The Storytellers

Contest Details

Grab our attention, be creative,push the boundaries: use a podcast, video, infographic—or surprise us with something new.

Submission period:

Contestants can submit entries as of November 15, 2018, at 10 a.m. (Eastern), until the contest closes on January 31, 2019, at 5 p.m. (Eastern).


At the time of entry, you must be a Canadian resident, 19 years of age or older, enrolled at a Canadian postsecondary institution, and in compliance with the contest rules and regulations.

Submission requirements:

Your submission must be an original work—video, audio, text or infographic—featuring SSHRC-funded research carried out at the institution at which you are enrolled at the time of submission.

Your submission must not exceed three minutes in length for video or audio, or 300 words for text or infographic (and 200 megabytes for all files).


In Phase 1, the top 25 submissions will receive a cash prize of $3,000.

In Phase 2, those top 25 finalists will join us at the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at The University of British Columbia, to attend a special communications master class and deliver a live presentation at the Storytellers Showcase. At this showcase event, our judges will select the final five winners, who will receive an expense-paid trip for their presentations to be featured at the 2019 SSHRC Impact Awards event.

The chances of winning a prize in Phase 1 are dependent on the total number and quality of eligible submissions received before the Phase 1 closing date of January 31, 2019, at 5 p.m. (eastern).

The chances of winning in Phase 2 will be no less than one-in-five.

Step 1: Pitch

Each year, SSHRC challenges postsecondary students to show Canadians how social sciences and humanities research is affecting our lives, our world and our future prosperity.

The results are clever, inventive, funny, moving, inspirational and educational.

Send us your pitch—in three minutes or 300 words—telling us about a great SSHRC-funded project happening at your school.

The project can be yours or it can be a professor’s (get their permission first!), but your pitch needs to be creative, compelling and clear.

Submission period: November 15, 2018, to January 31, 2019

Step 2: Develop

An expert panel of communications professionals will pick the 25 best entries.

These top 25 Storytellers will each receive a cash prize of $3,000, a spot in our exclusive research communications master class at Congress 2019 (registration and three nights’ accommodation included), national promotion of their project and the chance to present their work at the Storytellers Showcase.

The master class workshop features mentoring and training from experienced communications professionals, as well as specialized group sessions to help the Top 25 polish their presentations.

At the Storytellers Showcase, as part of Congress 2019, the Top 25 will take the stage and deliver their pitches in front of a live audience.

Step 3: Share

Share your research story with the world.

Selected by our jury at Congress, the Final Five Storytellers will be brought in from across Canada to give featured presentations at the prestigious 2019 SSHRC Impact Awards ceremony.

Get Started:

Contestants can submit their entries online via the SSHRC website starting November 15, 2018, at 10 a.m. (Eastern), until the contest closes on January 31, 2019, at 5 p.m. (Eastern). Meanwhile, here are some resources to get you started:


Check out our YouTube channel for previous years' entries and the Final Five presentations.

Search through the Storytellers gallery.

Imagining Canada’s Future: Asking tomorrow’s questions, today.

Five tips for creating a great entry

Looking for some guidance on how to create your entry to the Storytellers contest? Here are some tips to help get you started.


Ask yourself: What is the most important information people need to know about this research?

Talk to all of us

Use common language. Avoid jargon. Use analogies and images from everyday life. Come up with a short, attention-grabbing title. Remember: you’re speaking to all Canadians.

Make it relatable

People (including judges!) are interested in things that affect them personally. Show and tell how this research might matter to them. Give them a reason to stay with you through three minutes or 300 words.

Show and tell

If you’re making a video or infographic, find interesting ways to present your subject. Think of a gripping start to your entry that will grab attention in the first few seconds or words. Use compelling visuals wherever you can.

Have fun

Create an entry that communicates your personality, enthusiasm and creativity. They are what will make your entry unique and help it stand out from the crowd.

The bottom line is to aspire to meet the “three Cs”: be creative, compelling and clear.

To get inspired, check out examples of great entries in our Storytellers gallery.

Imagining Canada's Future

For Canada to be successful in the 21st century, we need to anticipate the challenges ahead and keep our minds open to the potential futures facing us all. This is the inspiration behind SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative.