Reconciliation Network in Response to Call to Action 65

Value $7,000 to $1 million
Duration 5 years
Application deadlineFootnote * May 15, 2023 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced November 2023
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In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Call to Action 65, the Reconciliation Network in Response to Call to Action 65 is a joint initiative between the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and SSHRC. This unique opportunity supports establishment of a national research program with multiyear funding to advance collective understanding of reconciliation.

The TRC defines “reconciliation” as an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships. The TRC explained:

“[R]econciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.”

One of the NCTR’s goals is to provide educational and employment opportunities to Indigenous Peoples. In alignment with this, and in keeping with the principles and strategic directions in SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and in the federal research funding agencies’ strategic plan, Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019-2022, this joint initiative is designated for research projects led by First Nations, Métis Nation or Inuit researchers as applicant / project director.

SSHRC and the NCTR invite teams led by First Nations, Métis Nation or Inuit researchers to submit proposals for new or existing formal partnerships that contribute to our collective understanding of truth and reconciliation. Proposals could, for example, address residential schools’ history, or the ongoing legacy of residential schools and Canada’s policies of assimilation in one or more areas, including child welfare, education, language and culture, health, and justice.

The TRC noted closing residential schools did not end their impacts on Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous Peoples continue to experience systemic discrimination across sectors, which persists as part of government policies of assimilation and undermines reconciliation.

The NCTR and SSHRC recognize the experience of northern Inuit communities, and encourage Inuit-led teams to submit proposals focusing on the realities of the Inuit Nunangat.

As part of the Reconciliation Network, the teams funded under this initiative will participate in coordination activities managed by the NCTR in its role as coordination hub for the network. Teams will participate in:

  • regular dialogue and networking among projects, under the guidance of the Reconciliation Network Coordination Hub;
  • knowledge mobilization activities, which may include podcasts, conference panels, etc.;
  • any conferences organized by the Reconciliation Network Coordination Hub, which may also result in publication of public reports exploring and highlighting research achievements; and
  • activities to support the success of the network and the promotion of interactions between teams.

In their proposals, applicants should integrate the NCTR coordination hub into their knowledge mobilization plans, and discuss how they will work with the NCTR in their project (i.e., what resources you will need). For example, knowledge mobilization plans should include participation in network meetings and discussions with the hub knowledge mobilization coordinator. Each project is expected to propose and include a budget request for one knowledge mobilization activity for the entire network. The NCTR will make its resources available to the network teams.


The main objective of the Reconciliation Network in Response to Call 65 is to award grants to provide support for new and existing formal partnerships over five years to advance research, research training and knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities. This is done through mutual co-operation and sharing of intellectual leadership, as well as through resources as shown by cash and/or in-kind contributions.

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 a new or existing 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 institutional eligibility requirements can administer the grant funding. For more information, see Eligibility.

SSHRC’s Partnerships Tool-Kit offers tools and resources to assist in the planning and implementation of a partnership.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

All applicants to SSHRC opportunities are encouraged to consider equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in both research practice (EDI-RP) and research design (EDI-RD).

EDI-RP involves promoting diversity in team composition and trainee recruitment; fostering an equitable, inclusive and accessible research work environment for team members and trainees; and highlighting diversity and equity in mentoring, training and access to development opportunities.

EDI-RD involves designing the research so that it takes EDI into account, through approaches such as intersectionality, antiracist frameworks, gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) and disaggregated data collection, and analysis that includes consideration of diversity and identity factors such as, but not limited to, age, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, gender expression and gender identity, immigration and newcomer status, Indigenous identity, language, neurodiversity, parental status/responsibility, place of origin, religion, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

The NCTR and SSHRC encourage projects to use GBA+.

Value and duration

Grants offered under the Reconciliation Network in Response to Call to Action 65 are valued at up to $200,000 annually over five years, up to a total of $1 million. A one-year automatic grant extension without additional funding is also available under this joint initiative.


Subject matter

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, organization of a conference or workshop, digitization of a collection, or creation of a database are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.

An application will be declared ineligible if it is determined that 30% or more of the requested budget has been allocated to ineligible expenses.


This funding opportunity is open to First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit researchers affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution (university, college, not-for-profit organization) at the time of application. First Nations, Métis Nation or Inuit 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 are also invited to consult the NCTR’s list of partner organizations to expand their collaborations.

Applications can be submitted by a team of researchers consisting of at least one First Nations, Métis Nation or Inuit applicant / project director. The team can be composed of participants, such as one or more co-directors, co-applicants and/or collaborators. The applicant / project director prepares the application with the team.

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.

Researchers who are federal scientists 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.

First Nations, Métis Nation or Inuit 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.

Students are not eligible for applicant or co-applicant status.

An administrative review for applicant eligibility will be jointly conducted by SSHRC and the NCTR. As this initiative supports Indigenous-led projects by Indigenous applicants, all applicants will be asked to self-identify. To help address concerns regarding the use of self-identification as a sole selection criterion for opportunities designated for First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit applicants, applicants will also be required to:

  • provide a brief overview of their community’s history;
  • describe their personal ties and experience in their community; and
  • provide a contact from their community should a follow-up be required.

Guidance from the SSHRC Indigenous Advisory Circle will be sought to validate the results of the administrative review of the documentation provided.

SSHRC and the NCTR will not advise prospective applicants on determination of eligibility regarding self-identification.


Grant funds may 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. See SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions.

If your institution does not currently have institutional eligibility to manage SSHRC funding, have a representative contact as soon as possible to discuss steps required. The deadline for the institutional eligibility application is five business days prior to the grant application deadline of May 15, 2023.

To start your funding application, you must have already begun the institutional eligibility process, so you can select the administering organization under Affiliations in the application portal. You must identify an institutional representative as the research administrator, who will be responsible for forwarding the grant application to SSHRC by the deadline. Creating a research administrator role for your organization in the Convergence Portal can take up to about five business days; however, during this time you can continue to work on key sections of your grant application (e.g., Supporting Documents attachments). See the application instructions for more details.


An individual (including postdoctoral researchers) is eligible to be a co-applicant if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:

  • Canadian: eligible postsecondary institutions; not-for-profit organizations; philanthropic foundations; think tanks; or municipal, territorial or provincial governments; or
  • International: postsecondary institutions.


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

Partner organizations can be Canadian or international institutions or organizations (public, private, not-for-profit) of any type. Indigenous organizations, Indigenous governments and Indigenous not-for-profit organizations are all welcome to partner.

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 may explain alternative support in their letters. This support can include social capital—an asset that may emphasize social and familial relationships and networks and may affect the cost of research—and/or linguistic capital, such as the ability to engage in the community using its ancestral language(s) and a national language of Canada.

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.

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 administering institution, who 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 merit review process. Funding decisions are based on the recommendations of the merit review committee and on the funds available. Committee discussions are guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research are relevant for researchers preparing SSHRC applications related to Indigenous research. SSHRC provides these guidelines 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.

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

Participants in the review process, if not in a conflict of interest with the applicant or any team members, will be asked to evaluate proposals based on the evaluation criteria below.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

Reconciliation-based evaluation criteria: The NCTR and SSHRC have collaborated to develop evaluation criteria based on the principles of respect for Indigenous rights, promotion of reconciliation and adherence to Indigenous worldviews, research ethics and protocols. These build on and are guided by the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research and SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles.

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):
    • originality, significance and expected contribution to the overall goals of the Reconciliation Network in Response to Call to Action 65
    • relevance of the proposal’s Indigenous research activities on reconciliation using decolonizing approaches;
    • appropriateness of the literature review, including oral literature;
    • appropriateness of the methods/approach and theoretical approach or framework, including Indigenous ways of knowing and storytelling;
    • quality of community involvement and co-creation of knowledge;
    • appropriateness of considerations related to equity, diversity and inclusion in the research design (e.g., questions, methods, theoretical framework, literature review, analysis and interpretation, and knowledge mobilization activities);
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, including community members who may not be enrolled in a postsecondary academic program, as well as opportunities for them to contribute;
    • potential for the project results to have influence and impact for partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector; and
    • identification of progress indicators.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (30%):
    • appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
    • quality and genuineness of the formal partnership, associated management and governance arrangements, and leadership of partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector, including their involvement 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, including for meeting community needs, and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of other planned resources, including leveraging of cash and in-kind support from the institution and/or partner organizations, or of social or linguistic capital, such as familial relationships and networks or ability to engage in the community using its ancestral language(s) and a national language of Canada; and
    • quality and appropriateness of the knowledge mobilization plan and its focus on public education, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (30%):
    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs, including community products of the applicant / project director and any co-directors or co-applicants, relative to their role in the partnership and to the stage of their 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 media), and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.;
    • quality and quantity of past contributions to the training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel; and
    • demonstration of postsecondary community contributions, such as incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems, language, culture and experiences into postsecondary institutions, including through the creation of associated programs.

Final selection for funding will be made by the NCTR, from the recommended merit-reviewed applications, to establish a balanced network based on the variety offered by those applications. A balanced network should reflect, but is not limited to, the following objectives:

  • covering multiple subject areas;
  • covering multiple Canadian geographical regions;
  • reaching a wide range of communities, including First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit; and
  • advancing reconciliation in Canada as expressed in the NCTR’s mandate.

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.

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

Research offices will be informed of their applicants’ competition results via SSHRC’s secure site. All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the adjudication committee’s evaluation of their proposal.

Regulations, policies and related information

NCTR personnel with responsibility for management of this initiative will be given access to relevant application material for purposes consistent with administrative or merit review processes, as required. Aside from information publicly available (e.g., list of award holders, administrative organizations, value of SSHRC's grants, title and keywords of projects), SSHRC will not share with the NCTR any information pertaining to applications submitted to SSHRC without the consent of SSHRC applicants or award holders.

Therefore, by submitting an application to this funding opportunity, applicants agree to their application content being shared with the NCTR for the purposes stated here.

The NCTR and SSHRC reserve 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. SSHRC also encourages researchers to manage data arising from their research, in accordance with the community standards and best practices (including the FAIR principles of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).

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.

The decisions pertaining to applicant, subject matter and program eligibility are final.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

  • Project coordinator/manager positions are an eligible expense, with three restrictions:
    • an individual cannot be a participant on the grant;
    • an individual cannot be paid for administrative services that the institution normally provides; and
    • an individual cannot be paid to conduct research activities.
  • Not-for-profit organizations can request a salary research allowance to cover up to 50% of the annual salary of an employee who is being temporarily replaced because they will be devoting their time as an applicant / project director, co-director or co-applicant.
  • 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.
  • As outlined in the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration, grant funds can be used to hire research support personnel (students, trainees, research assistants, etc.) to work on the research activities, provided that the directive on employment and compensation expenditures is met and that the hiring is in accordance with the organization’s (administering institution’s) policies and processes. Individuals employed to work on funded research/activities are not considered employees of SSHRC and can be compensated via salary or stipend from the grant funds. If employment includes provision of compensation benefits, the organization’s (administering institution’s) share of the costs of mandated compensation benefits is eligible for reimbursement from grant funds. Subject to the restrictions identified in the directive above, individuals employed and compensated by another organization for the time spent on the funded research/activities cannot be compensated from grant funds. In addition, SSHRC grant funds must not be used to pay compensation to grant recipients or individuals who conduct research independently (including but not limited to the applicant / project director, co-directors, co-applicants and collaborators) as part of the terms and conditions of their employment.

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:

Toll-free: 1-855-275-2861

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