Partnership Development Grants
November 2023 Competition
|$75,000 to $200,000
|1 to 3 years
|Application deadlineFootnote *
|November 15, 2023 (8 p.m. eastern)
|Web CV, application and instructions
On this page
- Future Challenge Areas
- Value and duration
- Application process
- Merit review
- Regulations, policies and related information
- Contact information
Partnership Development Grants are expected to respond to the objectives of the Research Partnerships program.
These grants provide support over one to three years to teams/partnerships, led by a project director, to:
- develop research and/or related activities in the social sciences and humanities—these can include knowledge mobilization and the meaningful involvement of students and emerging scholars—by fostering new partnerships with existing and/or potential partners; or
- design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities that can result in best practices or models—these can either be adapted by others or have the potential to be scaled up to a regional, national or international level.
Partnership funding is intended for formal partnerships between postsecondary institutions and/or organizations of various types. For more information, see the definitions for formal partnership and partner organization.
The quality of training, mentoring and employability plans for students and emerging scholars will be evaluated as an important part of the proposed initiative. SSHRC’s Guidelines for Effective Research Training explain how students and emerging scholars can meaningfully participate in proposed initiatives.
The intellectual leadership and governance for the creation of a formal partnership can come from the research community and/or from partner organizations from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. However, only an institution that meets the institutional eligibility requirements can administer the grant funding, once awarded. For more information related to Partnership Development Grants, see the Eligibility section.
SSHRC invites applicants and their partner organizations who wish to propose formal disciplinary, interdisciplinary, interinstitutional, international and/or cross-sector partnership arrangements to apply for support through this funding opportunity. Funds are available to support a variety of formal partnership development initiatives in all the disciplines and themes that meet SSHRC’s subject matter eligibility guidelines.
SSHRC’s Partnerships Tool-Kit offers tools and resources to assist with the planning and implementation of your partnership.
Types of partnerships
There are two categories of partnerships that can request support:
- existing partnerships to foster new research and/or research-related partnership activities that are distinct from the partnership’s previous/ongoing partnership activities; and
- new partnerships to foster new research and/or research-related partnership activities that are undertaken by partnerships in their initial stages.
Following is a list of possible formal partnership approaches. Applicants are in no way limited to these approaches, and are welcome to combine some of the features described below.
- Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research partnerships: Interinstitutional research initiatives designed to make a significant contribution to advancing knowledge and understanding in the social sciences and/or humanities. While SSHRC welcomes proposals for interdisciplinary research partnerships involving natural sciences, engineering and/or health partner organizations, partnerships of this nature must follow SSHRC’s subject matter eligibility guidelines.
- Cross-sector co-creation of knowledge and understanding: Partnerships to foster innovative research, training and the co-creation of new knowledge on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance.
- Networks for research and/or related activities: Networks designed to advance the innovative co-creation of knowledge, as well as training and mobilization of research, on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic and cultural significance.
- Partnered knowledge mobilization: Partnerships designed to synthesize, apply and mobilize new and existing social sciences and humanities research knowledge in accessible ways to build institutional capacity and to increase the national and international impact and stature of Canadian research.
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
Partnership Development Grants are valued at $75,000 to $200,000, over one to three years.
Salary research allowance
A salary research allowance can be requested for not-for-profit organizations involved in the partnership with an applicant, co-director or co-applicant on the team to release them from duties to their organization.
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, program evaluation, preparation of teaching materials, digitization of a collection, or creation of a database are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.
Applications can be submitted by a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant / project director and one or more co-applicants and/or collaborators). The applicant / project director prepares the application on behalf of the partner organizations of the formal partnership.
Applicants (except postdoctoral researchers and students) must be affiliated with a Canadian institution that meets the institutional eligibility requirements 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.
Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be applicants if they have formally established an affiliation with an eligible institution within five months of the grant start date, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period. Before applying, postdoctoral researchers must confirm with their institution, usually through the research grants office, that the institution can administer the funding if awarded.
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 institution within five months of the grant start date, and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.
Applicants who are postdoctoral researchers or students, and who do not have an affiliation at the time of the grant application, are asked to communicate with SSHRC at least five business days before the deadline to confirm how to forward their application.
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 only be administered by an eligible Canadian institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.
All not-for-profit organizations that require institutional eligibility must contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least five business days prior to the application deadline to be added to the application form and begin the eligibility process.
Indigenous not-for-profit organizations wanting to administer multiple Partnership Development Grants, Partnership Grants and/or Connection Grants going forward are encouraged to begin the institutional eligibility application process at least two months prior to the relevant funding opportunity’s application deadline.
Institutions must contact email@example.com to begin the institutional eligibility application process, or if they have questions about institutional eligibility.
Not-for-profit organization applicants must have at least one Canadian postsecondary institution partner organization to be eligible for this funding opportunity.
Co-directors and co-applicants
- Canadian: eligible postsecondary institution; not-for-profit organization; philanthropic foundation; think tank; or municipal, territorial or provincial governments.
- International: postsecondary institution.
Postdoctoral researchers who are affiliated with a postsecondary institution are eligible to be co-directors or co-applicants.
PhD candidates are eligible to be co-applicants and co-directors under the same conditions as those described for an applicant.
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.
Partner organizations can be Canadian or international institutions or organizations (public, private, not-for-profit) of any type.
Under a Partnership Development Grant, an applicant affiliated with a postsecondary institution is not required to enter into a partnership agreement with another postsecondary institution.
Multiple applications and holding multiple awards
See SSHRC’s regulations on 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.
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.
Eligible PhD students and postdoctoral researchers can submit their applications directly to SSHRC.
Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.
Applications must demonstrate the following:
Quality and commitment of formal partnerships
Applicants should include relevant documentation to allow informed evaluation of the quality and level of commitment of the proposed formal partnerships.
Applicants must include evidence of formal partnership in their application. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:
- governance frameworks;
- agreements (intellectual property, conflict resolution, etc.);
- strategic plans; and
- other relevant documentation.
Institutional and partner organization contributions
Applicants are expected to include a plan to seek and secure cash and/or in-kind contributions for their initiative during the life of the grant. While there is no minimum contribution requirement, institutions and their partner organizations are expected to demonstrate that a formal partnership currently exists, or is in the process of being developed, by supporting the activities of the formal partnership through cash and/or in-kind support.
For more information, see SSHRC’s Guidelines for Cash and In-Kind Contributions.
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.
Applications are reviewed by multidisciplinary committees that include relevant expertise from the academic community, as well as research expertise from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. The exact number and composition of merit review committees will be determined by the number and nature of proposals received. 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.
Committee members read an entire cohort of applications. Members, as a group, then evaluate and rank all of the proposals assigned to their committee.
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 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:
- Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (50%):
- originality, significance and expected contribution to knowledge;
- appropriateness of the literature review;
- appropriateness of the theoretical approach or framework;
- appropriateness of the methods/approach (including the co-creation of knowledge);
- quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, and opportunities for them to contribute;
- potential for the project results to have influence and impact within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community; and
- identification of progress indicators.
- Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (20%):
- appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
- quality and genuineness of the formal partnership and associated management and governance arrangements and leadership, including involvement of partner organizations and others in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities;
- expertise of the team and appropriateness of partner organizations in relation to the proposed project;
- appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs;
- indications of other planned resources, including leveraging of cash and in-kind support from the host institution and/or from partner organizations; and
- quality and appropriateness of the knowledge mobilization plans, including 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 and co-directors relative to their roles in the partnership and to their respective stages of career;
- evidence of other knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and the media) and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.;
- evidence of past contributions to the training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel; and
- past experience in formal partnerships.
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.
|Very good to excellent
|Good to very good
|Satisfactory to good
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).
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 policies, regulations and guidelines 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) and the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, which, as of April 1, 2021, has replaced SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving policy for all active grants.
Specific rules for the use of grant funds
- Tri-agency grant funds cannot be used to remunerate team members (applicant, co-applicant, co-director or collaborator). This includes postdoctoral fellows serving in any of these capacities.
- Partnership Development Grant funds cannot be used to provide salaries or stipends to applicants, co-directors, co-applicants or collaborators, regardless of an individual’s eligibility to apply for grants.
- Partnership Development Grant funds cannot be used to provide salaries or stipends to the grantee or to other individuals whose status would make them eligible to apply for grants from the agency.
- Course release time to allow an individual to engage in research is not an eligible expense.
Guidelines and related support material
All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their application:
- SSHRC’s Definitions of Terms for terms used in the grant application process;
- the 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 clarification on how applicants can include up to $7,000 of funding for research and research-related tools in any SSHRC grant application; and
- SSHRC’s Resource Centre for information on preparing applications.
For more information, contact:
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