Application Instructions—Knowledge Synthesis Grants: Shifting Dynamics of Privilege and Marginalization
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.
SSHRC recommends clearing your browser cache to ensure the most up-to-date instructions are consulted. Verify the date modified at the bottom of this webpage to ensure these instructions are for the latest funding cycle.
On this page
- Documents to read before applying
- Application process
- Applicant or project director
- Activity details / research activities (mandatory)
- Summary of proposal (mandatory)
- Knowledge mobilization plan (mandatory)
- Open access and data management
- List of references or bibliography (mandatory)
- Expected outcomes (mandatory)
- Project proposal (mandatory)
- Funds requested from SSHRC (mandatory)
- Budget justification (mandatory)
- Impact assessment—Appendix A
- Exclusion of potential reviewers (if applicable)
- Research contributions (mandatory)
Documents to read before applying
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
- one-on-one phone or video appointments to clarify funding program information or the application process, or receive technical support;
- alternative formats of online materials to enable access using assistive technology; and
- submission of the application (in full or part) through alternate means or format (e.g., hard copy, voice recording, or data entry by SSHRC staff on the applicant’s behalf).
Applicant or project director responsibilities
By clicking “Submit,” the applicant or project director certifies that all information is accurate.
They are also responsible for:
- completing all mandatory fields (bold labels);
- attaching mandatory electronic files (application);
- ensuring all co-applicants and collaborators have submitted their Accept Invitation form;
- verifying and correcting the data until the “Verification Report” confirms verification; and
- clicking “Submit” (to research administrator) for approval by your institution’s or organization’s internal deadline. The electronic submission process ensures validation of the information by an institution’s or organization’s administrator before they forward your application to SSHRC on your behalf (status is “Forwarded”). Once processed by SSHRC, the status will change to “Received.”
Research or financial administrator responsibilities
By clicking “Forward” (Forward to SSHRC), the research administrator or designated financial administrator for not-for-profit organizations (institutional approval) certifies that:
- the applicant or project director:
- is affiliated with the institution or organization; and
- has the necessary time and facilities to carry out the activity; and
- the postsecondary institution or not-for-profit organization:
- is willing to administer any grant received following SSHRC policies;
- agrees to take the necessary steps to ensure that machine-readable files or computer databases are preserved and accessible under conditions agreed to by the institution or organization and the researcher;
- will release funds to the successful candidate once all necessary certification requirements and conditions have been met;
- will notify SSHRC of any change in the grant holder’s status during the tenure of the grant; and
- has verified that the budgetary estimates are in accordance with its rates and policies.
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. SSHRC will acknowledge receipt of your electronic application form and will assign you an application number. Cite this number in all correspondence with us.
Applications remain available for download via the SSHRC online system for 30 days after the deadline, after which they are deleted.
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. Once you have attached the electronic file, we recommend you click “View attached file” to ensure you have the proper file and that it is not corrupted.
Provide a short, descriptive title for your proposal in non-technical terms. Restrict use of acronyms (e.g., UN, NATO). Use uppercase for only the first word of the title, proper nouns and acronyms.
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.
Applicant or project director
The applicant or project director is responsible for the project and assumes administrative responsibility for the grant. Carefully review the Eligibility section of the Knowledge Synthesis Grants funding opportunity description before completing this module.
Names and initials
This information has automatically been transferred from your account. To change your family name or first name, you must contact email@example.com. To change your initials, you must return to the “My Account” section of your portfolio to update the information.
The organization name has automatically been transferred from the “current position” screen of your CV. To have a different affiliation on record for this application, click “List…” and make the necessary selection.
Administering organization (individual grants) or lead organization (institutional grants)
Only an eligible Canadian institution or organization can administer grant funds. Institutions or not-for-profit organizations interested in administering SSHRC individual or institutional grants must meet the institutional eligibility requirements for the administration of grants and awards for the three federal research granting agencies, which is independent of this application process.
Activity details / research activities (mandatory)
State whether or not your proposal involves human beings as research subjects. If it does, select “Yes” and consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and submit your proposal to your organization’s research ethics board.
The Impact Assessment Form (Appendix A) (PDF, 141KB) must be completed and submitted with grant applications ONLY if at least one of the following situations applies to your research or research-related activities, as per the Impact Assessment Act, 2019 (IAA):
- any phase of the proposed research takes place on federal lands, other than lands under the administration and control of the Commissioner of Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut, as interpreted in section 2 of the IAA;
- any phase of the proposed research takes place in a country other than Canada;
- the grant funds permit a designated project (listed in the Physical Activities Regulations) to be carried out in whole or in part; or
- any phase of the proposed research depends on a designated project (listed in the Physical Activities Regulations) being led or carried out by an organization other than SSHRC.
The first two points apply only to designated projects / physical activities listed in the Physical Activities Regulations (e.g., projects that involve physical work / alterations to the land or environment).
If none of these situations apply to your research or research-related activities, Appendix A is not needed.
For more information, see SSHRC’s Guidelines on Impact Assessment.
List keywords, separated by semicolons, that best describe your proposal.
Disciplines, areas of research, temporal periods, geographical regions and countries
Indicate and rank each entry relevant to your proposal, with Entry 1 as the most relevant and the last entry the least relevant.
The categories of co-applicant and collaborator are SSHRC terms that accord with financial regulations outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration, so project directors are encouraged to discuss roles and involvement in the team at the outset and to be clear about whether participants will have access to research funds prior to inviting them for a particular role.
Participant invitation process:
- Select the role.
- If applicable, select academic or non-academic.
- Enter the family name. If you incorrectly type in a participant’s family name, you will receive an error message. The system will recognize the discrepancy only after the participant has accepted the invitation. For your application to be successfully verified, the participant’s family name must be identical to the family name found in SSHRC’s database.
- Enter the email address.
- Click “Save.” The system will generate an email to each person, inviting them to participate in the application.
It is the responsibility of each invited person to complete, verify and submit their Accept Invitation form.
Note : Your application will not be “Verified Successfully” if all participants you invited have not successfully completed and verified their invitation.
Invitation not yet accepted
Participant has not accepted the invitation.
Participant has accepted the invitation and the “Accept Invitation Form” has been created. Click “View form” to preview the form.
Invitation accepted but not yet verified
Co-applicant has accepted the invitation and a copy of their CV was attached to their Accept Invitation form on creation. The Accept Invitation form is incomplete. Click “View CV” to preview the co-applicant’s CV and form.
Invitation accepted and verified
Co-applicant’s Accept Invitation form has been completed and verified. Click “View CV (Curriculum Vitae)” to preview the co-applicant’s CV (Curriculum Vitae) and form.
Co-applicants must do the following:
- Co-applicants affiliated with a postsecondary institution must submit a full SSHRC CV.
- Co-applicants from a non-academic organization have the option of submitting a full SSHRC CV or only completing the following mandatory fields:
- Identification module—Correspondence language
- Identification module—Permanent postal code
- Current Position module—Organization, department, start date
- Current Position module—Address
- Current Position module—Primary phone number
- Research Expertise module—Keywords
- Research Expertise module—Discipline #1
Research contributions and relevant experience attachment
In addition to meeting the CV requirements above, co-applicants must also provide PDF attachments describing their research contributions and relevant experience.
A copy of the co-applicant’s CV will be attached to the Accept Invitation form on creation. As the applicant or project director, you will then be able to view each co-applicant’s CV as applicable. See Research contributions and relevant experience for details. Co-applicants may choose to devote more space to certain sections depending on the nature of their past contributions and experience (e.g., non-academic participants may choose to have a larger Relevant experience section).
Summary of proposal (mandatory)
Provide a summary of your proposal, indicating the challenges or issues to be addressed.
By submitting an application, applicants consent, if they are awarded a Knowledge Synthesis Grant, to this summary being used for promotional purposes for non-academic audiences, and for informing parliamentarians, media and members of the public who request information about SSHRC-funded research.
Knowledge mobilization plan (mandatory)
In planning your research project, consider the ways in which merit reviewers assess knowledge mobilization activities. For example, reviewers are advised to evaluate, under the Feasibility criterion, the “quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.”
SSHRC encourages its funding recipients to disseminate research knowledge in both official languages, whenever feasible and/or appropriate.
Include a plan to increase knowledge uptake by target audiences, and anticipated outputs, outcomes and/or impacts of social sciences and humanities knowledge among various appropriate audiences or participants (academic and/or non-academic), including:
- methodologies and approaches to engage appropriate target audiences or participants, including, as applicable, diverse groups of researchers, policy-makers, business leaders, community groups, educators, media, international audiences, practitioners, decision-makers and the general public;
- timeframes or a schedule for the intended knowledge mobilization activities; and
- justifications for how the above two points fit within the project’s particular knowledge mobilization objectives.
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, e.g., open access publications, websites, publicly accessible databases and/or institutional repositories. To learn more, see Open Access overview.
List of references or bibliography (mandatory)
List all references cited or works referred to in your proposal. SSHRC recognizes and allows the use of different referencing styles.
Expected outcomes (mandatory)
The project’s expected outcomes are essential for the merit review of the proposal and are part of the Challenge evaluation criterion. Elaborate on the potential benefits and/or outcomes of your proposed project. You will be able to share how your outcomes have evolved in follow-up achievement reports.
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.
Expected outcomes summary
Describe the potential long-term benefits and outcomes (e.g., evolution, effects, potential learning and implications) that could emerge from the proposed project as a result of knowledge mobilization activities.
Contingency plans related to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your research project may be described in this section, if appropriate. This is not mandatory, but it may assist the merit review committee in assessing the feasibility of your proposal if your research plans are significantly disrupted, e.g., if international travel is not possible.
Project proposal (mandatory)
Before writing your proposal, consult the funding opportunity’s evaluation criteria. Provide the following information in your project proposal:
- a descriptive title;
- the theme(s) and subtheme(s) that will be addressed;
- a description of the proposed knowledge synthesis project, including its significance, expected contributions and impacts, contextualized in current literature and accounting for previous research done;
- an outline of the relevant expertise and experience of the applicant/team; and
- a work plan, including timelines, and a description of the proposed methodology and approach.
Contingency plans related to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your research project may be described in this section, if appropriate. This is not mandatory, but it may assist the merit review committee in assessing the feasibility of your proposal if your research plans are significantly disrupted, for example, if international travel is not possible.
Funds requested from SSHRC (mandatory)
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 or not-for-profit organization 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 according to the appropriateness of the requested budget, and to the justification of other planned resources (e.g., time, human and financial), including cash and in-kind support already or to be secured from partner organizations.
SSHRC provides the following guidelines to committee members regarding the merit review of the budget subcriteria of the overall feasibility score.
- Committees may consider failing a project on the Feasibility criterion if they determine that 50% 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 budget reductions when they determine the request is inadequately justified and/or not appropriate as described above, and where they judge that savings could be achieved without jeopardizing the project objectives.
Enter amounts rounded to the nearest dollar without any spaces or commas (e.g., 2000). For blank entries, leave in the “0” value.
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.
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.
Travel and subsistence costs must be based on rates approved by the institution or organization that will administer the funds.
Professional or technical services
Consulting fees for professional and technical services are eligible expenditures if the budget justification demonstrates expert advice is needed.
You may 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 it is not provided by the administering institution to their research personnel or by the employer.
Specify other research and/or related expenses not already included.
Budget justification (mandatory)
Using the categories listed on the Funds requested from SSHRC page, explain how you will use the funds in each budget category to achieve the project objectives. For example, under the Student and non-student salaries and benefits categories, explain why these people need to be hired to meet the project’s objectives. Applicants are reminded of SSHRC’s mandate to provide training opportunities for students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, as applicable. Justify any funds that appear in the category “Other.”
Ensure that your budget requests match the level of funding that is essential to complete the proposed activities. The merit review committee may deem your application less competitive if it finds that you are requesting non-essential funding.
- No team members (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator) may be remunerated with grant funds. This includes postdoctoral researchers serving in any of these capacities.
- Consultation fees are eligible for expert and/or professional and technical services that contribute directly to the proposed research as 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.
Impact assessment—Appendix A
If you have selected “Yes” to at least one of the questions in the Impact Assessment section on the Activity Details screen, you must complete an Impact Assessment Form (Appendix A) and upload it to the Impact Assessment page.
Exclusion of potential reviewers (if applicable)
List potential reviewers who, in your opinion, would be unlikely to provide an impartial review. Provide a justification for excluding potential reviewers (e.g., experts with whom you or members of your research team have had serious disputes). 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 external reviewers or members of the merit review committee. Any exclusion should be renewed with any subsequent applications, if still relevant.
Research contributions (mandatory)
Research contributions content must address the Capability evaluation criteria listed in the funding opportunity description.
Applicants or project directors must attach research contributions in this order:
- Relevant research contributions over the last six years
- Other research contributions
- Most significant career research contributions
- Career interruptions and special circumstances
- Contributions to training
Co-applicants must also provide their research contributions (maximum four pages), which they will be able to upload once they have accepted the invitation to participate.
1. Relevant research contributions over the last six years
Outline your research contributions within six years of the application deadline. In the case of those candidates claiming career interruptions (see 4. below), you may include publications drawn from your most recent periods of research activity to an overall total of six years.
Provide details, as appropriate, about the contributions you listed, as follows:
- In the left margin, identify with an asterisk (*) research contributions that resulted from previous SSHRC support.
- Specify your role in co-authored publications.
- For published contributions, provide complete bibliographic notices (including co-authors, title, publisher, journal, volume, date of publication and number of pages) as they appear in the original publication.
- For publications in languages other than French or English, provide a translation of the title and the name of the publication.
- For recent graduates, list theses.
Group your contributions by category in the following order, as applicable, listing your most recent contributions first.
Examples include books (where applicable, subdivide according to those that are single-authored, co-authored and edited works), monographs, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals and conference proceedings.
A “refereed work” involves its assessment:
- in its entirety—not merely an abstract or extract;
- before publication; and
- by independent (at arm’s length from the author), anonymous, qualified experts.
Other refereed contributions
Examples include papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences and articles in professional or trade journals.
Examples include book reviews, published reviews of work, research reports, policy papers and public lectures.
Indicate one of the following statuses: “submitted,” “revised and submitted,” “accepted” or “in press.” Provide the name of the journal or book publisher and the number of pages. Do not list contributions not yet submitted.
Examples of creative outputs 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 links will be accessed.
2. Other research contributions
Describe any other contributions to research and the advancement of knowledge within the last six years, including your research contributions to non-academic audiences (e.g., public, policy-makers, private sector and not-for-profit organizations).
3. Most significant career research contributions
List and rank up to five of your most significant contributions over your entire career. The six-year rule does not apply to this section. Therefore, contributions listed here may differ from those listed in other sections of your CV. Explain briefly the significance of the contributions listed.
4. Career interruptions and special circumstances
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. In these cases, as explained in the Relevant research contributions over the last six years section, explain the interruption(s) and ask that an overall total of six years of research activity be considered by the merit review committee.
Special circumstances involve slowdowns in research productivity created by health (and/or disability-related), administrative, family, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, COVID-19 or other reasons (i.e., the researcher was not completely taken away from research work). Applicants from small institutions may 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.
SSHRC asks its merit review committees to consider career interruptions and special circumstances that may have affected candidates’ record of research achievements. In doing so, merit review committee members will be able to more accurately estimate the productivity of each researcher, independent of any career interruptions or special circumstances in the last six years. Previous productivity is one element that may 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 application. 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.
5. Contributions to training
Provide the following information on students you have helped train within the last six years:
- Indicate your role in supervising or co-supervising ongoing and/or completed theses, listing these by the student’s level of studies.
- Describe efforts you have made to involve students (e.g., doctoral, master’s or undergraduate) in your research activities.
- Specify if opportunities for such contributions have been limited because your institution does not have graduate degree programs in your field or discipline.
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