Partnership Engage Grants—Residential Schools Joint Initiative

Value $7,000 to $50,000
Duration 1 year
Application deadlineFootnote * 8 p.m. (eastern) June 15, 2022 Competition closed
Results announced At end of funding cycle (August)
Apply Application process

On this page


Missing children and the existence of unmarked burial sites at residential schools across Canada have been well-known for decades among Indigenous communities, and became the subject of volume 4 of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC final report also included Calls to Action. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) developed the National Residential School Death Register in response to Call to Action 72. The Register lists the names of 4,130 children who are known to have died while attending residential school. This research is ongoing. Despite this work, the broader Canadian public has only begun to understand the extent of the situation. These tragic realities underline the integral role of Indigenous community-led research and activities in shaping the path to truth and reconciliation.

As part of the response to the TRC’s Calls to Action 71-76, SSHRC is partnering with the NCTR to propose a unique opportunity for short-term funding to support Indigenous community-led research and related activities involving community decision-making processes, research and actions regarding residential school sites in Canada.

This NCTR-SSHRC initiative is taking the form of a one-time funding opportunity, the Partnership Engage Grants—Residential Schools Joint Initiative (PEG RSJI). The PEG RSJI will support projects responding to a community’s need for planning, discussions, archival work or storytelling prior to, or in addition to, excavations or identifications on residential school sites in Canada. Projects can also focus on ground exploration, identification of sites and remains, repatriation of missing children from residential schools in Canada, or mapping and preservation of these sites, as judged appropriate by the community.

Value and duration

SSHRC is committed to investing up to $1 million for the June 2022 Partnership Engage Grants competition to support projects related to residential schools. Grants are valued at a maximum amount of $50,000 per project for the duration of one year. A one-year automatic grant extension without additional funding is also available under this joint initiative.


PEG RSJI applications are subject to the general Partnership Engage Grants’ eligibility requirements.

Researchers can submit only one application to either Partnership Engage Grants or the PEG RSJI in the same competition (e.g., June 2022).

However, the following exceptions apply:

  • researchers who have already submitted a Partnership Engage Grants application in the current calendar year are still eligible to apply for a PEG RSJI grant; and
  • researchers can hold one Partnership Engage Grant (but not for the June 2022 competition), multiple Partnership Engage Grant COVID-19 Special Initiative awards and a PEG RSJI simultaneously.

Application process

Applicants must complete the Partnership Engage Grants application form and follow the accompanying instructions, as outlined in the Partnership Engage Grants description.

SSHRC will accept applications for the PEG RSJI until the following deadline:

  • June 15, 2022

In their application form, PEG RSJI applicants must follow these steps:

  1. Select PEG RSJI in the drop-down menu for Joint or special initiative. By doing so, applicants accept that the content of their application will be shared with the NCTR. (See Regulations, policies and related information section for details).
  2. Include, under Keywords, the term “Residential Schools.”
  3. Demonstrate under the Goal and project description section that the proposed project is responding to an Indigenous community’s need for:
    • planning, discussions, archival work or storytelling prior to, or in addition to, excavations or identifications on residential school sites in Canada; and/or
    • ground exploration, identification of sites and remains, or repatriation of missing children on residential school sites in Canada; and/or
    • mapping and preservation of these sites.
  4. Include the letter of support from the partner representing the Indigenous community leading the project. The letter should demonstrate how the project is emanating from the community’s ideas and goals, describe the community’s participation, and explain how the relationship with the researchers will assist the community.

Although partner organizations are normally expected to support the activities of the partnership through cash and/or in-kind contributions, in an effort to alleviate barriers to all communities’ participation, partners unable to provide cash and/or in-kind contributions can explain alternative support in their letters. This support can include social capital, an asset that can emphasize social and familial relationships and networks and could affect the cost of research. A contribution could also include linguistic capital, such as the ability to engage with the community using its ancestral language(s) and a national language of Canada.

The NCTR and SSHRC encourage projects using Gender-based Analysis Plus.

Evaluation and adjudication

PEG RSJI applications are subject to the Partnership Engage Grants evaluation criteria. However, the three main criteria are weighted differently: Challenge 40%, Feasibility 30% and Capability 30%. Their evaluation will be guided by SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research. Special attention will be given to community involvement and the co-creation of knowledge, as appropriate. In this context, the co-creation of knowledge could include interpretative approaches that are jointly developed, reviewed, and confirmed by and with community members or their community-delegated organization.

The NCTR and SSHRC will establish a joint adjudication committee with expertise in Indigenous research and related world views, ethics and protocols, as well as specific knowledge of the history and legacy of the residential school system, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Crown-Indigenous relations.

Regulations, policies and related information

SSHRC will not share with the NCTR any information pertaining to applications submitted to SSHRC without the consent of SSHRC applicants or award holders. However, NCTR personnel with responsibility for management of this initiative will given access to relevant application material for purposes consistent with administrative or merit review processes, as required. When applicants select this joint initiative from the drop-down menu in the Partnership Engage Grants application form, they are providing their consent to have their application content shared with the NCTR for the purposes stated here, including if they are awarded funding under this joint initiative.

Contact information

For more information, contact:

Tel.: 1-855-275-2861

Date modified: