May 5, 2011

In this spring issue of SSHRC News, we are pleased to present highlights from SSHRC’s 2010-11 and forthcoming 2011-12 competition cycles. This is a period of transition as we implement SSHRC’s new program architecture and introduce funding opportunities within the three umbrella programs of Talent, Insight and Connection. Through these programs, we are creating a simpler, more flexible and effective system of application and assessment in the context of the changing research landscape and the increasing demand for social sciences and humanities research and training in all sectors of society.

New Funding Search Tool

Be sure to visit the Funding section of the SSHRC website, where a new search tool will allow you to search for funding opportunities within the framework of the new program architecture. Like the program architecture renewal initiative itself, the search tool’s design and development has been guided by the principles of excellence, simplicity, flexibility, integration and quality of service.

Talent, Insight and Connection—Highlights from the First Competitions


The goal of the Talent program is to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in order to develop the next generation of researchers and leaders across society, both within academia and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

This year SSHRC received a total of 8,989 applications for a range of master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral awards. Based on the recommendation of adjudication committees, SSHRC will be funding 2,763 awards, specifically 175 Postdoctoral Fellowships, 1,085 doctoral awards, 1,300 master’s Canada Graduate Scholarships; 56 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, 23 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships; and 124 Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements.

In the coming year, we will be engaging with the research community as we examine SSHRC’s support for research trainees, with a view to strengthening the coherence of our funding opportunities for students and postdoctoral researchers.


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

A total of 630 applications have been received for the Insight Development Grants competition. Adjudication will take place in May, with results expected to be released in June 2011.

The request for proposals for the first Insight Grants competition will be made available on the SSHRC website in June 2011, with application forms and instructions to be launched in July 2011. The application deadline for this competition will be October 15, 2011. This date is based on both the long-standing deadline of the Standard Research Grants competition, and feedback gathered from the research community during the program architecture renewal consultation process last spring. Additional information on the main features of the Insight Grants will be shared over the coming month.

As we transition to the full implementation of SSHRC’s new program architecture, we mark the final competition for Standard Research Grants. This year 2,749 applications were reviewed. Based on the recommendations of adjudication committees, SSHRC will be funding a total of 1,017 grants, notably 819 grants for up to three years and 198 special one-year grants. Final competitions were also held for Research Development Initiatives (55 grants awarded), Research-Creation in the Fine Arts (37 grants), Community University Research Alliances (10 grants) and Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (4 grants). Results were made publicly available on the SSHRC website in February and March 2011.


The goal of the Connection program is to realize the potential of social sciences and humanities research for intellectual, cultural, social and economic influence, benefit and impact on and beyond the campus by supporting specific activities and tools that facilitate the multidirectional flow of research knowledge.

The Connection program aims to support knowledge mobilization activities—such as networking, disseminating, exchanging and co-creating research-based knowledge—as an important element of publicly engaged scholarship, and as a means of strengthening research agendas.

Based on the recommendation of adjudication committees, SSHRC will be funding 222 awards of the 276 applications received for the Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada competition as well as 43 awards of the 60 applications received for the Public Outreach Grants competition. Further information on the 2011-12 competitions will be available in the coming weeks on the SSHRC website.

Insight and Connection Partnership Competitions

The 2011 Partnership Development Grants and Partnership Grants competitions were the first funding opportunities to be launched as part of SSHRC’s new program architecture. The purpose of the competitions was to provide funding to meet the objectives of the Insight and Connection programs via partnership activities with new or existing partners; to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities and to support initiatives that advance research and/or knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities.

A total of 164 applications by researchers from Canadian postsecondary and non-academic research institutions, working with a diversity of partners, were reviewed for the Partnership Development Grants competition. A total of 151 eligible Letters of Intent for the Partnership Grants competition were received from institutional applicants and these will be adjudicated in late April.

Close to half of the Partnership Development Grant applications and the Partnership Grant Letters of Intent, self-identified primarily with the Insight program objective. The other half self-identified primarily with the Connection program.

In keeping with SSHRC’s high standards of peer/merit review, the adjudication for the PDG competition was undertaken by three multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral committees. Committee membership included expertise from the academic community, and the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors from across Canada and abroad. Adjudication meetings also included external observers, who, selected for their expertise in peer/merit review, expressed their satisfaction with the quality of the adjudication process and also made constructive suggestions for future competitions.

Based on the criteria set out for this funding opportunity, the adjudication committee members recommended the proposals that best met the objectives of the Insight and/or Connection programs and achieved the purpose of the new Partnership Development Grants. As a result of the peer/merit review process, SSHRC is funding the top 45 proposals submitted in this competition.

The 45 successful applications involve 192 Canadian and international partners from many different sectors. Preliminary statistics suggest strong partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, between postsecondary institutions and with federal, provincial or municipal governments. As well, there is evidence of growing partnership activities with the private sector. Many applications also featured the development of international collaborations with a broad variety of partners.

Thirty-five of the 45 successful applications selected a priority area: Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity (37%), Digital Media (26%), Aboriginal Research (20%), Northern Communities (11%), and Canadian Environmental Issues (6%). Of the 164 eligible applications reviewed, 127 selected a priority area. Successful applicants indicated their projects will see a leveraged contribution of cash and in-kind resources that equal an additional 62 cents for every dollar funded by SSHRC.

Results for all competitions will be publicly available later this spring. For more information on all programs and related funding opportunities, please refer to

Thank You

In closing, we wish to thank the many volunteers who contributed their time and expertise to the success of SSHRC’s peer/merit review process this year. A total of 560 individuals participated in the adjudication committees and a further 5,874 provided written assessments of proposals.

We also greatly appreciate the feedback received from the research community and partners during the planning and implementation of SSHRC’s new program architecture. We recognize the challenges associated with launching the new funding opportunities and are committed to ongoing continued improvement in our processes and systems. Your comments and suggestions are welcome as we strive to strengthen the implementation of the Talent, Insight and Connection programs in the future.

Brent Herbert-Copley, Ph.D.
Vice President, Research Capacity
Gisèle Yasmeen, Ph.D.
Vice President, Research