partnership development initiatives in all of the disciplines and themes eligible for funding at SSHRC.

For tools and resources to assist with the planning and implementation of your partnership, please see SSHRC’s Partnerships Tool-Kit.

Within the Partnership Development Grants funding opportunity, there are two categories of partnerships that may request support: existing and new.

  • Existing partnerships: Support to foster new research and/or research-related partnership activities that are distinct from the partnership’s previous/ongoing partnership activities.
  • New partnerships: Support to foster new research and/or research-related partnership activities that are undertaken by partnerships in their initial stages.

Following is a list of possible formal partnership approaches. Applicants are in no way limited to these approaches, and are welcome to combine some of the features described below.

  • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research partnerships: Disciplinary and interdisciplinary interinstitutional research initiatives designed to make a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the humanities and/or social sciences. While SSHRC welcomes proposals for interdisciplinary research partnerships involving natural sciences, engineering and/or health partner organizations, partnerships of this nature must adhere to SSHRC’s policy regarding the eligibility of subject matter.
  • Cross-sector co-creation of knowledge and understanding: Partnerships designed to foster innovative research, training and the co-creation of new knowledge on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance through a process of ongoing collaboration and mutual learning.
  • Networks for research and/or related activities: Networks designed to advance the innovative co-creation of knowledge, as well as training and mobilization of research, on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance.
  • Partnered knowledge mobilization: Partnerships designed to synthesize, apply and mobilize new and existing social sciences research knowledge in accessible ways in order to build institutional capacity and to increase the national and international impact and stature of Canadian research.

Related Opportunities

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

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 the humanities and social sciences across the six challenge areas.


Value and Duration

Partnership Development Grants are valued at $75,000 to $200,000 over one to three years.

Salary Research Allowance

Partnership Development Grant applicants and co-applicants from eligible not-for-profit organizations may request a salary research allowance to release them from duties to their organization.



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 are not eligible for funding.


Applications must be submitted by the applicant (project director) on behalf of the partner organizations of the formal partnership.

Note: The term “institution” from here on in this description refers to both postsecondary institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

Applicants (except postdoctoral researchers and students) must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution at the time of application. See Institutions below for more information on institutional eligibility requirements and processes for Partnership Development Grants.

Applicants / project directors 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 within this funding opportunity.

Please note that applicants primarily affiliated with a not-for-profit organization must have at least one Canadian postsecondary institution partner organization in order to be eligible for this funding opportunity.

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 institution within five months of the grant start date, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.

Students enrolled in a program of study are not eligible to apply for a Partnership Development Grant. However, students are eligible to apply if they:

  • will have met all requirements for their degree before the grant is awarded, including all course work and successful defence of their dissertation, if applicable;
  • establish a formal affiliation with an eligible institution within five months of the grant start date; and
  • maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


Co-applicants may be individuals from any of the following:

  • Canadian: Postsecondary institutions; not-for-profit organizations; philanthropic foundations; think tanks; and municipal, territorial or provincial governments.
  • International: Postsecondary institutions.

Postdoctoral researchers who are affiliated with a postsecondary institution are eligible to be co-applicants.


Any individual who may 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.

Individuals from the private sector or federal government may only participate as collaborators.

Partner Organizations

Partner organizations may be Canadian or international institutions or organizations (public, private, not-for-profit) of any type.

Multiple Applications

Please refer to SSHRC’s regulations regarding multiple applications for more information.


Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible Canadian institution. Institutions proposing to administer any grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. Please see SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions. Any institution that does not currently have institutional eligibility and wishes to administer SSHRC grants 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.

Once eligibility is granted, the institution is invited to become a signatory to the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions, which entails a commitment by the institution to adhere to the high legal, ethical and financial standards set out in the Agreement, and ensures that the institution has the necessary structures and processes in place to achieve this objective. Please note that SSHRC will not release funding to an institution before it becomes a signatory of the Agreement.

For questions related to institutional eligibility, or to receive an institutional eligibility application package, please contact SSHRC.


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 and partner organizations must complete the application form (available under Apply once the Partnership Development Grants competition opens) and follow the accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer from the applicant’s institution, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organization who has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

Students and postdoctoral researchers not currently affiliated with an eligible institution may electronically submit their applications directly to SSHRC. Please refer to the Eligibility section.


Applicants for Partnership Development Grants must demonstrate the following within their application:

  • Quality and commitment of formal partnerships
    Applicants will be expected to include relevant documentation to allow for an informed evaluation of the quality and level of commitment of the proposed formal partnerships.

    As SSHRC recognizes that partnerships under development can take a variety of forms and be at various phases of development, the quality and quantity of evidence to be submitted in support of the application must accurately reflect the current stage of the partnership (i.e., new or existing).

Evidence of formal partnership may include, but is not limited to, final or draft versions of:

  • governance frameworks;
  • agreements (intellectual property, conflict resolutions, etc.);
  • strategic plans; and/or
  • other relevant documentation.

Institutional and Partner Organization Contributions

Applicants are expected to include a plan to seek and secure cash and/or in-kind support for their initiative during the life of the grant (one to three years). While there is no minimum contribution requirement, institutions and their partner organizations are expected to demonstrate that a formal partnership currently exists, or is in the process of being developed, by supporting the activities of the formal partnership through cash and/or in-kind contributions.

For more information, please see the SSHRC Guidelines for Cash and In-Kind Contributions.


Evaluation and Adjudication

Partnership 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.

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

Partnership Development Grants are adjudicated by multidisciplinary committees that include relevant expertise from the academic community, as well as research expertise from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. The exact number and composition of review committees will be determined by the number and nature of proposals received. 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.

Committee members read an entire cohort of applications. Members, as a group, then evaluate and rank all of the proposals assigned to their committee.

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.

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.

Evaluation Criteria and Scoring

The following criteria and scoring schemes are used to evaluate 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 (including the co-creation of knowledge);
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, and opportunities for them to contribute;
    • potential for the project results to have influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community; and
    • potential for long-term viability and identification of progress indicators.

  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (20%):
    • probability that the objectives will be met within the timeline proposed;
    • quality and genuineness of the formal partnership and associated management and governance arrangements and leadership, including involvement of partner organizations and others in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of other planned resources, including leveraging of cash and in-kind support from the host institution and/or from partner organizations;
    • quality and appropriateness of the 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 (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 partnership and to 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 the media) and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.;
    • evidence of contributions to the development of talent;
    • experience in formal partnerships; and
    • potential of the applicant/co-applicants to make future contributions.

Scoring Table
Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria based on the scoring table below. 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
5-6 Very good - excellent
4-4.9 Good - very good
3-3.9 Satisfactory - good
Below 3 Unsatisfactory

Communication of Results
Research offices will be informed of the competition results pertaining to their applicants by way of SSHRC’s secure site. Applicants from not-for-profit organizations will be informed of the competition results by email. 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, please contact:

Tel.: 613-943-1007