May 2012

Talent, Insight and Connection

In 2009, SSHRC began renewing its program architecture with the purpose of streamlining its funding process, improving client service and maximizing the impact of the research it funds for all Canadians. This renewal saw the council move from over 30 separately branded programs to three umbrella programs—Talent, Insight and Connection—and their associated funding opportunities, including support for partnerships.

Following the successful 2010-11 launch of the Insight Development Grants, Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants, implementation of SSHRC’s new program architecture continued in 2011-12 as SSHRC unveiled the Insight Grants and, most recently, the Connection Grants.

In keeping with SSHRC’s commitment to continuous improvement, we incorporated lessons learned into this second round of competitions and carried out a number of online surveys to gather applicant feedback. Additionally, in the fall of 2011, we undertook a review of the Talent program.

Recent Competition Highlights

Official announcements of the results of recent competitions are scheduled to take place in May and June. Highlights of the competitions are as follows:

  • Applications for the Partnership Development Grants were reviewed by two multidisciplinary and multisectoral committees from March 7 to 9, 2012. The 67 successful proposals involved a total of 252 distinct partners: 64 per cent included at least one not-for-profit organization as a partner; 55 per cent included at least one public sector organization; and 31 per cent included at least one private sector organization. On average, grant holders are leveraging $2.18 for every $1 of SSHRC funding through partner contributions and funds from other sources.
  • Formal applications for the Partnership Grants were reviewed by two multidisciplinary and multisectoral committees from mid-February to early March, 2012. These applications were by invitation only following a rigorous screening last year of letters of intent. The 25 successful proposals involved a total of 377 distinct partners: 88 per cent included at least one not-for-profit organization as a partner; 80 per cent included at least one higher-education institution; and 56 per cent included at least one provincial government organization. On average, grant holders are leveraging $0.96 for every $1 of SSHRC funding through in-kind contributions from partners and funds from other sources.
  • During the week of March 5, 2012, applications for the inaugural Insight Grants competition were reviewed by 22 multidisciplinary and thematic committees. From among the 486 successful proposals, 217 (45 per cent) were for three years, 103 (21 per cent) were for four years, and 166 (34 per cent) were for five years of funding.
  • Adjudication for this year’s Partnership Grants Letter of Intent by a multidisciplinary/multisectoral committee took place in late April and early May 2012.
  • Applications for the Insight Development Grants, 67 per cent of which came from new scholars, were received by the application deadline of February 1, 2012. Adjudication by 12 disciplinary, multidisciplinary and thematic committees took place in late April and early May 2012.
  • For the Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarships and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships, adjudication by five multidisciplinary committees broken down into 26 sub-committees took place in mid- to late March, 2012. Notices are expected to go out to successful applicants in early May.
  • Following adjudication by the selection committee from January 31 to March 1, 2012, a total of 50 SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships have been awarded.
  • Twenty-three Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships have been awarded following adjudication by a multidisciplinary selection committee on February 6 and 7, 2012.
  • Adjudication by the multidisciplinary committee for the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Master’s Scholarships took place on April 16, 2012. Notices to successful applicants are expected to go out in mid-May.
  • One hundred and forty-five SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships have been awarded following adjudication by six multidisciplinary committees, which took place from December 8 to 16, 2011.
  • Following an administrative review, 129 CGS Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements have been awarded to eligible applicants.  
  • One hundred and fifty-five Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences grants have been awarded from November’s competition following a virtual meeting of the adjudication committee over the period of January 18 to 20, 2012.
  • Ninety-five Public Outreach Grants have been awarded based on the recommendations of the adjudication committee, which met from February 8 to 9, 2012.

We would like to thank all of the many volunteers who participated as assessors, observers and reviewers in this year’s competitions. In fiscal year 2011-2012, some 700 individuals participated in adjudication committees, and nearly 6,000 external assessments of proposals were received. The efforts of these individuals make it possible for SSHRC to maintain its internationally recognized standards of excellence in peer review.

Connection Grants
SSHRC recently administered the final rounds of its Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences and Public Outreach grants. Activities that have to date been funded under these programs will now be eligible through SSHRC’s Connection Grants. This funding opportunity, which supports short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives such as events and outreach, was launched in February and began accepting applications on an ongoing basis as of April 1, 2012.

Talent Program Consultations
From November 2011 to January 2012, SSHRC conducted online and in-person consultations with our community and partners, seeking feedback on key issues related to the renewal of the Talent program. We would like to thank the many members of the social sciences and humanities research community and our many partners across all sectors of society for their engagement and feedback during the process. A summary of the consultations, together with plans for the implementation of changes to the Talent program, will be shared in the coming weeks.

Digging Into Data
In January 2012, 14 teams representing Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States were named winners of the second Digging Into Data Challenge—a joint initiative between SSHRC, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (US), the Joint Information Systems Committee (UK), the National Endowment for the Humanities (US), the National Science Foundation (US), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Each team represents collaborations among scholars, scientists and librarians conducting innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis at leading universities worldwide. Please see the complete list of Round Two (2011) winners.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants—Higher Education Research and Development (HERD)
In March, SSHRC, in collaboration with Industry Canada, awarded Knowledge Synthesis Grants to 14 of Canada’s top researchers exploring public investments in higher education research and development. The goal of the grants is to benefit Canada by promoting the synthesis of new and existing academic knowledge, stimulating innovation and economic growth. The grants will enable experts to identify international best practices on using public investments to stimulate innovation, and to engage with policy-makers on their research questions and findings.

For the latest information on SSHRC’s Talent, Insight and Connection programs, see the Funding News section of SSHRC’s website.

Renewed Collaboration with CFI

SSHRC recently signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for joint application and adjudication procedures for Insight Grants and Partnership Grants to the Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF). The LOF offers funding for the acquisition of research infrastructure, as well as certain operating and maintenance costs.

Through the joint process, applicants are able to submit infrastructure funding proposals to be considered alongside their proposals to SSHRC and to undergo a single, streamlined adjudication process. For more information on the eligibility, application process, and review of LOF proposals, please see the CFI website or consult your research office and/or CFI liaison officer.

Public Sector Leadership Award

In February, SSHRC’s Program Architecture (PA) Renewal project was awarded the top federal agency recognition and overall bronze medal at the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards event. The award, recognizing innovative and high-performing public sector organizations, celebrates the transformative work of the PA Renewal project.

Imagining Canada’s Future

In Framing Our Direction, 2010-12, SSHRC committed to launching a process to renew its priority areas for research and related activities. The world is changing quickly. Where could Canada be in the next five, 10 or 20 years, and how can the Canadian social sciences and humanities research community contribute its knowledge, talent and expertise to both understand and shape that future? To address these issues, SSHRC has undertaken the forward-looking Imagining Canada’s Future project, which will aim to identify key future challenges for Canada in an evolving global context.

SSHRC is pleased to host two sessions on this topic at the upcoming Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, taking place at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. On May 29, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., leading Canadian thinkers Dan Gardner, Chantal Hébert and Don Tapscott will share their thoughts about what’s on the horizon for Canada. Later that afternoon, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., John Macfarlane, editor of The Walrus, will moderate a series of discussions among four Canada Research Chairs and their graduate students from across research disciplines as they contribute their knowledge, talent and expertise to addressing the future of Canada in an evolving global context.

New Electronic Grants Management System

SSHRC, in collaboration with NSERC, has been working to modernize its aging technology infrastructure and develop a new electronic grants management system that will simplify the submission process for both applicants and partners. A new portal for all external clients will provide a one-stop shop for all of SSHRC’s interactions with applicants, reviewers, committee members, institutions and partners. A rigorous process is now underway to develop and test the system. Beginning in the fall of 2012, a phased-in approach will see the rollout of the system for a number of funding opportunities and programs, beginning with the Insight Development Grants and the Canada Research Chairs program.  

A session on the new electronic grants management system will be held at the upcoming national conference of the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators, taking place from May 6 to 9, 2012, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Stay tuned for further updates on this important development in the coming months.

Executive Vice-President Carmen Charette takes on new role at the University of Victoria

SSHRC Executive Vice-President Carmen Charette recently accepted a position as Vice-President, External Relations, at the University of Victoria, effective August 1. Her last day with SSHRC will be June 22, 2012. We would like to thank Carmen for her significant contributions to SSHRC’s success over the past five years, and wish her all the best in her new position. We look forward to continued collaboration with Carmen in her new role.

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