Partnership Grants—Stage 1 –
Applicant Instructions

Note: For these instructions, “applicant” and “project director” 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 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 (i.e., September 1 to December 1) and on deadline days.

Application process

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 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,” the applicant or project director certifies that all information is accurate. They are also responsible for:

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:

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 through 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 document. 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, click “View attached file” to ensure you have the proper file and that it is not corrupted.

Identification (mandatory)

Program name

Select the Research partnerships program if your proposal focuses on partnered research activities and/or partnered knowledge mobilization activities. Select the Research training and talent development program only if your proposal is a partnered research training initiative.

Application title

Provide a short, descriptive title for your proposal in non-technical terms. Restrict use of acronyms (e.g., UN, NATO). Use uppercase only for the first word of the title, proper nouns and acronyms.

Type of partnership

Indicate whether this is a new or existing partnership. A new partnership is one that was developed for the purposes of applying to this funding opportunity.

Joint initiatives

See the funding search tool for a complete list of joint initiatives that may be relevant to your application. If you want your project to be considered for one of these initiatives, select it in the drop-down list in the “Joint or special initiative” field in the Identification module.

Research-creation proposals

Before you select “Yes,” refer to the definition of research-creation for more information and examples of fields involving research-creation.

If you select “Yes,” see Research contributions and relevant experience and the Guidelines for Research-Creation Support Materials for instructions about creative outputs and support material.

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.

Project director

Carefully review the Eligibility section of the Partnership Grants—Stage 1 funding opportunity description before completing this module. Enter complete information about the project director (the person responsible for the overall intellectual leadership of the partnership and accountable, with the host institution/organization, for coordinating the grant’s overall financial and administrative aspects). If you have an existing SSHRC CV and wish to indicate a different position from the one on record, use this section to enter a new organization, department or division.

Applicant (or lead organization for institutional grants)

Enter complete information about the applicant (the institution or organization that will manage or administer the funds). Along with the information requested, enter the contact person at the organization.

Names and initials

This information has automatically been transferred from your account. To change your family name or first name, you must contact To change your initials, you must return to the “My Account” section of your portfolio to update the information.


The organization 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.


Complete the address section only if the department is not listed.

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, which is independent of the application process.

Host organization involvement (mandatory)

Maximum two pages

Partnership Grants are institutional/organizational applications. At Stage 1, you must attach a letter of engagement from your host institution/organization, written on official letterhead and signed by appropriate officials. While the host institution/organization does not need to confirm its contribution to the partnership at this stage, the letter should explain how the host institution/organization plans to be involved in supporting the partnership (e.g., infrastructure, cash and/or in-kind support, services, training, etc.). The letter of engagement should include a statement confirming the institution/organization’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and details about the support it will provide to advance the partnership’s EDI plan (refer to SSHRC’s Guide to Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Partnership Grants Applications). In addition, the letter should provide an overview of the host institution/organization’s research and related priorities/strategy, and of how the proposed partnership will advance those objectives.

Note: If applicable, the letter of engagement should also include contributions from departments within the host institution.

Organization information (not-for-profit organizations only)

Maximum two pages

When a not-for-profit organization is the administering organization and proposes to manage the funds, you must include the following:

Activity details / research activities (mandatory)


State whether or not your proposal involves human beings as research subjects. If so, select “Yes,” consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and submit your proposal to your organization’s research ethics board.


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.

Partnership approaches

Partnership arrangements are defined by the nature of the activity/activities to be carried out. Select one or more possible formal partnership approaches in the drop-down menu. If your approach is not listed, select “Other” and type your approach in the box provided.

Approaches available within the Partnership Grants can include, but are not limited to:

If you have selected the Research training and talent development program as a program name under Identification, you must select partnered research training initiatives as an approach and follow the Guidelines for Partnered Research Training Initiatives.

Previous SSHRC funding (if applicable)

Maximum one page

If the proposed partnerships’ activities are the result of previous SSHRC-funded activities, explain how they differ from those previously financed through SSHRC grants. Describe the results and impacts of past SSHRC-funded activities and explain how these could influence the new activities in your proposal. Describe any potential or perceived overlaps with, as well as value added for, other continued SSHRC funding. Also describe any links developed with the partner organizations as part of previous SSHRC-funded activities.


You can invite one or more co-directors in this module if your proposed partnership uses a co-director governance approach in which a co-director (or co-directors, if justified) share intellectual leadership. This approach should be outlined and justified in the narrative portions of your application in relation to the research and related activities being proposed in the partnership. The project director is responsible for the overall intellectual leadership of the team or partnership and is accountable, with the host institution, for coordinating the grant’s overall financial and administrative aspects.

Ensure that co-directors invited in this section are eligible for that role. See the eligibility section of the Partnership Grants―Stage 1 funding opportunity description. CVs for co-directors who are ineligible can be removed from your application before its evaluation.

Co-director invitation process:

Each invited person is responsible for completing, verifying and submitting their Accept Invitation form.

Your application will not be “Verified Successfully” until all the co-directors you invited have successfully completed and verified their invitation.

Status Definition

Invitation not yet accepted

A co-director has not accepted the invitation.
If the co-director deleted the system-generated invitation email by error, as the applicant you can click “Resend email” and the same invitation will be sent again.
If the co-director has declined the invitation, you must remove the person from the application by clicking “Clear entry.”

Invitation accepted but not yet verified

A co-director has accepted the invitation and a copy of their CV was attached to their “Accept Invitation Form” on creation. The “Accept Invitation Form” has not yet been verified. Click “View CV” to preview the co-director’s CV and form.

Invitation accepted and verified

A co-director’s “Accept Invitation Form” has been completed and verified. Click “View CV” to preview the co-director’s CV and form.


Invited participants in this module do not submit SSHRC CVs in Stage 1.

Participant categories 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 before inviting them in a particular role.

Ensure that co-applicants invited in this section are eligible for that role. See the eligibility section of the Partnership Grants Stage 1 funding opportunity description.

Participant invitation process:

It is the responsibility of each invited person to complete, verify and submit their Accept Invitation form.

Your application will not be “Verified Successfully” if all participants you invited have not successfully completed and verified their invitation.

Status Definition

Invitation not yet accepted

Participant (co-applicant or collaborator) has not accepted the invitation.
If the participant deleted the system-generated invitation email by error, as the applicant you can click “Resend email” and the same invitation will be sent again.
If the participant has declined the invitation, you must remove the person from the application by clicking “Clear entry.”

Invitation accepted

Participant has accepted the invitation and the “Accept Invitation Form” was created. Click “View” to preview the form.

Description of team (mandatory)

Maximum three pages

Explain the different types of expertise needed to ensure the success of the partnership. Describe the roles, responsibilities and contributions of the project director, co-director(s) and key co-applicants and/or collaborators, as applicable. Clearly indicate, where appropriate, whether they are from an academic or non-academic sector (e.g., not-for-profit organization, philanthropic foundation, public or private sector organization) and how the activities and expertise of each member will support and enhance the proposed partnership. Include details about whether the team member has worked collaboratively with the project director and/or other team members in the past.

Note about privacy and confidentiality: Applicants must protect the privacy and confidentiality of all team members and trainees. How an individual self-identifies is considered personal and confidential information. If a team member’s self-identification (for example, gender, Indigenous identity, disability or racial background) is relevant to the research project, you may include that self-identity information in this section only with their consent. Otherwise, self-identification information about any team member should not appear in the application.

Invited partner organizations (mandatory)

Partner organization invitation process:

It is your responsibility as the project director to ensure that the invited person verifies and completes the form in advance of the application deadline.

Your application will not be “Verified Successfully” if all the contacts you have invited have not successfully completed and verified their invitation.

Status Definition

Invitation not yet accepted

Partner organization contact has not accepted the invitation.


If the partner organization contact deleted the system-generated email by error, as the applicant, you can click “Resend email,” and the same invitation will be sent again.

Invitation refused

Partner organization contact was unable to complete the form.

Invitation accepted but not yet verified

“Partner Organization Form” has been created but is incomplete. Click “View” to preview the form.

Form completed

“Partner Organization Form” has been verified and completed. The form will be attached electronically to your application after it has been submitted to SSHRC.

It is the responsibility of each invited partner organization contact to complete, verify and submit their Accept Invitation form, including their letter of engagement (maximum two pages). Each letter should be written on official letterhead and include the following:

By submitting, the partner organization is acknowledging that it has read and agrees in principle with the objective(s) of the proposal.

List of potential partner organizations and other contributors (if applicable)

Maximum two pages

Attach a list of potential partner organizations and other contributors you plan to engage during the term of your grant. Include email addresses and website links, if available.

The list should be divided into:

Summary of proposal (mandatory)

Maximum one page

Provide a clear summary of your proposal indicating:

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.

List of references or bibliography (mandatory)

Maximum five pages

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

If you have included references by the project director, co-directors, co-applicants or collaborators, indicate these in bold type.

Goal and project description (mandatory)

Maximum eight pages

Before writing your proposal, consult the evaluation criteria in the funding opportunity description. Consider using tables and charts as they are often the most effective and efficient way to capture the proposed structure and co-ordination of formal partnerships and activities.

Provide the following information:

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, for example, open access publications, websites, publicly accessible databases and/or institutional repositories, among others. To learn more, see Open Access overview.

Research-creation support material (if applicable)

Maximum one page

If in the Identification screen you have self-identified your project as research-creation, you must include a website link to provide examples of work that best illustrate the qualifications of the team and/or the nature of the proposed research-creation.

When including a website link:

SSHRC reserves the right to remove this section from the application if it does not relate to research-creation. SSHRC assumes no responsibility in cases where links provided are broken or the server is unavailable during the merit review period. Reasonable efforts will be made to view or listen to support material. However, due to technical challenges, SSHRC cannot guarantee that the samples will be accessed. Reviewers will have very limited time per application to view, read or listen to samples of work. Only links provided in the support material attachment will be used by merit reviewers.

See SSHRC’s Guidelines for Research-Creation Support Materials for more information.

Funds requested from SSHRC (mandatory)

Partnership Grants are valued at a maximum of $500,000 per year, up to $2.5 million over four to seven years.

Part 1: Development funds

You can request up to $20,000 to assist the research team in preparing the Stage 2 application. In the Budget justification section, provide details and justification of the individual costs that make up this total.

Part 2: Estimates for full project

In Stage 1, the figures provided only need to be estimates of the amounts you anticipate requesting in Stage 2 if you are invited to apply.

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 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.

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

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. Travel and 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 if the budget justification shows 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.

Nondisposable 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 nondisposable 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.

Other—Salary research allowances

Salary research allowances are an eligible expense. These stipends are paid to a Canadian not-for-profit organization to cover up to 50% of the annual salary of an employee who is being temporarily replaced because they will be devoting their time as an applicant, co-director or a co-investigator on a SSHRC-funded research project. The request for a salary research allowance must be justified in the proposal.

Salary research allowances can be used only by not-for-profit organizations that have applicants, co-directors or co-applicants listed on the grant team. Postsecondary institutions and governmental organizations are not eligible for salary research allowances.

A salary research allowance is not a salary for the project director, co-director or co-applicant, but is paid to the Canadian not-for-profit organization to offset the costs of replacing its employee.

Other expenses

Specify other research and/or related expenses.

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 related to tools (i.e., software, equipment, and professional and technical services) into this category. You must 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.

Note: Expenses to facilitate equitable, inclusive and accessible participation in the research should be considered. Refer to your institution’s policies and the Statement on equity, diversity and inclusion and the use of grant funds in the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration. Refer to SSHRC’s Guide to Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Partnership Grants Applications, and Appendix B in that guide for examples of EDI in research practice and questions to consider for EDI in research design.

Budget justification (mandatory)

Maximum one pages

Attach a PDF document showing the budget justification for the $20,000 requested from SSHRC for preparing the Stage 2 application. Justification for the estimated costs of the full proposal is not required at this stage.

Funds from other sources

List all contributors (e.g., host institution or organization, individuals, not-for-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations and private sector organizations) providing cash and/or in-kind contributions for the proposal. Indicate if these have been confirmed.

If a funding source is not listed, select “Other” using the “List…” button. Type in the source name and amount and identify the contribution type.

If you have received more than one contribution of the same type from a single source (i.e., cash or in-kind) and same confirmation status, you must combine these into one entry (e.g., two confirmed $20,000 cash contributions from a university become one confirmed $40,000 cash contribution). Enter amounts rounded off to the nearest dollar―in Canadian currency―without spaces or commas (e.g., 40000). For blank entries, leave the “0” value.

When you save the data, five new blank entry lines will be added to the screen to allow you to enter additional funding entries, if necessary.

Contributions plan (mandatory)

Maximum one page

Before filling out this section, see the exclusions in the Guidelines for Cash and In-Kind Contributions.

In Stage 2, you must show that you will secure, over and above the budget requested from SSHRC, a 35% minimum cash and/or in-kind contributions from other sources during the life of the grant (four to seven years). You should use the Funds from other sources module to indicate specific contribution amounts. Successful Stage 1 applicants will be required to begin confirming cash and/or in-kind contributions in their Stage 2 application.

Detail your plan to secure cash and/or in-kind contributions. The plan must describe:

Suggested reviewers

List up to three Canadian and/or foreign specialists whom SSHRC can ask to assess your application if you are invited to submit a proposal to Stage 2.

SSHRC reserves the right not to select a reviewer from the submitted list. This list will not be used in evaluating your Stage 1 application.

Suggested reviewers cannot be:

Exclusion of potential reviewers (if applicable)

Maximum one pages

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 consider it when selecting 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 and relevant experience (mandatory)

Maximum five pages

The project director must attach Research contributions and relevant experience. You have five pages to address the sections below, as applicable. You may choose to devote more space to certain sections depending on the nature of your past contributions and experience (for example, non-academic project directors may choose to have a larger “Relevant experience” section). The attachment should be presented in this order, as applicable:

  1. Relevant research contributions over the last six years
  2. Other research contributions
  3. Most significant career research contributions
  4. Contributions to training
  5. Relevant experience

1. Relevant research contributions over the last six years

Outline your research contributions within six years of the application deadline date. Candidates claiming career interruptions (see Career interruptions and special circumstances section), may include publications drawn from their most recent periods of research activity to an overall total of six years.

Provide details, as appropriate, about the contributions you listed, as follows:

Group your contributions by category in the following order, as applicable, listing your most recent contributions first.

Refereed contributions

Examples include books (where applicable, subdivide by single-authored, co-authored and edited works), monographs, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals and conference proceedings.

A “refereed work” involves its assessment:

Other refereed contributions

Examples include papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences and articles in professional or trade journals.

Nonrefereed contributions

Examples include book reviews, published reviews of work, research reports, policy papers and public lectures.

Forthcoming contributions

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.

Creative outputs

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 can 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. Contributions to training

Provide the following information about sstudents you have helped train within the last six years:

5. Relevant experience

In the Relevant experience section, non-academic and academic project directors can describe previous experience relevant to the topic and objectives they are investigating in the application, including experience in engaging in and/or leading formal partnerships and collaborative research. Justify how this experience will help you in the proposed activity.

Examples of relevant experience include working within or with communities and/or organizations (e.g., not-for-profit, public and private sector organizations), non-academic career information, or voluntary work. Include:

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 indicate that 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 career interruptions and/or special circumstances, applicants should note:

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