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SSHRC Impact Awards

Overview
Value $50,000 or $100,000
Nomination deadline May 1, 2020 (extended)*
Results announced Fall 2020
Nominate See details below
Submit the nomination online Secure submission form
*The deadline for nominations has been extended, and we expect a minor delay to the adjudication process and the release of results.
Date Time (eastern) Language
February 13, 2020 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. French

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February 13, 2020 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. English

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SSHRC Impact Awards are designed to build on and sustain Canada’s research-based knowledge culture in all research areas of the social sciences and humanities. The awards recognize outstanding researchers and celebrate their research achievements, research training, knowledge mobilization, and outreach activities funded partially or entirely by SSHRC.

Award funds are to be used for activities that promote and further develop the work being honoured. In recognition of the crucial role postsecondary institutions play in mobilizing research knowledge, at least 10 per cent of each award must be used to promote the recipient’s research achievements. Individual recipients and their institutions may choose to devote additional funds, including a higher percentage of the award funds, to these activities.

A multidisciplinary jury made up of distinguished individuals from academia, as well as the private, not-for-profit and public sectors, from Canada and abroad, will select award recipients according to the selection criteria associated with each of the five awards listed below.

Prior to announcing the award winners, SSHRC will disclose the names of the finalists for all awards with the exception of the Gold Medal. Nominees must, as part of the nomination package, consent to SSHRC using their name and nomination information in related promotional activities.

Eligible institutions are invited to put forward nominations for the:

  • Gold Medal ($100,000)
  • Talent Award ($50,000)
  • Insight Award ($50,000)
  • Connection Award ($50,000)
  • Partnership Award ($50,000)

The Gold Medal is SSHRC’s highest research honour. It is awarded to an individual whose sustained leadership, dedication and originality of thought have inspired students and colleagues alike.

The recipient’s achievements in research must have significantly advanced understanding in their respective fields of research in the social sciences and humanities. The exceptional quality and impact of the recipient’s research, and their ongoing efforts to share the results of this work, must have greatly enriched Canadian society, and contributed to social, cultural, economic and intellectual life in Canada and/or internationally.

Gold Medal funds must be used within one year for research, knowledge mobilization or other research-related activities. At least 10 per cent of the award must be used to promote the impact and outcomes of the recipient’s research achievements.

Selection criteria

  1. Challenge—ambition and importance (25%):
    • originality and significance of the body of work within the nominee’s fields of research.
  2. Achievements—impact and outcomes (75%):
    • evidence of the sustained quality, impact and influence of the nominee’s research achievements within and/or beyond the academic community;
    • level of nominee’s engagement with, and quality of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, relative to the nominee’s career level;
    • nominee’s national and/or international stature;
    • nominee’s commitment, creativity and successes in sharing research knowledge within and/or beyond the academic community; and
    • nominee’s overall contribution to knowledge.

The Talent Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual who, on May 1, 2020, holds a SSHRC doctoral scholarship or fellowship or postdoctoral fellowship. This includes, but is not limited to, a Canada Graduate Scholarship, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship or Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Talent Award is given to an individual who maintains academic excellence, has a talent for research and knowledge mobilization and has demonstrated clear potential to be a future leader within and/or outside the academic sector.

The Talent Award may be taken up as a fellowship to fund the recipient’s doctoral or postdoctoral research over a one-year period, or may be used, within one year of receiving the award, as a grant to support research, knowledge mobilization or other research-related activities. At least 10 per cent of the award funds must be used to promote the recipient’s research achievements.

Selection criteria

  1. Challenge—ambition and importance (25%):
    • originality and significance of the body of work within the nominee’s fields of research.
  2. Achievements—impact and outcomes (75%):
    • originality and significance of nominee’s body of academic achievement and research, including quality of publications relative to stage of career;
    • evidence of impact of the nominee’s work within their fields of research and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community;
    • nominee’s ability and commitment to communicate research results within and/or beyond the academic community;
    • level of nominee’s engagement with, and quality of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, relative to the nominee’s career level; and
    • nominee’s demonstrated potential for leadership and societal contributions within and/or beyond the academic community.

The Insight Award recognizes outstanding achievement arising from a single or multiple research projects funded partially or completely by SSHRC. It is given to an individual or a team of six people maximum (including the nominee) whose project or projects have significantly contributed to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. The research outcomes must have led to demonstrable impact within the nominee’s fields of research and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

In the case of a team project or projects, the nominee must be the principal investigator. If successful, this person will receive the award on behalf of the team.

The nomination package must include the nominee’s SSHRC CV, and those of any team members (up to five), if applicable.

Insight Award funds must be used within one year to further develop the project or projects being recognized, through research, knowledge mobilization or other research-related activities. A minimum of 10 per cent of the award funds must be used to promote the recipient’s research achievements.

Selection criteria

  1. Challenge—ambition and importance (25%):
    • originality and significance of the body of work within the nominee’s fields of research.
  2. Achievements—impact and outcomes (75%):
    • evidence of contributions within the nominee’s fields of research, including, but not limited to, scholarly literature, and other knowledge mobilization contributions, such as commissioned reports, professional practice, public discourse, public policies, products and services, experience in collaboration, etc.;
    • level of nominee’s engagement with, and quality of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, relative to the nominee’s career level; and
    • evidence of influence and impact on research and/or societal outcomes.

The Connection Award recognizes an outstanding SSHRC-funded initiative that facilitates the flow and exchange of research knowledge within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community. It is given to an individual or team whose project has engaged the campus and/or wider community, and has generated intellectual, cultural, social and/or economic impacts.

In the case of a team project, the nominee must be the applicant/project director for the initiative. If successful, this person will receive the award on behalf of the team.

The nomination package must include the nominee’s SSHRC CV, and those of any team members (up to five), if applicable.

Connection Award funds must be used within one year to further develop the knowledge mobilization activity being recognized, or to support other research-related activities. At least 10 per cent of the award funds must be used to promote the recipient’s research achievements.

Selection criteria

  1. Challenge—ambition and importance (25%):
    • originality and significance of the initiative within the nominee’s fields of research.
  2. Achievements—impact and outcomes (75%):
    • effectiveness of research knowledge dissemination/exchange within the nominee’s fields of research and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community;
    • evidence of contributions, including, but not limited to, scholarly literature and other knowledge mobilization contributions, such as commissioned reports, professional practice, public discourse, public policies, products and services, experience in collaboration, etc.;
    • level of nominee’s engagement with, and quality of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, relative to nominee’s career level; and
    • evidence of influence and impact on research and/or societal outcomes.

The Partnership Award recognizes a SSHRC‑funded formal partnership for its outstanding achievement in advancing research, research training or knowledge mobilization, or developing a new partnership approach to research and/or related activities. It is awarded to a formal partnership that, through mutual co-operation and shared intellectual leadership and resources, has demonstrated impact and influence within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

For the Partnership Award, the nominee must be the project director. If successful, this person will receive the award on behalf of the partnership.

The nomination package must include the nominee’s SSHRC CV, and those of any team members (up to five), if applicable.

Partnership Award funds must be used within one year to further develop the research, knowledge mobilization or research-related activities being recognized. At least 10 per cent of the award funds must be used to promote the recipient’s research achievements.

Selection criteria

  1. Challenge—ambition and importance (25%):
    • originality and significance of the partnership within the nominee’s fields of research.
  2. Achievements—impact and outcomes (75%):
    • evidence of mutual co-operation and sharing of intellectual leadership and resources within the nominee’s fields of research and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community;
    • quality of partnership, including shared engagement and ownership;
    • evidence of contributions, including, but not limited to, scholarly literature, and/or other knowledge mobilization contributions, such as commissioned reports, professional practice, public discourse, public policies, products and services, experience in collaboration, etc.;
    • level of nominee’s engagement with, and quality of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, relative to the nominee’s career level; and
    • evidence of influence and impact on research and/or societal outcomes.

Eligible institutions are invited to put forward nominations for all SSHRC Impact Award categories. Each institution may submit only one nomination for each award in a given year, up to a maximum of five SSHRC Impact Award nominations. Institutions must provide the name and co-ordinates of a contact person to whom all inquiries and correspondence, including results, will be sent.

Note: A multidisciplinary jury made up of individuals from academia and the private, public and not-for-profit sectors reviews award nominations. Institutions are, therefore, encouraged to use plain language when preparing nomination packages.

Eligibility

A nominee must:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada at the time of nomination;
  • be an active social sciences and humanities researcher or student;
  • hold or have held SSHRC funding pertinent to the award category;
  • be in good standing with SSHRC;
  • be affiliated with an eligible institution; and
  • maintain affiliation with an eligible institution for the duration of the Impact Award.

Nominees:

  • cannot nominate themselves;
  • can be nominated in two sequential years for the same award, following which two years must pass before they can be nominated in the same category;
  • can be nominated in only one category in any year; and
  • can be nominated in a subsequent year for a different SSHRC Impact Award.

Note: Current members of SSHRC’s governing council, previous Gold Medal winners, as well as Impact Awards jury members, are not eligible to be nominated.

To be eligible to hold an award, winning institutions must provide SSHRC with a promotion strategy (two pages maximum) outlining a proposed approach for promoting and celebrating the impact and outcomes of the award winner's research project.

Winning institutions are invited to contact SSHRC for help in developing this strategy, and to collaborate with SSHRC’s Communications Division in promoting its winners and/or finalists.

Nomination package

Every nomination package must include all of the components listed below, with the exception of those in the new, optional section 4. Career interruptions and special circumstances. The jury will not assess any material additional to that requested here.

All documents, except for the SSHRC CVs and letters of support, must:

  • be presented in portrait orientation;
  • start on a new page; and
  • use 12-point Times New Roman or comparable font.

1. Institutional nomination process (one page maximum)

SSHRC is committed to excellence in research and research training. Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges.

Please provide a description of how equity, diversity and inclusion have been considered in:

  • the institution’s decision-making processes and criteria for nominating candidates;
  • how the institution manages its nomination process, and who is involved in the decision (e.g., committees, vice-president-level administrators, deans / department heads);
  • measures to ensure that individuals from the four designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities) are not disadvantaged or overlooked in cases where they have career gaps due to parental or health-related leaves, the care and nurturing of family members, or community-based responsibilities; and
  • training and development activities related to unconscious bias, equity, diversity and inclusion for administrators and faculty involved in the nomination.

These descriptions will be used for program monitoring purposes only, and will not be shared with the jury.

Institutions submitting more than one Impact Awards nomination in a given year may include the same nomination process page for each nomination package, as applicable.

2. Institutional nomination letter and rationale (three pages maximum)

This section should present the nomination and describe the program of research, research activities and achievements relevant to the Impact Award for which the candidate is being nominated. It should include:

  • the name, current position and institution of the person proposing the nomination;
  • the name, position and affiliation of the nominee (and any co-applicants) and the award category for which they are being nominated;
  • a description of the SSHRC-funded research that forms the basis of the nomination, with relevant file numbers (this could include one or more legacy grants, such as Standard Research Grants or Community-University Research Alliance grants), summarizing the project’s achievements, significance, challenges, impacts and outcomes;
  • a summary of the nominee’s overall contribution to their field/fields of research;
  • the level of engagement with, and the quality and scope of training and mentoring provided to, students, emerging scholars and participants, and indication of the nominee’s career level;
  • examples of success in widely sharing, and encouraging application of, resulting knowledge within and/or beyond the academic community;
  • evidence that outcomes resulted in significant and positive impacts, relative to discipline-specific norms, in Canada and/or internationally;
  • the name and co-ordinates of a contact person (typically, someone in the Research Office or Graduate Studies Office); and
  • the signature of the nominating institution’s president or their delegate.

3. Information supporting the nomination

This section should provide further information supporting the nomination. Include, as appropriate, a detailed list of research contributions, outcomes and other activities mentioned in general terms in the nomination letter. When referring to SSHRC-funded initiatives, please cite all relevant SSHRC file numbers.

Supporting information should be grouped into the following categories, as applicable:

  • publications
  • conference presentations
  • graduate students supported or trained
  • creative outputs
  • other research contributions
  • awards and prizes
  • activities
  • outcomes

Page limits for this section are:

  • up to six pages for the Gold Medal, covering the span of the nominee’s career;
  • up to two pages (if relevant) for the Talent Award; and
  • up to three pages for the Insight, Connection and Partnership awards.

4. Career interruptions and special circumstances (one page maximum, if relevant)

Career interruptions occur when researchers are taken away from their research work for an extended period of time for health, administrative, family, community-based responsibilities or other reasons.

Special circumstances involve slowdowns in research productivity created by health, administrative, family, community-based responsibilities or other reasons (i.e., the researcher was not completely taken away from research work). Nominees from small institutions may indicate their teaching load in this section if the change in workload impacted their research output.

SSHRC asks its adjudication committees to consider career interruptions and special circumstances that may have affected nominees’ record of research achievements. In doing so, adjudication committee members will be able to more accurately estimate the productivity of each researcher, independent of any career interruptions or special circumstances.

This section is not mandatory.

5. SSHRC CVs and consent forms

Nomination packages must include:

Note: You may use electronic signatures on consent forms. The jury will not consider information additional to the SSHRC CV, such as lists of publications or teaching history. This information should be included in section 3. Information supporting the nomination.

6. Letters of support, two pages maximum each, from three referees

Three letters of support must be provided for the nominee. Referees must be established authorities in the fields and cannot be from the same institution as the nominee. In addition, they cannot be individuals who are or were co-applicants in the project or projects being put forward. Referees cannot be individuals who could be perceived as being in a conflict of interest with the nomination. Letters of support with multiple signatories will not be accepted.

Note: For the Talent Award, referees (including supervisors) may be affiliated with the nominee’s current institution.

Letters of support must:

  • be dated and signed;
  • show an official letterhead;
  • include the referee's position, affiliation, email address and telephone number;
  • include the nominee’s name and the period of time and capacity in which the referee has known the nominee; and
  • offer an overall assessment of the nominee’s achievements, including examples of how these achievements fulfill the evaluation criteria outlined above.

Referees must send their letters to the nominating institution and not to SSHRC. Institutions can include letters with an electronic signature in their nomination packages.

Best practices and guidelines to limit unconscious bias for referees

SSHRC is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure equitable access across their programs.

Please ensure any person drafting a letter of support takes into account the following best practices and considerations:

  • Be accurate, fair, clear and balanced.
  • Avoid being unduly personal (i.e., do not use the nominee’s first name).
  • Support your points by providing specific examples of accomplishments where possible.
  • Use superlative descriptors (e.g., excellent, outstanding) judiciously, and support them with evidence.
  • Include only information that is relevant to the selection criteria (e.g., do not include information related to ethnicity, age, hobbies, marital status, religion, etc.).
  • Avoid sharing personal information about the applicant. Such information may be helpful only in explaining academic delays or interruptions, and should be addressed with caution.
  • Be aware of unconscious bias and choose your words carefully (see below).

Limiting unconscious bias

SSHRC strongly encourage the use of inclusive language (e.g., “the nominee” or “they” instead of “he/she”). Letters of support should be free from words or sentences that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory language of particular people or groups, or their institution.

Inclusive language has been shown to decrease unconscious bias during the evaluation process. Nominating institutions should refer letter writers to the Canada Research Chairs Program’s Limiting Unconscious Bias guidelines and the tri-agency unconscious bias in peer review training module.

For more information, see the Department of Women and Gender Equality’s Unconscious Bias—Additional Resources.

Note: Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, the content of letters of support is accessible to nominees on request. The text of the letters will be made accessible to the nominee, with the exception of any comments made regarding other individuals and their identities, and any information provided in the letter that could identify the referee. The information you supply is for adjudication purposes; it is subsequently retained in the nominee's file and protected by the Privacy Act.

Nomination submission

Incomplete nominations will not be accepted.

Please submit your nomination package using the secure submission form for the SSHRC Impact Awards.

Monitoring

Award recipients will be informed of reporting requirements upon receiving their award.

The original applicant or project director must assume responsibility for the award funds.

Talent Award nominees and recipients must comply with the Regulations Governing Fellowship and Scholarship Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide, or the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, as appropriate.

All other nominees and recipients must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

Each SSHRC Impact Award nominee must have signed the Consent to Disclosure of Nomination Content for Promotional Purposes form allowing SSHRC to use their name, photograph and any and all submitted materials to promote the awards and other SSHRC initiatives. By agreeing to be nominated, nominees also agree to participate in promotional award activities, including media interviews, ceremonies, receptions and other related events, should they be named a finalist or winner.

For more information about the SSHRC Impact Awards, please contact:

Research Training Portfolio
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6G4
Email: impactawards-priximpacts@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca
Tel.: 613-943-7777
Fax: 613-943-1329

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