Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab—Stage 1: Expression of Interest
Applicant Instructions

Note: For the purposes of these instructions, the terms “applicant” and “project director” are used to refer to individual applicants and the person acting on behalf of an institutional applicant.

Documents to read before applying

Helpful tips

Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Use non-technical terms that can be understood by a range of audiences with varied areas of expertise.

SSHRC advocates for the practices listed below when applicable in your application. In addition, costs related to these activities are eligible:

  • responsible research data management strategies;
  • open access publishing activities;
  • dissemination in both official languages;
  • promotion and support of official language minority communities; and
  • effective research training.

If you experience technical difficulties, contact the helpdesk as early as possible in the application process. The helpdesk has a higher volume of requests during peak periods (i.e., September 1 to December 1) and on deadline days.

Application process

See the Imagining Canada’s Future (ICF) Ideas Lab workshop description to confirm you are eligible to apply to this opportunity.

Creating an account and application on the Convergence Portal

Creating an account

If you are a new user, you need to create a Convergence Portal account:

Creating an application

If you leave the Portal before completing and submitting your application, you can find your draft application listed under the “Applications” tab when you log back in.

Accommodations and accessibility

If you need help completing online application forms due to circumstances arising from a disability, contact your institution (scholarship liaison officer, research grant office or other applicant support office) as early in the application process as possible to investigate available supports. If your institution cannot provide help, or needs SSHRC to collaborate on a solution, contact SSHRC at You can also contact SSHRC if you have questions or are seeking specific adaptation arrangements. You do not need to share your medical or sensitive personal information, and, to protect your privacy, should avoid doing so.

Frequently requested accommodations include, but are not limited to:

Applicant or project director responsibilities

By clicking “Submit” (to the research administrator) and accepting the Terms and Conditions, the applicant or project director certifies that all information is accurate.

They are also responsible for:

Research or financial administrator responsibilities

By clicking “Forward Selected to Agency,” the research administrator or designated financial administrator for not-for-profit organizations (institutional approval) certifies:

Electronic submission process and acknowledgement of receipt of applications

Applicants must allow enough time for their institution’s or organization’s internal approval process, as specified by the relevant authorities.

Applications will remain available for download, via the Convergence system, for a period following the application deadline.

Attaching a document

Many modules in your application will require you to attach a PDF file. You must follow the specified requirements for margins and font size, or your application will be deemed ineligible. An error message will appear if the file you are trying to attach does not meet the required specifications for page length and file size.

Prepare all attachments as follows:

Note: You must preview all attachments you upload to ensure they have been uploaded correctly and the content is viewable. Corrupted or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed will not be accepted.

Supporting documents

Letter of interest

Maximum 2,000 words

  1. Heading: Name, title, affiliations and areas of expertise of the applicant
  2. Research and interdisciplinarity: Explanation of how the applicant’s research interests and experience will allow them to contribute to the topic of this ICF Ideas Lab, including references to multi- or interdisciplinary projects or activities (committee work, joint teaching initiatives, etc.)
  3. Collaborations and partnerships: Description of the applicant’s experience with:
    1. research collaborations
    2. the co-creation, co-design and co-production of research
    3. partnerships and collaborations within the academic community (committee work, joint teaching initiatives, etc.)
    4. partnerships and collaborations with industry and community stakeholders
  4. Knowledge mobilization and communication: Evidence of the applicant’s ability to communicate with non-specialists, and of experience with knowledge mobilization activities and the co-creation of research (public talks, social media, policy briefs, SSHRC’s Storytellers challenge, etc.)
  5. Innovation and creativity: Explanation of how the applicant has produced highly original and forward-thinking research or research-creation, and demonstrated creativity in research and other professional activities (teaching, curriculum development, start-ups, etc.)
  6. Overall potential to contribute to the ICF Ideas Lab: Statement outlining the applicant’s objectives in wishing to participate in the ICF Ideas Lab workshop, and an explanation of how participation would impact their career

Curriculum vitae

Maximum seven pages

Since winter 2020, individuals from the research community have continued to participate in workshops to identify the needs of a harmonized CV management experience. The Tri-agency Grants Management Solution team has summarized what it has heard from applicants and reviewers. SSHRC is now piloting a tri-agency harmonized CV as part of the ICF Ideas Lab funding opportunity to inform the development of a new CV for the agencies.

The CV should highlight experiences and outputs over the last six years (unless otherwise specified) that demonstrate innovation, interdisciplinarity, ability to collaborate and/or interest in the workshop topic. Applicants should review the Evaluation criteria and scoring section of the ICF Ideas Lab description when preparing their CVs.

There is no limit to the volume of information for each section. You may choose to devote more space to certain sections depending on the nature of your past contributions and experience.

Include the following sections (1-6). Below you will find a few examples of what you may (but are not required to) include for each section:

  1. Personal information:
    • Title/role refers to the title or role you hold in your current position at your institution/organization.
    • You may list multiple degrees and/or qualifications, including their completion date, that you believe to be relevant to your role on the application.
  2. Personal statement:

    Describe why you are well suited for your role(s) in this application. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    • description of the impact of research, and benefits and impacts to society and science
    • description of the progress/productivity to contextualize results from your research activities that support your current application
    • previous work on the specific topic or related topics
    • expertise
    • lived and/or living experience(s)
    • leadership activities and skills
    • collaborations and/or past performance in the field or related fields
    • factors influencing career trajectory/path
  3. Most significant contributions:

    Describe up to five contributions and/or relevant experience(s) that you consider significant as they relate to the topic and objectives of the application, throughout your career.

    For each contribution, describe its impact, significance to and use by others.

    A contribution does not have to be a single publication or report. For example, a group of publications on a specific subject could be discussed as one contribution.

    Some examples of contributions include:
    • communication and knowledge translation of research to specialist or non-specialist research users, including the public (e.g., magazine/newspaper articles, media interviews, blogs, social media or public lectures)
    • contributions to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the research ecosystem
    • contributions to supporting traditional knowledge or Indigenous ways of knowing, including cultural practices in the social sciences and humanities context
    • creative outputs, which may include exhibitions, performances, publications, presentations, and film, video and audio recordings
      • List your most recent and significant achievements grouped by category.
      • Creative outputs will be evaluated according to established disciplinary standards and creative and/or artistic merit.
      • If applicable, you may include a website link. SSHRC cannot guarantee that links will be accessed.
    • publications, including articles, communications, pre-prints, monographs, memoirs or special papers, review articles, conference/symposia/workshop proceedings, posters and abstracts, government publications, and reports documenting industrial contributions or contributions to engineering practice
      • Indicate trainees for each publication using an asterisk (*) after the trainee name (e.g., Person Doe* or Doe, Person*).
      • If authorship is listed alphabetically rather than lead author first, indicate which author is the lead author by bolding the lead author’s name.
  4. Other contributions to knowledge:

    Indicate up to five additional contributions to knowledge creation and/or knowledge sharing/translation in the last six years.

    Refer to the list of examples in the instructions for most significant contributions.

  5. Supervisory and mentorship activities:

    Describe how you have helped to mentor and/or train future generations. Mentorship can include formal or informal mentorship activities.

    Some examples of contributions to training and mentoring include (but are not limited to):
    • contributions supporting Indigenous research training
    • development and delivery of training workshops outside of research or course requirements
    • establishment of safe, equitable and inclusive research environments, practices and norms
    • outreach to and engagement with students, youth or members of the general public, including through in-person or online targeted activities or capacity building

    Specify if opportunities for such contributions have been limited because your postsecondary institution does not have graduate degree programs in your field or discipline.

  6. Other relevant information:

    Provide any additional information you believe to be relevant to support your role/contribution to the proposed application for funding.

Career interruptions and special circumstances

Maximum one page

SSHRC asks its merit review committees to consider career interruptions and special circumstances that have affected candidates’ record of research. In doing so, merit review committee members will be able to assess the productivity of each researcher more accurately and equitably, independent of any career interruptions or special circumstances in the last six years. Previous productivity is one element that can predict the success of the proposed research project.

All information provided to SSHRC is subject to the Privacy Act. The information included in this section of your application will be shared with both external assessors and merit review committee members for consideration as part of their assessment. Research Office Administrators will also have access to your application when submitting on behalf of the administering organization. For more information, see merit review. All SSHRC merit reviewers are subject to the Tri-Agency Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy, and are prohibited from sharing this information outside of the merit review process.

Career interruptions occur when researchers are taken away from their research work for an extended period of time for health, administrative, family or other reasons, or reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special circumstances involve slowdowns in research productivity or any circumstances that impact the progression of academic careers in a distinctive way. Researchers can use this section to indicate their research work was impacted by circumstances related to health (and/or disability), administrative, family, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, COVID-19, or other factors. For example, applicants from small institutions could indicate their teaching load in this section if the change in workload impacted their research output. Indigenous applicants can use the “Special Circumstances” section of their application form to describe special circumstances that may have had an impact on their academic or career paths.

Use this optional section to outline any career interruptions or special circumstances that have affected your research activities. Provide dates of interruptions and indicate the reason for the delay in general terms (e.g., illness, disability, family loss or illness, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, COVID-19).

SSHRC offers the following information for your awareness when considering how to describe your details of career interruptions and/or special circumstances:

Date modified: