Special Call: Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grants

Value Up to $50,000
Duration Six months; extension of six months is available upon request
Application deadline September 6, 2018 (8:00 p.m. eastern)
Results announced October 2018
Apply Application process

Expected Outcomes
Value and Duration
Application Process
Evaluation and Adjudication
Regulations, Policies and Related Information
Contact Information


In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) made Calls to Action, and number 65 mentioned SSHRC specifically in the call to establish a national research program to advance the understanding of reconciliation.

In 2017, the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) was created to improve the coordination efforts of Canada’s granting agencies—SSHRC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation. As one of its five priorities, the CRCC has reaffirmed the agencies’ commitment to responding to the TRC’s calls for action and has prioritized the need for a national dialogue to co-develop, with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, an interdisciplinary, Indigenous research and research training model that contributes to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

In Budget 2018, the federal government committed $3.8 million to support this CRCC priority and develop a strategic research plan that identifies new ways of doing research with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, including strategies to grow the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community. SSHRC is administering this initiative in collaboration with the other granting agencies.

An engagement plan with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is being developed to meet the objectives of the Budget 2018 allocation and the CRCC’s priority. The engagement process will have two streams:

  1. granting agency engagement with Indigenous organizations and researchers, featuring roundtables, workshops, online engagement and a national dialogue; and
  2. this special call for proposals to award grants to Indigenous organizations and researchers (or equivalent) to support their leadership in organizing their respective engagement activities and to develop position papers.

This special call for proposals invites applications from applicants affiliated with First Nations, Métis and Inuit not-for-profit organizations, as well as from other not-for-profit organizations or Canadian postsecondary institutions in any discipline that may inform and contribute to the development of a strategic plan. A minimum of 51 per cent of the grants will be reserved for Indigenous not-for-profit organizations, with the amount depending on the volume of applications received from these organizations.


Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grants support interdisciplinary events and outreach activities geared toward short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives to contribute to the CRCC-prioritized national dialogue. These events and activities represent opportunities to engage and exchange knowledge on successful ways of conducting Indigenous research that are transformative and contribute to reconciliation, including holistic, interdisciplinary and distinctions-based approaches.

Note: The leadership and governance of proposed projects must involve the participation of First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities.

This call for proposals affirms the important, holistic and interdisciplinary contributions to human knowledge that Indigenous knowledge systems make. Furthermore, the call respects Indigenous knowledge systems, including ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies, as important avenues for exploring the contours of Indigenous knowledge, supporting Indigenous research paradigms, contributing to interdisciplinary collaboration and extending the boundaries of knowledge in western research paradigms. As such, applicants are encouraged to submit projects that are holistic and interdisciplinary, and that reflect the full range of collaboration across disciplines and subject areas pertaining to the social sciences and humanities; natural sciences and engineering; and health and wellness.

The participation of Indigenous Elders and Indigenous knowledge-holders and recognition of their contributions and the observance of knowledge-specific protocols is encouraged.

This funding will support community gatherings, workshops, or other events or outreach activities that will mobilize existing knowledge, facilitate dialogue and knowledge sharing, and result in the preparation of a position paper. The position papers will be shared at a national dialogue event scheduled for March 2019 to develop, in partnership with Indigenous communities, a strategic plan for an interdisciplinary Indigenous research and research training model that contributes to reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Strategic themes for interdisciplinary events and outreach activities

This funding opportunity is guided by themes that have emerged from ongoing engagement with First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners and the federal research funding agencies (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), and will help to frame the strategic plan. These themes focus on areas where the granting agencies can contribute to strengthening the capacity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community, and the capacity of the broader research community to engage respectfully with Indigenous knowledge.

Applicants are encouraged to organize events and outreach activities that address one or more of the following interrelated themes:

  1. Supporting Indigenous Talent and Research Careers
    • support Indigenous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and research chairs;
    • involve Indigenous Elders and Indigenous knowledge-holders in research;
    • remove barriers for participation and success, including nation- and gender-specific barriers;
    • foster an inclusive research and research training environment; and
    • foster a science and engineering culture.
  2. Engaging Indigenous Knowledge
    • support research into Indigenous knowledge systems;
    • support Indigenous science and holistic approaches;
    • enhance the understanding of reconciliation;
    • build knowledge of Indigenous languages; and
    • take into consideration intersectionality (gender, age, sexuality and other markers of difference).
  3. Mobilize Knowledge and Partnerships for Reconciliation
    • translate research results into evidence for policy-making;
    • share best practices and lessons learned; and
    • ensure that research results, when appropriate, help close the gaps in social, health, environmental and economic outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals.
  4. Foster Mutually Respectful Relationships
    • address or acknowledge an understanding of past research practices with Indigenous communities;
    • support community-led research;
    • ensure Indigenous ownership and control of data;
    • enforce ethical and responsible conduct of Indigenous research; and
    • support rights-based approaches.

Additional themes relevant to Indigenous research that may inform the development of the strategic plan are welcome.

Expected Outcomes

The goal, through this funding opportunity, is to support interdisciplinary events, outreach activities and the development of position papers to help guide a strategic plan that will identify new ways for First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community.

Successful applicants must submit a position paper by mid-February 2019. Furthermore, applicants or their delegates are required to attend a national dialogue event scheduled to be held in Ottawa in March 2019 and share their position papers to support the development of the strategic plan. (Travel costs for this national dialogue event should be included in the budget submitted as part of the application.)

More details about the national dialogue event, as well as guidelines for the position paper, will be provided to successful applicants.

Value and Duration

Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grants are valued at up to $50,000 for six months, with the possibility of a six-month extension. At least 50 grants are available and a minimum of 51 per cent of those grants are reserved for Indigenous not-for-profit organizations, depending on the volume of applications received from these organizations.

These grants support outreach events and activities that should be organized during the grant’s six-month duration including the submission of a position paper by February 2019. An extension of six months for the use of funds is available upon request to share and finalize engagement reporting from the national dialogue with communities.

Applicants that are awarded an Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grant give their consent to SSHRC sharing their position paper with other interested organizations and individuals as well as integrating aspects of it into a national strategic plan.


Subject matter

Proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR funding outlined above in Strategic themes for interdisciplinary events and outreach activities.


Researchers, project directors or the equivalent at eligible Canadian institutions (Indigenous not-for-profit organizations, other not-for-profit organizations and postsecondary institutions) are eligible to apply for grants, in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Applicants must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution that holds or has applied for institutional eligibility by the time of application. See Institutions below for more information on the institutional eligibility requirements and processes for Connection Grants.

Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be applicants if, at the time of application, they have formally established an affiliation with an organization that meets institutional eligibility requirements, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


  • Applicants who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an end of grant 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.
  • Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.


Co-applicants may be individuals from any of the following:

  • Canadian postsecondary institutions; not-for-profit organizations; philanthropic foundations; think tanks; and municipal, territorial or provincial governments; and
  • Postdoctoral researchers who are affiliated with an eligible institution.


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

Individuals from the private sector or federal government may participate only as collaborators.

Indigenous Elders

Indigenous Elders are recognized and respected in terms of their contribution of knowledge assets to the project and may participate as co-applicants or collaborators depending on their institution or organization affiliation.

Partner organizations

Canadian or international organizations from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sector may be involved as a partner organization. Partner organizations are expected to support the activities of the partnership.


Only an eligible Canadian institution can administer grant funds. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. Please see the list of SSHRC eligible institutions.

Indigenous not-for-profit organizations wanting to administer the grant funds for this Connection Grant should apply for institutional eligibility. For this call only, SSHRC highly recommends that such applicants begin the institutional eligibility application process as soon as possible so that SSHRC can expedite the application.

Other not-for-profit organizations that require institutional eligibility must begin the institutional eligibility application process at least five business days prior to the grant application deadline.

Institutions may email institutional.eligibility@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca to begin the institutional eligibility application process, or if they have questions about institutional eligibility.

Application Process

Applications must be emailed as a .pdf file attachment 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 included in one email (size cannot exceed 10 MB), submitted in .pdf format, and be received by 8:00 p.m. (eastern), September 6, 2018.

Email complete applications to Indigenousresearch@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca. Applications submitted in whole or in part by other means will not be considered.

The following format must be used:

  • 8 1/2" x 11" (21.5 cm x 28 cm) paper size;
  • single-spaced;
  • body text in a minimum 12 pt Times New Roman font;
  • all margins set at a minimum of 3/4" (1.87 cm);
  • name of the applicant appears within the set margins at the top right corner of every page; and
  • all pages numbered consecutively and indicating the total number of pages in the application (e.g., 1 of 14 or 1/14 … 14/14), excluding any separate curriculum vitae attachments.

Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

Applications must include the following sections, each starting on a new page and presented in this order:

  1. a half-page summary of the proposal, written in clear, non-technical language (by submitting an application, applicants consent, should they be awarded an Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grant, to the use of this summary for promotional purposes outside the research community, to inform politicians, the media and members of the public who request information about research funded by the federal research granting agencies);
  2. a proposal (maximum four pages, not including references, if applicable) containing:
    • a descriptive title (maximum 255 characters);
    • key words to describe the proposal;
    • the themes(s) under which the proposal falls;
    • a description of the holistic and interdisciplinary event or outreach activity, including the significance and expected contributions to strengthening Indigenous research capacity;
    • a work plan, including timelines, and a description of the proposed approach; and
    • the applicant’s signature;
  3. an itemized budget (maximum two pages), including justification of proposed expenditures (see Budget);
  4. a list of participants (the applicant, co-applicant and collaborators), including:
    • full name (family name, given name) and role (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator);
    • correspondence language (English or French);
    • full organization name and address;
    • current position at organization, primary phone number and email address;
    • department and start date (if applicable); and
    • experience / research expertise—keywords (if applicable);
  5. an overview (maximum four pages total) of applicants, co-applicants and collaborators and their respective relevant experience and research contributions, if applicable, highlighting individual capabilities, strengths and experience related to the themes of the event or outreach activity and relationships with Indigenous communities;
  6. a separate page containing the applicant’s signature and the signature of an authorized signatory from the applicant’s institution or organization, certifying that the institution or organization will administer any award in accordance with SSHRC policies; and
  7. a signed Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information for each applicant and co-applicant.

In addition, applicants and co-applicants have the option of submitting a separate .pdf file attachment of their curriculum vitae.

Note: When adding full curriculum vitae attachments, please ensure your entire application remains within the file size limit of 10 MB total for emails received at SSHRC.


All proposed expenses are subject to the policies and requirements outlined in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide (TAFAG).

Note: Before preparing the budget, applicants should review TAFAG’s Use of Grant Funds and its Reporting and Supporting Evidence sections.

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (specifically Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada) recognizes the importance of respecting the culture and traditions of Indigenous peoples and acknowledges the necessity to incur expenditures in that regard in the conduct of research. As such, the federal research funding agencies consider the following expenditures eligible for payment from the grant holder’s grant funds (with appropriate backup documentation):

  • costs related to community mobilization and engagement, including culturally relevant promotional items such as tobacco, cloth, feasting and gift-giving for honouring ceremonies, and cash reimbursements (in a method acceptable to the individual or community being reimbursed) to compensate community participation;
  • honoraria for Indigenous Elders and community experts;
  • contracts and/or consultant fees for knowledge translation and communication activities for Indigenous Elders, community members and other Indigenous knowledge-holders involved in activities related to the Indigenous community;
  • a salary research allowance to help cover the costs to temporarily replace co-applicants from eligible Indigenous not-for-profit organizations to release them from their duties to the organization; and
  • costs for two project members to participate in the national dialogue in Ottawa, which should be itemized in the budget submitted with the application in addition to other eligible travel and subsistence costs and expenses (details on this event, scheduled for March 2019, will be provided to successful applicants).

Collection of Self-Identification Data in Support of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

SSHRC, along with CIHR and NSERC, are asking applicants, co-applicants and collaborators (SSHRC only) to self-identify with information on age, gender, and identity as an Indigenous person, as a member of a visible minority group and as a person with a disability. Completing the self-identification form is mandatory, but each category provides the option, “I prefer not to answer.”

Canada is at its best when we welcome all talented people to be part of the research community. SSHRC is collecting self-identification data to be able to monitor the equity performance of its programs and design new measures that achieve greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the research enterprise. This will ultimately strengthen research communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. See the granting agencies’ presidents’ Open Letter to the Research Community for more information.

Self-identification questions are primarily based on the current standard used by Statistics Canada in the Census, and wording from the Employment Equity Act. Please direct any questions you have questions regarding this data collection to equity-equite@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca. The self-identification form will be provided to you once you and/or your team’s application has been received at SSHRC.

Privacy requirements for self-identification

Self-identification information is collected, used, disclosed, retained and disposed of in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. The information will be managed in accordance with Treasury Board Secretariat policies, directives and guidelines on information management and protection of personal information, as well as SSHRC’s retention and disposition schedules. For more information about your rights under the Privacy Act or about SSHRC’s privacy practices, or to access or correct your personal information that is held by SSHRC, please contact SSHRC’s Privacy (and Access) coordinator. A privacy notice will be provided with the self-identification form.

Evaluation and Adjudication

Applications are adjudicated, and available funds are awarded, through a merit review process. Funding decisions are based on the recommendations of the adjudication committees and on the funds available.

For this call, SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research and definition of Indigenous research are relevant for applicants preparing applications. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Indigenous research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific Challenge, Feasibility and Capability evaluation criteria in the context of Indigenous research. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research to judge the extent to which the guidelines may be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

This funding opportunity aims to allocate grants across the strategic themes as much as possible.

A multidisciplinary committee that includes relevant expertise and Indigenous and non-Indigenous members from the non-academic and academic sectors will assess all applications while considering the stated objective of awarding at least 51 per cent of the grants to applications from First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations. Merit reviewers, if not in a conflict of interest with the applicant or any team members, are asked to evaluate the proposal based on the evaluation criteria below.

Applications will be reviewed in accordance with SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research, and using the following criteria:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%)
    • expected contribution to the funding opportunity’s stated objective;
    • significance of the applicant’s chosen strategic theme, based on issues identified in this call for proposals;
    • level of engagement of Indigenous communities in the design and conduct of the project activities;
    • potential influence and impact in informing the strategic plan of identifying new ways of doing research with Indigenous communities; and
    • quality and significance of the research and/or community-based knowledge being mobilized.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (30%)
    • ability to meet the objectives of the funding opportunity;
    • appropriateness of the approach and of the work plan, including timelines for the design and conduct of the event or outreach activity;
    • leadership of Indigenous communities in the design and conduct of the project activities; and
    • Appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (30%)
    • qualifications of the applicant/team to carry out the proposed project (significance of relevant past experience and/or creative outputs of the applicant and any co-applicants/collaborators relative to their roles in the event or activity);
    • linkages to Elders and knowledge-holders in the participating communities; and
    • evidence of other knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, and contributions to community-led events), especially with Indigenous communities, and evidence of impacts on strengthening Indigenous research capacity.

Scoring Table

Reviewers assign a score for each of the three criteria (challenge, feasibility, capability), 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 in order to be recommended for funding.

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

Communication of results

Research offices will be informed of their applicants’ competition results via SSHRC’s secure site. Applicants from not-for-profit organizations will receive their competition results by email.

Applicants will be informed of competition results within the month following adjudication.

Regulations, Policies and Related Information

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the TAFAG.

Guidelines and related support material

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

Successful applicants will be required to share the results of their project with SSHRC, including a position paper that will contribute to the development of a strategic plan. SSHRC may also share this information with other interested sectors of the Government of Canada, as well as other organizations. This does not in any way limit how researchers may otherwise publish or use the results of their research.

Privacy notice

The Government of Canada and SSHRC are committed to protecting the privacy rights of individuals and safeguarding the personal information under its control. All personal information collected by SSHRC is governed by the Privacy Act. This means that you will be informed of the purpose for which your personal information is being collected and how to exercise your right of access to that information. All information collected by SSHRC is subject to, and governed in accordance with, this Act.

The personal information that you provide is collected under the authority of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act for the purposes of administering the Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation—Connection Grants. Personal information is stored, used, disclosed and disposed of in accordance with SSHRC Personal Information Bank SSHRC PPU 055 (Grants and Awards Management), as described in Info Source. Your data may be used for the purposes of program operations and planning, performance measurement and monitoring, evaluation, and audits, and may be used in aggregate to report to the government or to the public. Choosing not to submit the personal information requested for your application will lead to an incomplete application and ineligibility for the grant. Further details about the personal information collected by SSHRC are available under Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information in applications for SSHRC awards.

Any questions, comments or concerns you may have regarding the administration of the Privacy Act and privacy policies at SSHRC, or requests to exercise the rights of access to and correction of your personal information, may be directed to the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator by email at atip-aiprp@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca or by calling 613-947-8639. If you wish to file a complaint regarding SSHRC’s handling of personal information, you may exercise your right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada online or by telephone at 1-800-282-1376.

Contact Information

For more information about this funding opportunity, or for advice on preparing your application, please contact:

Lina Crompton, Program Officer
Research Grants and Partnerships Division
Tel.: 613-943-1423

Email (for questions and to send your application): Indigenousresearch@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca