Insight Program

Funding Opportunities
Future Challenge Areas
Related Initiatives
Multi-Agency Research Funding Collaboration


The goal of the Insight program is to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas eligible for funding from SSHRC.


Research and training in the social sciences and humanities provide the foundation for a vibrant, healthy and prosperous society. They advance knowledge and build understanding about individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us. Such research enhances our knowledge and understanding of the past and present, and informs our thinking about critical social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental issues, both within the research community and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

The Insight program aims to support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges.


The objectives of the Insight program are to:

  • build knowledge and understanding from disciplinary, interdisciplinary and/or cross-sector perspectives through support for the best researchers;
  • support new approaches to research on complex and important topics, including those that transcend the capacity of any one scholar, institution or discipline;
  • provide a high-quality research training experience for students;
  • fund research expertise that relates to societal challenges and opportunities; and
  • mobilize research knowledge, to and from academic and non-academic audiences, with the potential to lead to intellectual, cultural, social and economic influence, benefit and impact.

Funding Opportunities

For the most up-to-date information, please consult SSHRC’s complete list of funding opportunities.

Please note that SSHRC is committed to providing a range of adjudication options appropriate to its individual funding opportunities.

For Individuals or Teams

SSHRC provides funding for research carried out by individual scholars and teams of researchers.

  • 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.

    Grants are valued at between $7,000 and $75,000 over one to two years.

    Within the Insight Development Grants funding opportunity, funding is available for two distinct categories of scholars: established and emerging. For the current competition, at least 50 per cent of funds will be reserved for applications from emerging scholars.

  • Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities. Funding is available to both emerging and established scholars for long-term research initiatives. 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:

    • Stream A for requests between $7,000 and $100,000 over two to five years; or
    • Stream B for requests between $100,000 and $400,000 over two to five years.

    In both streams, 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.

For Formal Partnerships

SSHRC provides funding for research, research training and knowledge mobilization carried out by new and existing formal partnerships that demonstrate mutual co-operation and sharing of intellectual leadership. SSHRC recognizes that these partnerships can take a variety of forms and be at various phases of development (e.g., engaging in initial collaboration, designing and testing new partnership approaches, expansion of an already established partnership, etc.). Successful collaborations could end as specific opportunities or serve as catalysts to longer-term partnerships. As the value and duration of SSHRC’s partnership funding opportunities vary greatly, potential applicants should strongly consider these elements when deciding which one is most appropriate to their research and research-related needs.

  • Partnership Engage Grants provide short-term and timely support to partnerships between a postsecondary-based researcher and a single partner organization from the public, private or non-profit sector.

    These grants are valued at $7,000 to $25,000 over one year.

  • Partnership Development Grants provide support to foster new research and/or related activities with new and/or existing partners; and to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities.

    These grants are valued at $75,000 to $200,000 over one to three years.

  • Partnership Grants provide support to new or existing formal partnerships for initiatives that advance research, research training and/or knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities.

    These grants are typically valued at $500,000 to $2.5 million over four to seven years.

SSHRC Impact Awards

SSHRC Impact Awards recognize outstanding researchers and students by celebrating their achievements in research, research training, knowledge mobilization and outreach activities funded partially or completely by SSHRC.

Postsecondary institutions eligible to administer SSHRC funding are invited to put forward nominations for the following awards: the Gold Medal ($100,000); the Talent Award ($50,000); the Insight Award ($50,000); the Connection Award ($50,000); and the Partnership Award ($50,000).

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. While this is not an evaluation criterion for merit review, research that addresses one or more of the future challenge areas further positions the value of the social sciences and humanities to meet Canada’s future, long-term societal challenges and opportunities.

SSHRC monitors research capacity in these areas, and develops and implements strategies and knowledge mobilization activities to enhance the contribution of the social sciences and humanities across the six challenge areas.

Related Initiatives

SSHRC partners with other organizations to offer several joint initiatives that complement SSHRC’s Talent, Insight and Connection programs:

  • The Department of National Defence research initiative is a joint initiative between SSHRC and Defence Research and Development Canada, an agency of the Department of National Defence. The initiative supports social sciences and humanities research and related activities pertaining to Defence Research and Development Canada’s research priorities.
  • Societal Implications of Genomics Research is a joint initiative of SSHRC and Genome Canada. The initiative promotes social sciences and humanities research and related activities aimed at expanding understanding of the potential for new and emerging genomic innovations to profoundly affect society. Interested researchers should develop proposals related to this focus and submit their applications through funding opportunities offered under SSHRC’s Insight and Connection programs, or to relevant Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions.
  • The Canadian Initiative on Social Statistics Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) Program is a joint initiative of SSHRC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to promote research and training in the application of social statistics.
  • The College and Community Innovation Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and SSHRC. The program increases the capacity of colleges to transform the results of research and development into economic activities.
  • For the past several years, SSHRC has partnered with the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Sport Participation Research Initiative research grants to provide additional support for policy-relevant research about participation in sport in Canada.

Opportunities for collaboration

SSHRC collaborates directly with other organizations to foster links with social sciences and humanities students and researchers whose work is related to the organizations’ priorities. These organizations are interested in working with potential applicants toward submitting an application to a SSHRC funding opportunity competition.

For example, the Belmont Forum co-ordinates funding across a number of research agencies around the world. The Forum helps secure support for collaborative research projects related to global environmental change. While not offering additional or dedicated research funds, SSHRC can assist interested Canadian researchers in developing proposals that involve international colleagues and partners. Researchers may then submit applications to funding opportunities offered under SSHRC’s Insight and Connection programs, or use their SSHRC grant to participate in a Belmont project.

Multi-Agency Research Funding Collaboration

SSHRC is also working with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation to enhance co-ordination of the agencies’ programs, activities and policies. For more information, please consult Multi-Agency Research Funding Collaboration.