Knowledge Synthesis Grants

Gender-Based Violence

December 2022 Competition

Value $30,000
Duration 1 year
Application deadlineFootnote * September 1, 2022 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced December 2022
Apply Web CV, application and instructions

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SSHRC and Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) have launched this Knowledge Synthesis Grants competition to mobilize social sciences and humanities research to examine and synthesize existing knowledge on gender-based violence (GBV). Grant holders will identify research gaps and opportunities and their work will inform and guide policy-makers and service providers contributing to ensuring a violence-free Canadian society.

Everyone has the right to live free from violence. However, many Canadians across the country continue to face violence every day because of their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. GBV is a violation of human rights.

While violence affects all people, some people are more at risk of experiencing violence because of various forms of oppression, such as sexism, racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. Certain populations are more likely to experience GBV, or face increased barriers in accessing justice and services. Women overall tend to experience these barriers, but specifically young women and girls; Indigenous women and girls; 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals; women living in northern, rural and remote communities; newcomer women to Canada; and women living with disabilities. The intersection of various forms of oppression may increase a person’s risk and vulnerability to violence.

The negative effects of GBV reach far beyond the individuals who directly experience them. Violence can have long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that span generations, which can lead to cycles of violence and abuse within families and sometimes whole communities. GBV holds us all back. GBV is not limited to physical violence and can include any word, action or attempt to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten or harm another person. GBV can ultimately lead to femicide. GBV can take many forms including cyber, physical, sexual, societal, psychological, emotional and economic violence. Neglect, discrimination and harassment can also be forms of GBV.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, emerging scientific data and reports have suggested that some forms of GBV have intensified, triggered by the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. What many have called a “shadow pandemic” has taken a particular toll on women, girls and gender-diverse individuals, especially those in more precarious situations. Risk factors associated with GBV have been exacerbated during the pandemic, including job losses and reduced income, food insecurity, mental health issues (including increased stress), and disruption of family routines, services and resources.

Building Better Lives Across the Gender Spectrum is one of 16 future challenge areas identified through SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. These complex issues, identified in 2018 after an extensive foresight exercise, reflect key challenges that Canada is likely to face in an evolving global context over the coming decades. All of the challenges cross multiple sectors and research disciplines, and require broad collaboration to address.

With the launch of this funding opportunity, SSHRC and WAGE aim to foster a deeper understanding of the state of knowledge on GBV in Canada, the efficacy of services addressing and preventing GBV, and the impact of GBV on different populations. The resulting syntheses will identify roles that the academic, public, private, and not-for-profit sectors can play in preventing GBV and improving the availability and efficacy of justice and services for victims and survivors of GBV.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants

Knowledge Synthesis Grants support researchers in producing knowledge synthesis reports and evidence briefs that:

  • support the use of evidence in decision-making and the application of best practices; and
  • assist in developing future research agendas.

Applicants must address the following three objectives in their proposals:

  1. State of knowledge, strengths and gaps
    • critically assess the state of knowledge of the future challenge theme under consideration from a variety of sources, as appropriate;
    • identify knowledge strengths and gaps within the theme; and
    • identify the most promising policies and practices related to the theme.
  2. Research data
    • assess the quality, accuracy and rigour (i.e., methodological approaches) of current work in the field; and
    • identify strengths and gaps in the quantitative and qualitative data available.
  3. Knowledge mobilization
    • engage cross-sectoral stakeholders (academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors) and/or First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights-holders throughout the project to mobilize knowledge related to promising policies and practices; and
    • use effective knowledge mobilization methods to facilitate the sharing of research findings with cross-sectoral stakeholders and Indigenous rights-holders.

Researchers can include international comparisons and case studies in their proposal but must demonstrate how the research has the potential to inform policy issues in Canada.

This Knowledge Synthesis Grant funding opportunity is guided by the following perspectives:

  1. Drawing on domestic, international and/or cross-sectoral evidence, what can Canadian researchers tell us about these issues?
  2. How might the findings guide public policy, practice and research agendas for Canada and the world in the immediate and long term?

Expected outcomes

Knowledge syntheses are comprehensive analyses of literature and other forms of knowledge on a particular question or issue. All types of knowledge synthesis approaches, tools and protocols, such as scoping reviews, systematic reviews and narrative syntheses, are encouraged under this funding opportunity. Synthesized results can include qualitative, quantitative or multi-method research.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants are not intended to support original research. Rather, they are intended to support the synthesis of existing research knowledge and the identification of knowledge gaps. This call is particularly focused on the state of research produced over the past 10 years.

In support of the objectives above, Knowledge Synthesis Grants will help identify roles that the academic, public, private, and not-for-profit sectors can play in developing and implementing robust policies, best practices and tools.

Successful applicants will be expected to do the following:

  • complete a synthesis report (maximum 40 pages) and two-page evidence brief within six months of receiving the grant;
  • participate in a virtual kick-off webinar (tentatively scheduled for January 2023);
  • participate in a virtual knowledge mobilization forum six months after the grant has been awarded (tentatively scheduled for June 2023) to share research findings with community practitioners and knowledge users in various sectors. Further details on the forum will be shared with successful applicants when finalized.

Successful applicants will receive guidelines for completing their synthesis report and two-page evidence brief. Researchers are expected to make their synthesis reports publicly available—such as through their webpage or through an institutional repository—and to include the link in their evidence brief. SSHRC will make all evidence briefs publicly available on its website. See examples of final reports and evidence briefs produced in a recent Knowledge Synthesis Grant funding opportunity for additional guidance.


The following themes and questions are intended to provide guidance to applicants. Proposals examining other issues relevant to the theme are also welcome, as are proposals that combine themes or questions. Researchers can also relate the themes and questions listed below to the COVID-19 pandemic if there is enough available information for a knowledge synthesis report.

Researchers are encouraged to consider the issues below through an intersectional lens, resulting in a better understanding of how these themes can affect different communities and populations on the basis of (but not limited to): gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, Indigenous identity, age, disability, and/or geographic location. Proposals with a particular focus on at-risk groups including Indigenous women, women with disabilities, young women and girls, members of 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities, and newcomers, racialized and immigrant women are particularly encouraged. Knowledge syntheses related to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities should be participatory and collaborative, prioritizing research completed by Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations, and grounded in Indigenous worldviews and approaches to research.

Understanding the prevalence and experiences of GBV

  • How does experiencing GBV impact employment trajectories (such as access to promotions, job retention, etc.) and gender pay gaps?
  • What are the features of GBV in male-dominated/traditionally masculine careers and workplaces (such as the military, trades and policing), and what are the root causes and risk factors of violence in these spaces?
  • What are the distinct aspects of GBV experiences—and existing culturally and gender-informed programs/best practices to respond to these experiences—for specific marginalized groups, such as youth, Black or racialized communities, and transgender individuals?
  • What are the risk factors that raise the likelihood of GBV in areas of natural resource development and extraction projects, specifically surrounding work camps and industrial camps? What are the impacts of experiences of GBV on local communities and families? What types of supports are available for those experiencing violence within and around work camps and what additional responses need to be in place?
  • What forms does GBV take in women’s sport and what initiatives and tools are in place to protect athletes and help survivors?

Cyberviolence, technology-facilitated violence and online harassment

  • How prevalent/severe is violence and harassment in virtual workplaces, and are there any tools in the virtual environment that can help protect against GBV?
  • What definitions, terminology and trends are emerging in relation to technology-facilitated gender-based and sexual violence? How do specific features of current technologies, programs and apps change and exacerbate the harms of GBV?
  • What are the defining characteristics of technology-facilitated GBV and harassment against women and gender-diverse individuals in leadership positions, as well as against specific marginalized groups (such as youth, Black or racialized communities, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals)? What are better ways to prevent this technology-facilitated GBV?
  • How does online violence, harassment or bullying impact children and youth, and how can these forms of violence be prevented? How is this online harassment exacerbated when directed against marginalized youth?

Meeting the needs of GBV victims and survivors

  • How do housing and homelessness issues contribute to GBV and amplify challenges for GBV victims and survivors?
  • What are the particularities and promising practices regarding support and housing for young people—including youth mothers—who are experiencing intimate partner violence?
  • What are the best or promising practices in supporting survivors of human trafficking to transition out and lead violence-free lives?
  • What are the current challenges and gaps in providing support to 2SLGBTQQIA+ survivors of GBV, and how can service providers best respond to the needs of this community?
  • What are the unique challenges faced by newcomers and recent immigrants who experience GBV before or after arriving in Canada? What are the ways that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and lack of culturally sensitive support services affect newcomers’ experiences of GBV?

Addressing barriers to accessing justice

  • What barriers currently exist for GBV victims, survivors and their families attempting to access justice in the formal legal system, and what are the additional barriers faced by marginalized communities?
  • What are current existing programs and best practices to improve the criminal justice system to better protect and respond to victims and survivors of GBV in Canada, and what gaps still remain?
  • Are trauma-informed approaches being used by policing and legal teams in sexual assault cases, and how are these approaches improving how sexual assault survivors experience the legal system?
  • What measures (policies, programs or other) are effective in increasing survivors’ reporting of sexual assault or intimate partner violence?
  • How has law in Canada adapted and changed over the past decade to better protect and respond to victims and survivors of GBV?

Ending GBV against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals

  • What are the particular or additional challenges for Indigenous women and girls and Indigenous individuals who identify as 2SLGBTQQIA+ in accessing justice or services after GBV experiences, particularly justice and services that are culturally informed?
  • What are the best practices for reducing barriers for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people reporting violence to police or community authorities?
  • How are Indigenous knowledge systems, cultures, languages, histories and worldviews being applied to understanding and addressing GBV? How do ideas and practices of restorative justice and offender accountability help to prevent future occurrences of GBV?
  • What are some promising Indigenous-led and culturally safe services in Indigenous communities for victims and survivors of GBV and/or for rehabilitating perpetrators of GBV?

Tackling gender-based inequalities and preventing GBV

  • What approaches and models are used to support and rehabilitate perpetrators of GBV in order to prevent future violence?
  • How do municipal governments prevent sexual harassment and assault in public spaces, and what are the intersections between preventing GBV and better public services and infrastructure in cities?
  • How are boys or young men taught or engaged in gender equality and violence prevention, and what interventions have shown promise?
  • What educational programs currently exist to aid in the prevention of gender-based and intimate partner violence among youth?
  • How can the implementation of different firearm regulations help to prevent femicides and reduce the rates of GBV?
  • How has the #MeToo movement affected the GBV landscape in Canada and what changes to attitudes, norms, law enforcement or service provision are discernible and attributable to #MeToo?

Value and duration

Knowledge Synthesis Grants are valued at $30,000 for one year.

Knowledge mobilization activities (that is, conference presentations and outreach activities) can take place throughout the year. All synthesis reports must be completed by June 1, 2023, prior to the virtual forum. Up to 30 grants may be awarded.

By applying for this funding opportunity, successful applicants consent to SSHRC sharing the resulting synthesis reports and evidence briefs with other interested organizations and individuals. This does not in any way limit how researchers may otherwise publish or use the results of their research.


Subject matter

Most SSHRC funding is awarded through open competitions. Proposals may 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 are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.


Applications can 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 must be affiliated with a Canadian institution that holds institutional eligibility before funding can be released. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian institution that holds institutional eligibility, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.

Applicants (or project directors, where applicable) who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an end of grant report or their 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 researchers are eligible to be applicants if they have formally established an affiliation with an eligible institution at the time of application, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


Grant funds can 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.

Indigenous not-for-profit organizations being assessed for or holding institutional eligibility to administer multiple grants over a five-year period are eligible to administer Knowledge Synthesis Grants. They must obtain institutional eligibility before funding is released.

Institutions must contact to begin the institutional eligibility application process, or if they have questions about institutional eligibility.


Individuals (including postdoctoral researchers) are eligible to be co-applicants if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:

  • Canadian: eligible postsecondary institution; not-for-profit organization; philanthropic foundation; think tank; or municipal, territorial or provincial government; or
  • International: postsecondary institution.


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.

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

Multiple applications and holding multiple awards

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 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, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organization that has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

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

Evaluation and merit review

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.

The goal of SSHRC and WAGE is to support syntheses covering a range of themes relating to GBV. In addition to using the evaluation criteria below, and in keeping with established Knowledge Synthesis Grant practices, SSHRC and WAGE will consider the overall coverage of themes among recommended applications in its funding decisions, to ensure that the synthesis reports address a broad distribution of topics. Grants might not necessarily be allocated evenly across themes; however, where there are value-added differences in approach and coverage, more than one grant could be allocated to a single theme.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants are not intended to support original research. Rather, they are intended to support the synthesis of existing research knowledge and the identification of knowledge gaps.

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 may also be of use to external assessors, postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

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%):
    • expected contribution to the funding opportunity’s stated objectives;
    • significance of the applicant’s chosen topic or area(s) for synthesis, based on the issues identified in this call for proposals;
    • potential influence and impact in informing policy and practice in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors; and
    • identification of research gaps that might be addressed by a forward-looking research agenda in the chosen area(s).
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (30%):
    • ability to meet the objectives of the funding opportunity;
    • appropriateness of the methodology or approach and of the work plan, including timelines for the design and conduct of the activity;
    • quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable; and
    • appropriateness of the requested budget.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (30%):
    • qualifications of the applicant/team to carry out the proposed project (such as expertise in the research area, synthesis methods, information retrieval and Indigenous research); and
    • evidence of other knowledge mobilization activities (such as films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience collaborating/interacting with stakeholders, and contributions to public debate and the media) and of impacts on policy and practice.

Scoring table

Merit review 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. Any feedback or comments provided to the applicant are at the discretion of the committee.

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

SSHRC makes competition results available to applicants (via the SSHRC Extranet for Applicants) and institutions/organizations (via the Grants and Scholarships Administration Portal).

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. The SSHRC Research Data Archiving Policy has been retired. In March 2021, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and SSHRC launched the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy. As of April 1, 2021, this new policy replaces SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving policy, for all active grants.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

  • No team members (applicant, co-applicant or collaborator) can be remunerated with grant funds. This includes postdoctoral researchers 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:

Tel.: 1-855-275-2861

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