Insight Development Grants
February 2024 Competition
|$7,000 to $75,000
|1 to 2 years
|Application deadlineFootnote *
|February 2, 2024 (8 p.m. eastern)
|Canadian Common CV (CCV), CCV instructions, and application form and instructions
On this page
- Future Challenge Areas
- Value and duration
- Application process
- Merit review
- Regulations, policies and related information
- Contact information
Insight Development Grants are expected to respond to the objectives of the Insight research program.
Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and/or ideas. Funding is provided for short-term research development projects of up to two years that are proposed by individuals or teams.
Insight Development Grants foster research in its early stages but are not intended to support large-scale initiatives. Long-term support for research is offered through SSHRC’s Insight Grants.
Proposed projects can involve, but are not limited to, the following types of research activities:
- case studies
- pilot initiatives
- critical analyses of existing research
Projects can also involve national and international research collaboration, and the exploration of new ways of producing, structuring and mobilizing knowledge within and across disciplines and sectors.
Funding is available for two distinct categories of scholars:
- Emerging scholars who will develop new research questions and/or approaches. Such projects can build on and further the applicant’s (or team’s) graduate work and/or represent a continuation of their overall research trajectory.
- Established scholars who will explore new research questions and/or approaches that are distinct from the applicant’s previous/ongoing research. Research projects should be clearly delimited and in the early stages of the research process. Insight Development Grant funding is not intended to support ongoing research for established scholars.
SSHRC collaborates with organizations from across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors to support and promote training, research and connection activities in the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC’s joint initiatives are designed to reflect its strategic objectives and mandate, inform decision-makers, and, in certain cases, address specific needs of its partners.
Learn more about joint initiatives.
For a complete list of available joint initiatives, see SSHRC’s funding search tool.
Future Challenge Areas
SSHRC invites all applicants to review Imagining Canada’s Future’s 16 future global challenges and to consider addressing one or more of these areas in their research proposal. This is not an evaluation criterion for merit review and does not offer additional or dedicated research funds for this funding opportunity.
Value and duration
Insight Development Grants are valued at $7,000 to $75,000 over one to two years. A minimum budget of $7,000 is required in at least one of the years.
For the current competition, at least 50% of funds will be reserved for applications from emerging scholars.
Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Proposals can involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. See the guidelines on subject matter eligibility for more information.
Projects whose primary objective is curriculum development, preparation of teaching materials, program evaluation, organization of a conference or workshop, digitization of a collection or creation of a database are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.
An application will be declared ineligible if it is determined that 30% or more of the requested budget has been allocated to non-eligible expenses.
Applicants (except postdoctoral fellows and PhD students) must be affiliated with a Canadian institution that holds institutional eligibility at the time of application and before funding can be released. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian institution, 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 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 are eligible to be applicants for this grant. However, for SSHRC to release grant funds, successful applicants must formally establish an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution that meets the requirements for institutional eligibility within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2024 for the current competition) and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.
Students enrolled in a program of study are not eligible to apply. However, a PhD candidate is eligible to apply if they:
- will have met all requirements for the PhD before the grant is awarded, including all course work and successful defence of their dissertation; and
- establish a formal affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within three months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2024 for the current competition) and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.
Eligible PhD students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to make inquiries with the Research Grants Office of the eligible institution(s) at which they will be seeking affiliation early in the process.
Federal scientists who are affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution must demonstrate that their proposed research or research-related activity is not related to either the mandate of their employer or the normal duties for which they receive payment from that employer.
If the proposal falls within the mandate of the federal government and the research or research-related activity is performed in government facilities, funding can only be allocated for student salaries, stipends and travel costs.
Grant funds can be administered only by an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.
Institutions must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the institutional application process or if they have questions about institutional eligibility.
Individuals (including postdoctoral fellows) are eligible to be co-applicants if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:
- Canadian eligible postsecondary institutions; or
- International postsecondary institutions.
International co-applicants must clearly outline, the rationale for international collaboration in the application.
Postdoctoral fellows and PhD candidates are eligible to be co-applicants under the same conditions as those described in the Applicants section.
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.
Multiple applications and holding multiple awards
Individuals can apply, as an applicant, for only one Insight Development Grant at a time.
Normally, researchers cannot apply as an applicant for an Insight Grant and an Insight Development Grant in the same calendar year. However, in 2017, SSHRC approved an exception to this multiple applications regulation that has been extended for the foreseeable future: researchers who applied unsuccessfully for an Insight Development Grant in February of a given year can apply for an Insight Grant in October of that same year. Therefore, researchers who apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2024 and are not successful can apply for an Insight Grant in October 2024.
A researcher who applied for an Insight Grant in October 2023 can apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2024, provided that the objectives of the research are significantly different.
See SSHRC’s regulations regarding multiple applications and holding multiple awards for more information.
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.
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.
Eligible PhD students and postdoctoral fellows can submit their applications directly to SSHRC.
Applicants (and co-applicants) must complete the Canadian Common CV as part of the application process.
Applicants needing further help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.
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.
Insight Development Grant applications are evaluated through a single-stage committee review process that does not involve external assessments.
The merit review committees include national and international scholars from the research community and can include experts from other sectors as needed. Participants in the review process, 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. Normally, applications in the established stream that are initially determined by committee consensus to rank in the lowest 30% are not discussed during the final stage of merit review.
In the application form, applicants will be asked to select the committee they consider most appropriate for the review of their proposal. Applicants can choose from four types of committees:
- groups of disciplines
- multi/interdisciplinary (one humanities-focused and one social sciences-focused, as well as the Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee)
SSHRC will create discipline-based committees depending on the volume of applications received. Where there is not enough demand, SSHRC will form committees based on groups of disciplines. SSHRC will also establish thematic and multi/interdisciplinary committees if warranted by the volume of applications. Applicants can contact SSHRC to discuss committee selection.
SSHRC will strive to accommodate applicant preferences. However, SSHRC reserves the right to determine an application’s review process and committee assignment.
Insight Development Grant applicants whose research spans the mandate of more than one federal research funding agency (SSHRC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Canadian Institutes of Health Research) can select a pilot Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee for the 2024 Insight Development Grants competition. This pilot committee will use a harmonized tri-agency peer review process and Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee-specific evaluation criteria that differ from the usual process used by this funding opportunity.
SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Indigenous research. 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 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 can be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines can also be of use to postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.
Indigenous research proposals can involve a more tailored merit review. If SSHRC receives enough Indigenous research applications, it can establish a distinct merit review committee.
Evaluation criteria and scoring
The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:
- Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (50%):
- for established scholars: the proposal’s relevance to the objectives of the funding opportunity;
- originality, significance and expected contribution to knowledge;
- appropriateness of the literature review;
- appropriateness of the theoretical approach or framework;
- appropriateness of the methods/approach;
- quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, and opportunities for them to contribute; and
- potential for the project results to have influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.
- Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (20%):
- appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
- expertise of the applicant or team in relation to the proposed research;
- appropriateness of the requested budget, justification of proposed costs, and, where applicable, other financial and/or in-kind contributions; and
- quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including for effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
- Capability—The expertise to succeed (30%):
- quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the applicant and any co-applicants, relative to their roles in the project and the stage of their career;
- evidence of past knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and media), and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.; and
- quality and quantity of past contributions to the development of effective research training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel.
Merit reviewers will consider information on only the last six years of research contributions. Any career interruptions, however, will be taken into consideration.
Merit review committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria listed above, based on the following table. The scores range from 1.00 to 6.00, with 1.00 being the highest. The appropriate weighting is applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score in the “Moderate” range (i.e., 5.16-4.34) or better for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.
Communication of results
SSHRC makes competition results available to applicants through the applicant’s Research Portal account and institutions through the Grants and Scholarships Administration Portal.
All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the merit review committee’s evaluation of their proposal, where applicable.
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 Regulations Governing the Use of SSHRC Grant Funds 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, as of April 1, 2021, replaced SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving policy for all active grants.
Specific rules for the use of grant funds
- Insight Development Grant funds cannot be used for remuneration and/or travel and subsistence costs of presenters or guest speakers.
- Tri-agency grant funds cannot be used to remunerate team members (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator). This includes postdoctoral fellows serving in any of these capacities.
- Insight Development Grant funds cannot be used for collaborators’ research costs. However, their travel and subsistence expenses related to research planning and exchanging information with the grantee, or for disseminating research results, are considered eligible.
- Consultation fees are eligible for expert and/or professional and technical services that contribute directly to the proposed research so long as the service is not being provided by a team member or other persons whose status would make them eligible to apply for a SSHRC grant.
Guidelines and related support material
All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:
- SSHRC’s Definitions of Terms for terms used in the grant application process;
- Guidelines for Effective Research Training, which can also be useful to reviewers and postsecondary institutions;
- SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research for applications involving Indigenous research;
- SSHRC’s definition of knowledge mobilization and Guidelines for Effective Knowledge Mobilization for guidance on connecting with research users to create impact;
- SSHRC’s Guidelines for Support of Tools for Research and Related Activities for applicants requiring funding for research and research-related tools;
- SSHRC’s Resource Centre for information on preparing applications involving research-creation.
- SHRC’s Guidelines for Cash and In-Kind Contributions.
For more information, contact:
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