Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab: Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century

Stage 2: Call for Funding Applications (by invitation only)

November 2023 Competition

Stage 2: Funding opportunity: Overview
Value Up to $250,000
Number of awards Up to 5
Duration 2 years
Notice of Invitation to apply to Stage 2 September 8, 2023
Application deadlineFootnote * November 22, 2023 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced March 2024

Only researchers who attended the Stage 1 Workshop in August 2023 are eligible to submit a proposal. See below for application instructions.

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Global challenges, such as those identified through SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative, can only be addressed through proactive, interdisciplinary collaborations. Governments, funding agencies and researchers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors have begun to explore new ways of solving these challenges through innovative partnerships and creative research projects. Ideas Labs create new research collaborations that transcend institutional and disciplinary silos and encourage different ways of thinking. They are therefore well-suited to addressing global challenges. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Genome Canada have joined SSHRC as funding partners to explore the future challenge of Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century.

The Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab is a multi-stage funding opportunity. Stage 1 consisted of a hybrid workshop where participants formed multidisciplinary teams, then developed and pitched innovative, interdisciplinary project ideas on the theme of Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century.

Teams are now invited to apply for funding to support the development of their partnerships and advance their project ideas in this second stage of the ICF Ideas Lab.

Successful applicants will be expected to:

  • formalize partnerships through agreements, governance frameworks and/or strategic plans;
  • establish connections with stakeholders in relevant sectors;
  • advance their project by undertaking preliminary research;
  • attend a working forum organized by SSHRC (tentatively scheduled for fall 2024–winter 2025);
  • seek out full project funding from SSHRC and other research agencies at the end of the two-year grant.

Theme: Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century

More information on the ICF Ideas Lab theme of Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century can be found in the Call for Stage 1.


What is an Ideas Lab?

An Ideas Lab is an innovative way to stimulate and support interdisciplinary projects that present creative solutions to pressing global challenges. There are three components to the ICF Ideas Lab framework: the workshop, the application for the funding opportunity and the project development phase.

Stage 1: Hybrid workshop

The workshop is central to the Ideas Lab design. The August 2023 workshop brought together researchers from different disciplines and institutions and encouraged them to step outside their comfort zone to think about the selected challenge in new and creative ways. Participants had to be present for all ICF Ideas Lab workshop activities and prepared to fully engage with others during the intensive workshop phase.

Under the guidance of a facilitator and a small number of peer mentors, workshop participants explored the theme of Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century. During the workshop’s initial Interact and Clarify stages, participants considered how different disciplines and sectors might frame the theme. The entire group then developed a common language and terminology to move beyond disciplinary boundaries and encourage innovation and discovery.

During the Create, Develop and Implement stages in the second half of the workshop, participants broke into smaller groups to develop project ideas. Initially, participants were able to contribute to many different groups, but were required to commit to one project idea and team before the end of the workshop. Throughout the creation process, they were supported by peer mentors, experts in relevant fields who provided feedback on ideas and pushed the groups to propose innovative and ground-breaking research. On the last day of the workshop, teams pitched their project ideas to the peer mentors who were there to guide, support and provide feedback to improve the teams’ project ideas and proposals.

Stage 2: Funding opportunity

The ICF Ideas Lab workshop took place in August 2023. All teams are now invited to submit fully developed funding applications for Stage 2 of the ICF Ideas Lab. The Stage 2 funding is intended to support the teams as they further advance their projects and establish multisectoral partnerships.

Teams will have up to 11 weeks to complete and submit their proposals for Stage 2. A merit review committee composed of a small number of external experts will evaluate and identify meritorious applications. Up to five grants of up to $250,000 may be awarded. Participation in the Ideas Lab workshop is no guarantee of funding.

Stage 3: Development of partnerships and project advancement

Teams that receive grants will have two years to further develop their partnerships and advance their research projects. During this time, it is expected that teams will formalize their partnerships and undertake preliminary research. At the end of the two years, the teams will be expected to seek out full project funding from research agencies to implement the fully developed research project.

Award holders will be required to attend a working forum toward the end of the grant period (tentatively scheduled for fall 2024–winter 2025) where they will have opportunities to discuss their projects in more detail with peer mentors, merit reviewers, PHAC and Genome Canada partners, and invited knowledge users from different sectors. At the forum, teams will also receive information about potential sources of full project funding.

Value and duration

The ICF Ideas Lab grants are valued at up to $125,000 per year for up to two years, to a total of $250,000.

Up to five grants may be awarded, of which one may be awarded for a genomics-related proposal funded directly by Genome Canada. For Genome Canada-funded awards, institutional collaboration with Genome Canada will be crucial to ensure a timely transfer of funds to the institution and award-holders.


During the workshop, each team appointed a Principal Investigator to act as the primary applicant during the funding application process. Other team members will contribute to the funding application as co-applicants and/or collaborators.

The Principal Investigator/applicant for each team must be a researcher from a social sciences or humanities discipline that is eligible for SSHRC funding. The proposed project idea must also have a strong social sciences or humanities focus.

It is expected that the funding application will involve all members of the original workshop team. If a member of the workshop team chooses not to participate in the funding application and subsequent project development for any reason, the ICF Ideas Lab organizers must be notified in writing.

Additional co-applicants and collaborators from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors may be added to the team at this time (see Application Process below).


Applicants must be researchers from a social sciences or humanities discipline and be affiliated with a Canadian institution that holds institutional eligibility at the time of application. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian institution that holds institutional eligibility, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.

Applicants who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an end of grant or achievement report by the deadline specified in their Notice of Award are not eligible to apply for another SSHRC grant until they have submitted the report.

Postdoctoral fellows at Canadian institutions are eligible to be applicants for Stage 2 if they have formally established an affiliation with an eligible institution at the time of application (November 2023) and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


Grant funds can only be administered by an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. See SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions.

Indigenous not-for-profit organizations being assessed for or holding institutional eligibility to administer multiple grants over a five-year period are eligible to apply. Institutional eligibility must be obtained before funding is released.

Institutions must contact SSHRC to begin the institutional eligibility application process or if they have questions about institutional eligibility


  • An individual (including postdoctoral fellows) is eligible to be a co-applicant if they are formally affiliated with a Canadian eligible postsecondary institution; not-for-profit organization; philanthropic foundation; think tank; or municipal, territorial or provincial government.


Any individual who makes a significant contribution to the project is eligible to be a collaborator. Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution.

Individuals from the not-for-profit sector, private sector or federal government can only participate as collaborators.


Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds, on funded activities undertaken during the grant period and on outcomes. Successful applicants will be informed of reporting requirements when they receive their Notice of Award.

Application process

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer or equivalent from the applicant’s institution, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organization who has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

All application materials must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. (eastern), November 22, 2023.

Applications must include:

  • a list of co-applicants and collaborators (names and roles only);
  • a CV (maximum eight pages, uploaded as a pdf attachment) for each applicant and co-applicant;
  • description of team (maximum 4 pages, uploaded as a pdf attachment), explaining the different types of expertise needed to ensure the success of the project. Describe the roles, responsibilities and contributions of the project director and co-applicants and/or collaborators. The addition of new co-applicants and collaborators from other sectors should be addressed here. Training opportunities for students and postdoctoral researchers should also be identified in this section;
  • a summary of the proposal (maximum one page), written in clear, non-technical language (by submitting an application, applicants consent, should they be awarded a grant, to the use of this summary for promotional purposes outside the research community to inform parliamentarians, media and members of the public who request information about research funded by SSHRC);
  • detailed project description (maximum eight pages, uploaded as a pdf attachment) containing:
    • a descriptive title (maximum 255 characters);
    • justification of the proposal within the stated objectives of the ICF Ideas Lab, detailing the overall goal and specific objectives that the team will address during the lifespan of the grant;
    • explanation of the originality, significance (social, economic, cultural and intellectual) and expected interdisciplinary contribution to knowledge of the proposed project;
    • explanation of the significance and expected contribution of the project to the wider community and, if applicable, details of plans to engage cross-sectoral stakeholders throughout the project to mobilize knowledge related to promising policies and practices; and
    • demonstration of the appropriateness of the theoretical and methodological approaches that will be chosen to meet the stated objectives. If applicable, applicants should discuss how research data arising from the project will be managed, including collection, preservation and sharing.
  • list of references or bibliography (maximum 5 pages, uploaded as a pdf attachment);
  • “Expected Outcomes” form;
  • “Funds requested from SSHRC” forms (maximum four pages, including the “Budget Form”), including justification of proposed expenditures.

Consult the instructions for further information on what to include in each section. Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

Merit review

Applications are reviewed, and available funds awarded, through a competitive merit review process. SSHRC bases funding decisions on the recommendations of the merit review committee and on the funds available. Committee discussions are guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

Stage 2 applications for funding will be reviewed by a merit review committee consisting of a small number of subject matter experts who did not participate in the workshop. This committee will assess applications using the criteria below:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (50%):
    • expected contribution to the funding opportunity’s stated objectives of innovative, interdisciplinary research that addresses the global challenge of Global Health and Wellness for the 21st Century and has societal relevance;
    • potential influence and impact in informing policy and practice in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors;
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, and opportunities for them to contribute; and
    • identification of progress indicators.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (25%):
    • appropriateness of the methods and theoretical approach;
    • probability that the objectives will be met within the proposed timeline;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs; and
    • quality and appropriateness of plans to exchange and engage with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (25%):
    • qualifications of the team to carry out the proposed project (such as expertise in the content area, interdisciplinary research and policy development);
    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the project director and any co-applicants, relative to their role in the partnership and the stage of their career; and
    • evidence of experience in collaboration/other interactions with stakeholders, and contributions to public debate and the media, and of impacts on policy and practice.

Scoring table

Merit review committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.

Score Descriptor
5-6 Very good to excellent
4-4.9 Good to very good
3-3.9 Satisfactory to good
Below 3 Unsatisfactory

Communication of results

SSHRC will inform all applicants in writing of the outcome of their applications by the end of March 2024.

Regulations, policies and related information

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications based on the information included. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the policies, regulations and guidelines governing grant applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (see the Open Access overview for more information) and  the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, which replaced SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving policy on April 1, 2021 for all active grants.

Guidelines and related support material

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following while preparing their application:

Privacy notice

SSHRC is responsible for complying with the Privacy Act, and all information collected by SHRC is subject to, and governed in accordance with, this Act. SSHRC is committed to protect the personal information under its control. The personal information you provide is collected by the agency under the authority of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act and stored in the SSHRC personal information bank PPU 055, as described in Info Source. The information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

Only the information needed to deliver, administer and promote the Ideas Lab competition and awards is collected. This may include sharing application information with other agencies and departments of the Government of Canada, as well as with other organizations that are specifically interested in supporting the research and related activities generated through Ideas Lab awards and with which SSHRC has established agreements. SSHRC will contact you to obtain your consent before any use or disclosure of personal information in a manner not outlined above or on Info Source. For more specific information about the organizations/institutions involved in this Ideas Lab competition, please contact SSHRC program staff.

Further details on the use and disclosure of the information collected by SSHRC are available under Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information.

In addition to protecting your personal information, the Privacy Act gives you the right to request access to and correction of your personal information. For more information about these rights or about our privacy practices, contact the SSHRC Access to Information and Privacy manager at 613-992-1058 or You also have the right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada if you think your personal information has been handled improperly.

Contact information

For more information, contact:

Toll-free: 1-855-275-2861

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