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SSHRC Institutional Grants

Warning This funding opportunity is not currently offered. For information on currently offered SSHRC funding opportunities, see Funding

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December 2017 Competition

Value $5,000 per year minimum
Duration 3 years
Application deadline December 1, 2017 (Closed)
Results announced Spring 2018
Apply Application form and Instructions

Value and Duration
Application Process
Administrative Regulations and Related Information
Contact Information



Through its SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual block grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund, through their own merit review processes, small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty and students in the social sciences and humanities. SIG funds are intended to help Canadian postsecondary institutions strengthen research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

Complementary to and in line with SSHRC’s three main pillars of activities (Talent, Insight and Connection) SIG funds may be used to offer:

  • SSHRC Explore Grants, which:
    • support social sciences and humanities researchers with modest research funding requirements at any stage of career;
    • allow for small-scale innovation and experimentation by providing funding to develop a research project or conduct pilot work; and
    • enable researchers to hire students at any level to participate in their research projects thereby contributing to their professional development; and
  • SSHRC Exchange Grants, which:
    • support the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities, such as workshops and seminars, in order to encourage collaboration and the dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community; and
    • allow researchers to attend or present their research at scholarly conferences and other dissemination venues that align with SSHRC’s mandate in order to advance their careers and encourage the exchange of ideas and research results at the national and international level.

SSHRC expects that all SIG-funded research training will incorporate appropriate dimensions of the Guidelines for Effective Research Training.


Value and Duration

SSHRC provides annual block grants for three-year terms. The amount provided each year is calculated according to the following formula:

  • $50 for each full-time faculty member whose discipline falls within SSHRC’s mandate; plus
  • an amount based on the postsecondary institution’s average performance, over the three previous competition years, in all SSHRC research support funding opportunities, calculated at the rate of:
    • 23 per cent of the first $100,000 awarded;
    • 20 per cent of the next $400,000 awarded; and
    • 14 per cent of the remainder, if any.

This formula recognizes multi-institutional grants by distributing credit for performance to all co-applicants.

The amount of the annual block grant is calculated once per three-year funding cycle.

Eligible institutions that are deemed to meet the review and eligibility criteria will receive a minimum grant of $5,000 per annum.

Supplementary funding for small institutions (< 250 full-time faculty in social sciences and humanities)

SSHRC recognizes the importance of supporting smaller institutions and is committed to assisting them in their efforts to increase research and research-related activities in the social sciences and humanities. Therefore, SSHRC will provide eligible small institutions with a supplement to their annual block grants. The amount of the supplement is based on the amount of the annual SIG that the institution receives and in accordance with the ranges below:

Annual block grant Annual supplement
$5,000 $10,000
$5,001-$9,999 $15,000
$10,000-$19,999 $25,000
$20,000 or more $30,000

Note: The amounts above are maximum amounts; grant sizes will be adjusted to fit within the available funding envelope. In addition, the total combined funding (block grant + supplement) may not exceed $80,000 per annum.




To be eligible for the SIG funding opportunity, a postsecondary institution must:

  • be a Canadian postsecondary institution eligible to administer SSHRC funds;
  • be independent of the federal government for the purpose of faculty employment status;
  • independently grant university degrees in the social sciences and humanities disciplines at the undergraduate level or beyond;
  • have submitted all outstanding reports for prior SIG and/or Aid to Small Universities grants (statement of account form and activity report) before the application deadline; and
  • have designated one individual at the vice-president level responsible for the oversight of the grant funds.

To be eligible for the supplementary funding for small institutions, an institution must meet the eligibility requirements listed above and:

  • have fewer than 250 full-time faculty members in social sciences and humanities fields; and
  • demonstrate the need for the additional funds by confirming expenditures equal to or greater than 50 per cent of the supplement allocated in the first two years of the grant (this applies to funded applications from April 2018 onward).


A postsecondary institution awarded SIG funding determines the number of competitions it will hold annually, establishes deadlines that best suit the needs of its researchers, and sets the application procedures. The institution may distribute funds between the SSHRC Explore Grants and the SSHRC Exchange Grants according to its own priorities.

However, in awarding funds, the institution must adhere to the following restrictions:

  • Recipients must be affiliated with a SSHRC eligible Canadian postsecondary institution, and must maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian institution, are not eligible to hold these grants.
  • Postdoctoral researchers affiliated with the institution are eligible to receive support for eligible activities, provided they will maintain their affiliation for the duration of the grant period.
  • Students are not eligible to hold SIG-funded grants; however, SSHRC encourages researchers to employ students in SIG-funded research.
  • The institution acknowledges SSHRC support for its research or research-related activities and clearly brands funds used for research purposes as “SSHRC Explore Grants” and funds used for dissemination purposes as “SSHRC Exchange Grants.”


  • Each grant awarded may not exceed $7,000 except in the case of grants awarded via the supplement to small institutions, which may exceed this maximum for both faculty and institutional capacity-building activities.
  • The value of grants awarded to a single project must not exceed $7,000 per year (note: large projects may not be simultaneously funded by several small grants).
  • Individuals may not hold more than one SIG-funded grant at a time for the same activity.
  • The subject matter of the project or activity must be consistent with SSHRC’s mandate. (Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.)
  • Grant recipients must acknowledge SSHRC support for their research or research-related activities.


Postsecondary institutions receiving SIG funding must submit, no later than three months following the end of the grant period, both an end of grant report, which reports on outcomes from the grant, and an activity report, which lists all the subgrants (SSHRC Explore Grants and SSHRC Exchange Grants) awarded through this funding. Non-compliance with these requirements will result in the freezing of future instalments, until the reports are received in good order. Additional information on the reporting requirements will be communicated to institutions in the Notice of Award.


Application Process

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with the accompanying instructions. Applications must be uploaded in PDF format to the secure site by midnight (eastern) December 1, 2017.



SIG applications are reviewed by SSHRC staff for completeness and compliance with the criteria below.

All applications that meet the criteria for funding will receive a grant. The size of the grant will be calculated according to the above formulas and the funds available (grant amounts will be adjusted to fit within the total amount of funding available).

Review Criteria

  • comprehensiveness of the institution’s plan to use the grant funds to enhance research in the social sciences and humanities (note that institutions receiving a supplement will be asked to provide an additional plan for its use)
  • existence of a suitable governance structure to ensure the effective stewardship of SIG funds
  • appropriateness of the method of distribution of funds within the institution
  • rigour of the merit review processes in place at the institution
  • compliance with SSHRC reporting requirements with respect to SIG funding

Rating Table

Based on the following table, a rating will be assigned for each of these criteria. Applications must receive a “satisfactory” rating for each of the subcriteria in order to be recommended for funding.

Rating Descriptor
Satisfactory Meets or exceeds expectations
Unsatisfactory Does not meet expectations

Communication of Results

Research offices will be informed of their results by way of SSHRC’s secure site.


Administrative Regulations and Related Information

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

For descriptions of SSHRC terms, see Definitions of Terms.


Contact Information

For more information about the SIG funding opportunity, please contact your institution’s research office or SSHRC.

Tel.: 613-996-6976