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Insight Grants

October 2020 Competition

Overview
Value Stream A: $7,000 to $100,000
Stream B: $100,001 to $400,000
Duration 2 to 5 years
Application deadlineFootnote * October 1, 2020 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced April 2021
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

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Description

Insight Grants are expected to respond to the objectives of the Insight program.

Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities. Funding is available to both emerging and established scholars for research initiatives of two to five years.

Stable support for long-term research initiatives is central to advancing knowledge. It enables scholars to address complex issues about individuals and societies, and to further our collective understanding.

Insight Grants support research proposed by scholars and judged worthy of funding by their peers and/or other experts. Insight Grant research initiatives can be undertaken by an individual researcher or a team of researchers working in collaboration.

Applicants choose from one of two streams, depending on the amount of funding required. Both streams will be adjudicated by the same committees, and will receive the same rigorous level of merit review. The deadlines and application process are identical for both; however, the targeted success rate for Stream A is higher than for Stream B.

SSHRC welcomes applications involving Indigenous research, as well as those involving research-creation.

Joint initiatives

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, consult 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 Grants are valued at up to $400,000 over two to five years.  A minimum request of $7,000 is required in at least one of the years. A maximum of $100,000 is available in a single year.

Applicants choose from one of two streams when applying for an Insight Grant, depending on the amount of funding required:

  • Stream A for requests between $7,000 and $100,000; or
  • Stream B for requests between $100,001 and $400,000.

Eligibility

Subject matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Proposals can involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. See subject matter eligibility for more information.

Projects whose primary objective is curriculum development, preparation of teaching materials, 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 more than 30% of the requested budget has been allocated to ineligible expenses.

Applicants

Applications may be submitted by an individual researcher or a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant and one or more co-applicants and/or collaborators).

Applicants (except postdoctoral researchers and PhD students) must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution at the time of application and before funding can be released. 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.

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.

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 research proposal falls within the mandate of the federal government and the research is performed in government facilities, funding may be allocated only for the direct support of students (salaries or stipends and travel costs).

Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be applicants for this grant. However, in order for SSHRC to release grant funds, successful applicants must formally establish an affiliation with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution within five months of the grant start date (i.e., by September 2021 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 five months of the grant start date, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.

Institutions

Grant funds may 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.

Institutions may contact Corporate Strategy and Performance to begin the institutional eligibility application process, or if they have questions about institutional eligibility.

Co-applicants

Individuals listed as co-applicants must meet the same eligibility criteria as those described under the Applicants section.

Collaborators

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 may apply, as an applicant, for only one Insight Grant at a time.

Normally, researchers may not apply as an applicant for an Insight Grant and an Insight Development Grant within 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 applied for an Insight Development Grant in February 2020 and were not successful may apply for an Insight Grant in October 2020.

A researcher who applies for an Insight Grant in October 2020 may apply for an Insight Development Grant in February 2021, provided that the objectives of the research are significantly different.

See SSHRC’s regulations on multiple applications and holding multiple awards for more information.

Monitoring

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 upon receiving 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.

Eligible PhD students and postdoctoral researchers may submit their applications directly to SSHRC.

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

Evaluation and adjudication

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

Evaluation process

Two groups of individuals will be involved in the evaluation of Insight Grant applications:

  • external assessors; and
  • members of the Insight Grant adjudication committees.

These groups include national and international scholars from the research community and may 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.

SSHRC will seek, but cannot guarantee, a minimum of two external assessments per application. External assessors usually read only one application and provide their assessment of it to the adjudication committee.

Committee members read an entire cohort of applications, along with the relevant assessments provided by external assessors. Members, as a group, then evaluate and rank all the proposals assigned to their committee. Adjudication committees consider but are not bound by the judgments of the external assessors.

Normally, applications initially determined by committee consensus to be ranked in the lowest 35% are not discussed during the final stage of adjudication.

Committee structure

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:

  • discipline-based;
  • groups of disciplines;
  • multi/interdisciplinary (one humanities-focused and one social sciences-focused); and
  • thematic.

In the case of applicants who have selected a multi/interdisciplinary committee, relevant expertise to review the proposal may also be sought from within the larger pool of Insight Grant committee membership. Applicants may contact SSHRC to discuss committee selection.

SSHRC will make efforts to accommodate applicant preferences. However, it reserves the right to determine an application’s review process and committee assignment.

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 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.

Note: Indigenous research proposals may involve a more tailored adjudication. If SSHRC receives enough Indigenous research applications, it may establish a distinct adjudication committee.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):
    • 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.
  2. 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 cash and/or in-kind contributions; and
    • quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (40%):
    • 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 to 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, training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel.

Note: Adjudicators will consider information on only the last six years of research contributions. Any career interruptions will be taken into consideration.

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria above, 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

Research offices will be informed of their applicants’ competition results via SSHRC’s secure site. All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, any external assessments received and a summary of the adjudication 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 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. SSHRC also encourages researchers to manage, in line with both community standards and best practices (including SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving Policy), data arising from their research.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

  • Insight Grant funds cannot be used for remuneration and/or travel and subsistence costs of presenters or guest speakers, or for research costs of collaborators.
  • No team members (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator) can be remunerated with grant funds, including postdoctoral fellows serving in any of these capacities.
  • Consultation fees are eligible for expert and/or professional and technical services that contribute directly to the proposed research as 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:

Contact information

For more information, contact:

Email: insightgrants@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca
Tel.: 613-996-6976

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