Image, Text, Sound and Technology

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Summer Institute, Workshop and Conference Grants

September 2009 Competition

Value and Duration
Evaluation and Adjudication
Administrative Regulations
More Information



In its September 2000 report to SSHRC's governing council, the Working Group on the Future of the Humanities observed, “New information technologies represent one of the major impacts on humanities teaching and research. They also present an exciting opportunity for scholars, teachers and students to become informed partners and innovators.”

Digital technologies now pervasively inform how research is conducted in the humanities and social sciences, whether it is simple word processing, database searches, or highly complex multimedia presentations. To examine and interpret individuals and their cultures, researchers currently use three fundamental kinds of digital information: images, text and sound. These digital forms of information are, however, very sensitive to changes in the technologies through which they are created, analyzed, published and preserved. In recent decades, innovative technologies have transformed the very definition of text and its relationship to image and sound. To benefit fully from these new technologies, researchers must not only be aware of technological developments, but also be directly involved in them. To support researchers in this endeavour, SSHRC developed the Image, Text, Sound and Technology (ITST) program to increase researchers’ familiarity with, and effective use of, these new tools.



It is essential for researchers in the social sciences and humanities to have the expertise necessary to carry out research in today’s rapidly evolving technological environment. For example, in 1999, SSHRC and Statistics Canada launched the Data Training Schools. This program enables researchers to learn about and apply advanced technologies to the analysis of social statistics at postsecondary institution-based Research Data Centres across the country. Similarly, the ITST program will help researchers refine their ability to apply digital multimedia technologies to their research on image, text and sound.

The overall objectives of the ITST program are to:

  • reflect on, interpret, and analyze new digital media, multimedia, and text-based computing technologies, and integrate these into humanities and social sciences research;
  • bring together theorists, experimentalists, and technologists from different disciplines to share and nurture ideas and methods that challenge research to advance through the use of audio-visual and text-based technologies; and
  • facilitate the creation of national and international networks of, and partnerships among, researchers, industries, governments, and individuals that will promote and sustain social sciences and humanities research and resources worldwide.


The program will provide funding for researchers and their graduate students to develop expertise in applying advanced technology through summer institutes, workshops and conferences.

Funds may be requested for the planning and implementation of events that bring together appropriate academic and government or industry researchers, including Canadian and international scholars and experts, to exchange knowledge about the use of technology in ITST research.

  • Summer Institutes are intensive, one- to two-week, interactive seminars that introduce researchers and students to cutting-edge ITST technologies and skills.

  • Workshops, of two to five days’ duration, concentrate on the elaboration and sharing of innovative technological methodologies being developed for use in ITST research.

  • Conferences provide venues for ITST researchers to present their research methodologies and results to a range of users and potential users from the academic, public, private, and voluntary sectors.

Possible topics and areas to be addressed include:

  • electronic editing and publishing;
  • e-literature studies;
  • Web programming;
  • immersive and virtual environments in multimedia research;
  • textual analysis;
  • 3D imaging technology;
  • creativity, culture and computing;
  • digital image design;
  • information aesthetics;
  • computer gaming; and
  • knowledge transfer of research results to fellow researchers, decision-makers and the public at large.

Please note that this program does not support the following:

  • digitization of collections of images, books or sounds;
  • support for routine computer applications from which little new knowledge about image, text and sound technology will emerge;
  • creation of stand-alone major research tools;
  • research activities, already funded under other SSHRC programs, that do not need transformative multimedia and new media technologies; or
  • development of technological infrastructure.


Value and Duration

Up to $50,000 for 12 months.


Canadian postsecondary institutions are eligible to apply. The summer institute, workshop or conference must be held at the applying institution. Detailed instructions accompany the application form.

Institutions that propose to administer any grant awarded under this program must meet the requirements for managing SSHRC funds, and must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.


Evaluation and Adjudication

An interdisciplinary committee of experts in ITST research will assess all proposals. SSHRC will send all applicants a formal notice of decision and a summary of the committee's comments.

The committee will adjudicate proposals according to the following criteria:

  • fit between the proposed summer institute, workshop, or conference and the objectives of the ITST program;
  • competence and expertise of proposed key resource personnel such as speakers and discussion leaders (as applicable);
  • quality of the program proposed for the summer institute, workshop or conference;
  • significant participation of researchers and advanced students;
  • appropriateness of the budget, and value for money; and
  • potential of the proposed institute, workshop or conference to achieve wide and effective transfer of knowledge.

Administrative Regulations

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 (TAFAG). While the TAFAG has precedence, additional information can also be found in the Grant Holder's Guide.

Note: Eligible expenses include travel, accommodation and remuneration for resource personnel, speakers, course instructors and discussion leaders. Please consult the Grant Holder's Guide for restrictions regarding those eligible to receive remuneration.

More Information

For further information about ITST Summer Institute, Workshop and Conference Grants, please contact:

Eric Bergeron
Program Officer
Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives Division
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON
K1P 6G4

Tel.: 613-996-1422
Fax: 613-947-0223