2022 Exploration: Full application guide


Notes

This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the information provided in the 2022 Exploration Competition Overview.

Your application must be received by the agency by 8:00 p.m. (eastern) on the deadline date. Your institution may have earlier internal deadlines. Check with your research administrator regarding internal deadlines for your institution. The research administrator at your institution is responsible for submitting your application.

All team members, including nominated principal investigators (NPIs), co-principal investigators (co-PIs) and co-applicants, should inform the research administrator at their institution (if applicable) of their involvement in the application.

Applicants and research administrators are encouraged to attend one of the webinars to learn about the Exploration application process. Webinars are recorded and made available to research grants offices after the initial session.

You must complete your application using the Convergence Portal. The Portal is only supported on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

Follow the instructions provided in the Portal to complete your application. The information needed to complete an application is outlined below.

The NPI must complete all sections of the full application and submit the application via their institution’s research administrator. Any new team members (co-PIs and co-applicants) must each complete their own profile in the Portal before the NPI submits the application. Team members will be able to see all sections of the application, but will not have edit access.

NPIs must verify the page lengths and formatting of any attachments uploaded to the application. If a submitted application contains one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.

Note

The Exploration stream review process includes a double-anonymous external review. External reviewers are not given information that could identify the research team, and vice versa. To ensure anonymity, do not include any identifying information about the team members (including name, previous work, research group, institution, organization, etc.) in the following sections:

  • equity, diversity and inclusion in research design (EDI-RD, referred to as GBA+ in previous Exploration competitions);
  • research proposal; and
  • budget justification.

You may include your own articles in the literature references, but they should not be identified as belonging to the research team. When referring to prior research, use non-identifying statements (e.g., “article was published,” “research was conducted on”). Do not provide links to personal sites (e.g., websites, blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts).

You can include information about yourself, your lab group and institution, as well as your team members, their lab groups and institutions in the biographical information about the team. If a team member’s self-identification (gender, Indigenous identity, disability or racial background) is relevant to the research project, you may include that self-identity information in the biographical information only with their consent. Otherwise, self-identification information about any team member should not appear anywhere in the application.

In the application’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) section, you may include information that reveals team members’ affiliations, including departments, lab groups, etc.

All relevant information from the NOI will be prepopulated in the full application. You must include the following content to complete an application. Complete sections a to e within the Convergence Portal.

  1. Proposed budget

    Enter the planned amount of funds to be spent in each category (direct and indirect costs) for each year of the project. Contact your research administrator for direction on how much to request for indirect costs.

  2. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research design (EDI-RD, referred to as GBA+ in previous Exploration competitions)

    Indicate whether EDI considerations are appropriate for the project and whether they have been integrated into the proposed research. If the team believes no EDI considerations are applicable to the research design, provide a rationale for this. These fields must be completed before your application can be submitted. This section must adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review.

  3. Certifications, licences and permits

    Answer the questions as they relate to the proposed research project. Consult the Requirements for Certain Types of Research for more information or clarification, if needed. With the exception of research taking place outdoors, which may require submission of an Impact Assessment at the time of application (follow the instructions in the Portal), no forms or certifications are required at the time of application. If you are awarded a grant, the necessary certification requirements must be met in accordance with the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.

  4. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice (EDI-RP, referred to as EDI in previous Exploration competitions)

    Applications must not include any self-identifying information about members of the research team in the EDI-RP section, but you may include information that reveals team members’ affiliations, including departments, lab groups, etc. Focus on the team’s commitment to EDI, not on its EDI profile. See NFRF’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research guide for more details.

    Applicants may draw on institutional EDI policies and practices where these exist, but they must be tailored to the particular context of the fields and teams involved. Applicants are encouraged to be specific and concise.

    In this section, provide the following:

    1. information about the team’s specific circumstances related to EDI, including identification of structural biases that could affect members of underrepresented groups (character limit: 2,500);
    2. the best practices that will be applied for each of the following elements (character limit: 250):
      • team composition and recruitment processes;
      • training and development opportunities; and
      • inclusion

      For each, a brief explanation must be provided, including: how each practice applies to the team’s specific context; how it will be implemented; the expected impacts; and how the impacts will be measured (character limit: 2,500).

    Information that reveals team members’ affiliations (including departments, lab groups, etc.) may be included in this section, if relevant.

  5. Supporting documents

    Upload each document as a separate attachment, with page limits as noted, following the instructions for attachments:

    1. Research proposal (maximum four pages if written in English; maximum 4.8 pages if written in French)

      Describe the proposed research project, providing a rationale for how it meets program expectations. Specifically, address why the research should be considered high-risk and high-reward. Also highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research, explaining why an interdisciplinary approach is needed and/or the added value it brings. The use of headings that correspond to the merit indicators (Interdisciplinarity and Fit to Program, High Risk and High Reward) are suggested but not mandatory. An additional heading of Project Plan is also suggested. Applicants are free to structure the Research proposal document attachment as they see fit, but must ensure it addresses the elements of the merit criteria.

      Provide a concise overview of the research objectives, relating the proposal to current and relevant research, prior art or knowledge. Briefly describe the research methodology and design, work plan and timeline. Discuss the approaches to Indigenous research, if appropriate (see SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research), and explain how the methodological design was informed by EDI considerations, if appropriate.

      This section must adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review. The Exploration stream review process involves a double-anonymous external review. External reviewers are not given information that could identify the research team, and vice versa. To ensure anonymity, do not include any identifying information about the team members (names, research groups, departments, institutions, etc.). When referring to prior research, use non-identifying statements (e.g., “article was published,” “research was conducted on”). Do not provide links to personal sites (e.g., websites, blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts).

    2. Biographical information about the research team (maximum two pages if written in English; maximum 2.4 pages if written in French)

      Provide a brief overview of the research team’s knowledge, background and expertise, from the perspective of how they will contribute to the project. Identify the anticipated contributions of each team member (NPI, co-PI, co-applicants and collaborators, as applicable) and explain how their contributions will be coordinated and integrated.

      Information about yourself, your lab group and institution, as well as your team members, their lab groups and institutions can be included in this section. If a team member’s self-identification (gender, Indigenous identity, disability or racial background) is relevant to the research project, that self-identifying information may be included here, but only with their consent.

    3. Budget justification (maximum one page if written in English; maximum 1.2 pages if written in French)

      Provide a breakdown and explanation of the direct costs of the research project. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess the appropriateness of the requested resources. If necessary, you can also use this section to describe other resources, including funding, materials or equipment, that will contribute to the project. Securing other sources of funding is not expected for this funding opportunity. A breakdown of the indirect costs of research is not required and should not be included.

      This section must adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review.

    4. Literature references (maximum five pages if written in English; maximum six pages if written in French)

      Provide a list of literature references cited in the application. This section must adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review.

To view PDF documents, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (downloadable free of charge). If you have the latest version of Adobe Reader and still cannot view contents, download a copy of the PDF and open it in your Adobe software.

Review your application to ensure that it is accurate and complete and that the sections to which external reviewers will have access adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review.

From the “Finalize Application” section, follow the prompts to submit your application.

After you accept the terms and conditions, the status of your submission will change to “Received by Administrator.” If you want to make any changes at this point, you may request that your research administrator return the application to you.

Once your research administrator has approved and submitted your application, the application status will change to “Received by Agency.” No changes can be made at that point and your application will not be returned to you.

When you receive an application submitted by an NPI at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. By submitting it, you are confirming that:

  • the participants meet the eligibility requirements; and
  • the proposed research project meets the eligibility requirements.

By submitting the application, the research administrator, on behalf of the institution, will also be certifying that the NPI:

  • is affiliated with the institution or organization;
  • has the necessary time and resources to carry out the activity; and
  • will email NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca if there are any changes during the tenure of the grant, including changes in the composition of the partnership, such as the addition of new co-PIs, co-applicants, collaborators, etc.

Note: If the NPI’s primary affiliation is not on SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions, the institution may be required to sign the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with SSHRC, for this program only, before receiving agency funds. Agency staff will contact the institutions of successful applicants after the notices of decision have been released, to initiate this process, as appropriate.

If you have questions:

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