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Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab – Stage 2: Funding opportunity –
Applicant Instructions

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

On this page

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 expertise.

SSHRC recommends you consider the following in your application, as applicable. 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 and on deadline days.

Application process

Only researchers who attended the Stage 1 Workshop in August 2023 are eligible to submit a proposal.

Creating an account and application on the Convergence Portal

Creating a Convergence account

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

Creating an application

The primary applicant will be sent a unique application link to access the application form for Stage 2;

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

Accommodations and accessibility

If you need help completing online application forms because of 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 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 research administrator” and accepting the terms and conditions, the primary applicant certifies that all information is accurate.

They are also responsible for:

Research or financial administrator responsibilities

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

Electronic submission process and acknowledgement of receipt of applications

Primary 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 through 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 below 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.

Filling out the IDEAS Lab Application Form

The primary applicant will be able to fill in, edit and submit the application form. They will also be able to upload all necessary supporting PDF documents. Co-applicants will not have the ability to edit any section of the application other than their own CV documents.

The primary applicant will need to fill in the following sections of the application:

Application Details

This section includes the application title, language of the application and the following question regarding Indigenous research: Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC?

Select “Yes” if you wish to signal to the merit review committee that your application should be reviewed in the context of SSHRC’s definition of Indigenous research and its Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.


This section will allow the primary applicant to invite co-applicants (collaborators will be added in the “Collaborators” section). Once they have invited the co-applicant(s) by email, the applicant will be able to see the status of each invitation in the table.

The primary applicant should follow up with each co-applicant to ensure they have received the invitation. Once the co-applicant has confirmed their participation in the research project, the applicant should see the “Accepted,” status They will be able to cancel or resend the invitations: see the far-right section of the page under the “Actions” heading. Note that “Accepted” does not confirm that the co-applicant has submitted all necessary documents to participate in this research project; it simply indicates that they have accepted the invitation to participate.


In this section, the primary applicant will be able to view the status of each co-applicant. The primary applicant will need to ensure that each co-applicant has a “Complete” status to be properly included in the research project. Each primary applicant should communicate directly with each co-applicant to ensure they have received all the information needed to complete this section. The primary applicant can also view the eligibility and information for each co-applicant under the “Actions” heading and remove any participant from the research project if necessary.

For co-applicants

Co-applicants will be invited to participate by the primary applicant. Co-applicants will need to click on the invitation email and follow the participant eligibility flow in Convergence. They should update any information as needed in their Convergence account (if the co-applicant needs to create a new Convergence account, please see earlier instructions). Once the eligibility flow has been completed, the co-applicant will need to accept the Terms and Conditions to be eligible to participate in the research project.

The co-applicant will need to upload their CV in the “CV Documents” section by clicking “upload file.” The co-applicant should contact the primary applicant after they have uploaded their CV to confirm that the primary applicant sees the “Completed” status.


The primary applicant needs to insert the pertinent information for each. For each, they will need to include:

First name, family name, position or role, department, organization, country of organization

The primary applicant must then click “Add Collaborator;” no further verification is required. The primary applicant must ensure all collaborators are properly added to the application.

Fields of Research

Applicants are asked to include two primary field of research and up to a maximum of five fields of research. Include any areas or disciplines that the IDEAS Lab application will engage in during its two-year research project. They may select any option from the dropdown menu.


Primary applicants must include up to five keywords that best describe the main areas of research for the project: each word should be separated by a comma.

Summary of Proposal (one page)

Provide a clear summary of your proposal, written in clear, non-technical language, indicating the challenges or issues to be addressed. Please include:

Note that by submitting an application, successful applicants consent to the use of this summary for promotional purposes outside the research community and to inform parliamentarians, media and members of the public who request information about research funded by SSHRC.

Expected Outcomes (one page)

The project’s expected outcomes are essential for the review of the proposal and are part of the Challenge evaluation criterion.

Describe the potential benefits and outcomes (e.g., evolution, effects, potential learning and implications) that could emerge from the proposed project. Explain the significance and expected contribution of the project to the wider community. If applicable, include details of plans to engage cross-sectoral stakeholders throughout the project to mobilize knowledge related to promising policies and practices.

Note that the Supporting Documents section will include a downloadable table of expected outcomes to be filled out.

Exclusion of potential reviewers (if applicable)

List potential reviewers who, in your opinion, would be unlikely to provide an impartial review. While SSHRC cannot be bound by this information, it will take it into consideration in the selection of reviewers.

This information will not be provided to members of the merit review committee.

Certifications, Licenses and Permits

As the IDEAS Lab competition is multidisciplinary in nature, each primary applicant is required to fill out any potential certifications or licenses needed for their research project.

If your application needs to submit an Impact Assessment Form, please download Appendix A at the bottom of this section and upload it in the “Supporting Documents.” For further information on SSHRC’s Guidelines on Impact Assessment click here.

Supporting Documents

Applicants must submit the following documents as pdf attachments. Note that the Impact Assessment Form is only mandatory if the primary applicant has clicked “yes” to any of the four Impact Assessment questions.

Description of team

Maximum four pages

Describe the research team, previous outputs and student training using the following subtitles, in the same order:

A. Description of the research team

Clearly explain:

B. Description of previous and ongoing research results

Summarize the results of the team’s most recent and ongoing research. Where appropriate, indicate the relevance of each to the proposed research. In the case of team research, include summaries of any relevant projects undertaken by co-applicants.

C. Description of proposed student training strategies

Clearly describe the specific roles and responsibilities of students and research assistants and indicate the duties, especially with respect to research, that they will be undertaking, as well as how these will complement their academic training.

Consult the Guidelines for Effective Research Training in preparing this section. These guidelines will also be provided to reviewers.

Detailed Project Description

Maximum eight pages

Using the headings below, describe the proposed research in enough detail to allow informed assessment by committee members:

SSHRC also suggests including the following:

SSHRC encourages applicants to discuss, if applicable, how research data arising from the project will be managed, including collection, preservation and sharing.

Expected Outcomes Table

Please complete the provided excel spreadsheet and upload the completed document as a pdf.

The project’s expected outcomes are essential for the review of the proposal and are part of the Challenge evaluation criterion. Elaborate on the potential benefits and/or outcomes of your proposed project.

Research and related outcomes include enhanced curriculum and teaching material, enriched public discourse, improved public policies, enhanced business strategies and increased innovations in every sector of society, as well as graduate supervision opportunities. Research outcomes, which are facilitated by the effective mobilization of knowledge, then permeate daily life in the form of new thinking and behaviour that lead to improvements in our economic, social, cultural and intellectual well-being.

For “Scholarly benefits,” “Social benefits” and “Audiences”, indicate and rank selections in order of importance. If the information is not listed, select “Other” from the list and type the information in the box provided.

Funds requested from SSHRC

Please complete the provided excel spreadsheet and upload the completed document as a pdf.

For each budget year, estimate the costs you are asking SSHRC to fund. All budget costs must conform to the rates and regulations of the applicant’s or project director’s institution and take into account the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration’s principles governing the appropriate use of funds. All costs must be justified in terms of the needs of the project, including costs for organizing and integrating team activities and for communicating results to audiences, stakeholders and the public. The budget will be reviewed to determine the suitability of the requested budget.

SSHRC provides the following guidelines to committee members regarding the review of the budget subcriteria of the overall Feasibility score:

  • Committees may consider failing a project on the Feasibility criterion if they determine that 30% or more of the overall budget request is insufficiently justified and/or not appropriate to the proposed objectives or outcomes of the project.

    Committees will use the principle of minimum essential funding to guide their budget discussions.

    Committees may recommend minor budget reductions when they determine the request is inadequately justified and/or not appropriate as described above, or when they judge that savings could be achieved without jeopardizing the project objectives.

    An application will automatically be failed if the committee deems that 50% or more of the overall budget is insufficiently justified and/or not appropriate to the proposed objectives or outcomes of the project.

Enter amounts rounded to the nearest dollar without any spaces or commas (e.g., 2000). For blank entries, leave the “0” value.

Open access and data management

Grant holders must follow the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. To the extent possible, and in keeping with this policy and SSHRC’s endorsement of open access forms of knowledge dissemination, grant holders should make their research results openly available, through open access publications, websites, publicly accessible databases and/or institutional repositories, among others. To learn more, see Open Access overview.

Personnel costs

For each of the categories below, enter the number of students and non-students you plan to hire, whether as salaried employees or as recipients of stipends.

Student and non-student salaries and benefits

For each applicable category, enter the number of students and non-students to be hired. Specify the total amount to be paid. When students are paid by wage, the amounts should follow the institution’s collective agreement or policy.

Student stipends

You may request stipends for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Stipends must be justified in terms of the research, research training and/or research-related objectives. The work performed by stipend recipients should be an integral part of the project. Stipend rates are set by the institution concerned.

Travel and subsistence costs

Enter, by budget year, the total amounts requested for travel abroad and within Canada for both the research team and student personnel. Project directors must obtain the lowest possible travel fares.

Subsistence costs must be based on rates approved by the institution or organization that will administer the funds.

Other expenses

Professional or technical services

Consulting fees for professional and technical services are eligible expenditures only if the budget justification demonstrates that expert advice is needed.


You can include other supply items (e.g., software, stationery, postage and telephone calls) only if they directly relate to the research and are not provided by the administering institution to their research personnel or by the employer.

Non-disposable equipment—computer hardware

Purchase or rental of computers and associated hardware is allowable only if these are not provided by the administering institution to their research personnel or by the employer.

Other non-disposable equipment

Purchase or rental of equipment (e.g., audio or video equipment) is allowable only if these are not provided by the administering institution to their research personnel or by the employer.

Other expenses

Specify other research and/or related expenses not already included.

Tools for research and related activities

For tools for research and related activities, select “Other expenses” and specify “Tools.” You must combine all requested expenses (i.e., for software, equipment, and professional and technical services) into this category. You must then elaborate on these items in the Budget justification section. Consult SSHRC’s Guidelines for Support of Tools for Research and Related Activities for more information on social sciences and humanities tools.

Budget justification

Maximum two pages

Applicants are required to explain how they will use the funds in each budget category to achieve the project objectives. Justify any funds that appear in the “Other” category.

Fully justify all budget costs in terms of the needs of the research, keeping in mind that the appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of the proposed costs are a subcriterion within the Feasibility criterion. It is imperative to distinguish between types of travel when explaining your travel expenses. The types are:

Briefly describe all (if applicable) funds obtained from other sources, list all contributors and, if applicable, provide details in your budget justification.

Note that expenditures for non-student assistants or associates must be fully justified in terms of the needs of the research. Also justify the number of students to be hired relative to the objectives of the proposed research.


  • Funds cannot be used for remuneration and/or travel and subsistence costs of presenters or guest speakers.
  • No team members (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator) can be remunerated with grant funds, including postdoctoral fellows serving in any of these capacities.
  • Funds cannot be used for collaborators’ research costs. However, their travel and subsistence expenses related to research planning, the exchange of information with the grantee, and the dissemination of research results are eligible.
  • Consultation fees are allowable for expert and/or professional and technical services that contribute directly to the proposed research so long as the service is not being provided by a team member or other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for a SSHRC grant.

For tools for research and related activities: Within the Budget justification page limit you must include a table clearly itemizing amounts (e.g., professional/technical services, supplies). These separate amounts cannot be included individually in the “Funds requested from SSHRC” module. Provide clear justification for each item proposed.

Impact Assessment—Appendix A

If the primary applicant has selected “Yes” to at least one of the four questions in the Impact assessment section, the “Impact Assessment Form (PDF document, 139 Kb)” (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded it in the Supporting Documents section.

The Impact Assessment Form (Appendix A) is not needed if none of these four situations apply to the proposed research activities. For further information, consult SSHRC’s Guidelines on Impact Assessment.


Maximum five pages

List all references cited or works referred to in the proposal. SSHRC recognizes and allows the use of different referencing styles.

Curriculum vitae

Maximum eight 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). See below for examples of what you may (but are not required to) include in each section:

  1. Personal information:

    1. Title/role refers to the title or role you hold in your current position at your institution/organization.
    2. 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 made and/or relevant experience(s) gained throughout your career that you consider significant as they relate to the topic and objectives of the application.

    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.

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

  5. Supervisory and mentorship activities:

    1. Describe how you have helped 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;
      • formal or informal mentoring of highly qualified personnel (HQP) (including supervision during the research process), colleagues (including early career researchers), collaborators, relevant partners, other professionals or community members;
      • 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.

    2. Copy the summary table of HQP below and indicate:
      • the number of individuals you currently supervise/co-supervise (at the application deadline);
      • the number of individuals you have supervised/co-supervised over the past six years (from the application deadline), excluding students that you are currently supervising or co-supervising; and
      • the totals for each line and column.


    • Include only HQP whose research training was under your direct and formal supervision. Do not include students supervised as part of your undergraduate course, a postdoctoral position, a thesis advisory committee, or normal teaching duties such as undergraduate courses and capstone design projects.
    • If, for example, you have supervised the same student during their full master’s and doctorate degrees, you may insert two supervision entries.

    Summary table of HQP

    Training of HQP
    Indicate the number of students, fellows and other research personnel that you:
      Currently (application deadline) Over the past six years (excluding current HQP)  
      Supervised Co-supervised Supervised Co-supervised Total
  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 the merit review process.

Career interruptions occur when researchers are taken away from their research work for an extended 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 affect the progression of academic careers in a distinctive way. Researchers can use this section to show that circumstances related to health (and/or disability), administrative, family, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, COVID-19 or other factors hindered their research work. For example, applicants from small institutions could indicate their teaching load in this section if the change in workload reduced their research output. Indigenous applicants can use the “Special Circumstances” section to describe special circumstances that may have affected 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).

When considering how to describe your details of career interruptions and/or special circumstances, applicants should note that:

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