COVID-19: Impacts on SSHRC's policies and programs

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Perspectives on COVID-19

Perspectives on COVID-19

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Important information

General information

COVID-19 exceptions to tri-agency post-award regulations for trainees
updated: June 20, 2022

Training award recipients (master's, doctoral and postdoctoral) may defer the start date of their award, or request an unpaid interruption, normally in four-month increments, for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For master’s and doctoral award holders, this can be adjusted to align with the next available start date (September 1, 2022, or January 1, 2023).

The agencies will continue to support training award holders who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, can only devote part-time hours to their research. They may continue to hold their awards and will be paid at the full amount. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.

For the period where travel is significantly limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, training award recipients may choose to hold their award remotely while pursuing their research training, so long as the following conditions are met:

  • Students must be registered at the host institution during the period when travel restrictions / institution closures are in place. Postdoctoral fellows must be actively engaged in research.
  • This arrangement must have the support of the supervisor.
Transcripts for the fall 2022 scholarships and fellowships competitions
updated: June 20, 2022

Canada’s three granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)—acknowledge that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some institutions to provide applicants with official and up-to-date transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions which do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. Therefore, for the fall 2022 scholarships and fellowships competitions, the agencies will continue to accept unofficial transcripts if official transcripts cannot be obtained.

Applicants should contact their faculty of graduate studies to determine whether an official transcript can be provided. Submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that the applicant has provided true, complete, and accurate information in the application and its related documents.

Financial reporting
updated: February 24, 2022

The deadline for submitting financial reporting (Forms 300 and 301) for the 2021-22 (April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022) Annual Reconciliation of Active Awards has been postponed until September 30, 2022. This applies for SSHRC and the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Research training award holders and proof of vaccination exemption
updated: December 13, 2021

Vaccine exemption/accommodation requests must be approved by the host institution based on their COVID-19 policies. With this approval, the current tri-agency policies apply and the award holder can:

  • defer the start date of their award;
  • request an unpaid interruption of their award; and
  • work remotely.
Grant extensions
updated: March 15, 2021

SSHRC recognizes that agency-funded research activities may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic institutions can immediately approve extension requests of up to 12 months to agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, inclusively. Researchers should contact their institutions to request an extension. This provision applies to all grants, regardless of whether they previously extended for any length for any reason (including, where applicable, automatic extensions). It will have no impact for applications awarded in the fall 2020 competitions.This provision will allow grantees to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grant funds (as per the Guidelines for the General Research Fund). Institutions are to keep complete and accurate records on the grants being extended. Information will soon be available on how institutions can notify SSHRC of the details of these extensions.

For Insight Development Grants

Update: July 8, 2020 As the end date for Insight Development Grants (IDG) is May 31, effective immediately, the eligibility window for this grant extension has been expanded to include IDG grants ending on May 31, 2021 (including the one-year automatic extension, where applicable). This additional extension is for IDG recipients only.

Expense reimbursement for adjudication committee members
updated: October 14, 2020

Due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, adjudication committee meetings in the 2020-21 fiscal year for all SSHRC programs, including tri-agency programs that SSHRC manages, will be conducted by video or teleconference.

SSHRC recognizes that the virtual merit review process may result in costs for merit reviewers that would not normally be incurred during face-to-face meetings. SSHRC also continues to recognize the valuable contributions of everyone who lends their time and expertise to the merit review process each year.

With this in mind, SSHRC has approved the following temporary measures for non-federal-public-servant committee members who participate in virtual adjudication meetings, effective October 1, 2020:

  • reimbursement of dependent care costs (child care, elder care, care for family members with differing abilities):
    • up to $100 per dependent, per day, with a declaration for dependent care and receipts for services provided by an individual or company in the business of providing dependent care services; or
    • $50 per household, per day, with only a declaration for dependent care; and
  • reimbursement of incremental technology and other miscellaneous costs through a $50 allowance per day or half-day of participation in the adjudication process.

SSHRC continues to monitor restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will reassess these measures in the future.

Support for students, trainees and research support personnel funded through SSHRC research grants
updated: August 5, 2020

As a follow up to the notice on June 4 that announced additional funding to support trainees (students and postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel, please read the update for additional information on the supplements.

SSHRC Extranet for Applicants
updated: April 29, 2020

Due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SSHRC has put in place a new process to communicate results to applicants. This includes a new platform: the SSHRC Extranet for Applicants. This secure site will allow applicants to access the results of their SSHRC funding applications. Applicants will receive, via email, information on how to activate their account on the site. Once the result documents have been uploaded, applicants will receive a subsequent email inviting them to view the results.

Funding ongoing and incremental costs of research activities during the COVID-19 pandemic updated: April 21, 2020

Given the ever-evolving circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC recognize that grant recipients and/or research team members may continue to incur ongoing research costs, as well as incremental costs that would not normally be incurred (for example, compensation and travel) related to agency-funded research activities. The agencies would like to remain as flexible as possible to support grant recipients during this time and acknowledge that some of these costs may be eligible to be paid from agency grant funds. The agencies will therefore defer to administering institutions to determine if incremental costs are consistent with the principles and directives set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (and if they are, then those expenses will still be eligible to be paid from grant funds).

The agencies also understand that not all planned research activities are possible as research institutions are closed requiring that the majority of people work remotely, if they are able to work at all. The agencies consider that continuing to pay any members of the research team, eligible to be paid from an agency grant, is an eligible expense in the context of COVID-19 (and that these individuals should continue to be paid).

Travel and travel cancellations

SSHRC recognizes that in addition to the costs of cancelled travel plans as described in an earlier tri-agency statement, researchers and/or members of their teams may incur other non-refundable expenses due to cancelled travel and/or meetings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided the expenses would have been eligible had the travel/meeting taken place as planned, these non-refundable costs can be reimbursed out of existing grant funds.

Other exceptional expenditures

SSHRC recognizes that in some cases, other costs may be incurred related to ongoing financial commitments, such as salaries or stipends of individuals paid out of agency grants. For example, one of these individuals may be required to self-isolate and/or unable to work or telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SSHRC confirms these costs can be paid from existing grant funds, provided they are not covered by other sources of funds from within the institution and these expenses would have otherwise been eligible to be paid out of the grant.

Remote adjudication

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related inter-intraprovincial and international travel restrictions, all remaining SSHRC adjudication meetings for fiscal year 2020-21 will be held remotely by video-conference rather than as traditional in-person meetings.

The actual peer review methodology will not change, and SSHRC has returned to its regular process for providing feedback to applicants. SSHRC awards funding through a rigorous and independent merit review process accessible to all disciplines, areas and approaches in the social sciences and humanities. The process is designed to ensure the highest standards of excellence and impartiality.

As of October 1, 2020, committee members who participate in virtual adjudication meetings can be reimbursed for dependent care costs (e.g., child care, elder care, care for family members with differing abilities):

  • up to $100 per dependent, per day, with a declaration for dependent care and receipts for services provided by an individual or company in the business of providing dependent care services; or
  • $50 per household, per day, with only a declaration for dependent care.

Members can also be reimbursed for incremental technology and other miscellaneous costs through a $50 allowance per day or half-day of participation in the adjudication process.

If the COVID pandemic situation continues beyond the end of this fiscal year, the same approach may be used for funding opportunities in 2021-22.

SSHRC programs

Aid to Scholarly Journals

There are no changes to program deadlines at this time.

Connection Grants
updated: December 9, 2020

For the November 2020 competition, the adjudication process will proceed as planned.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants: Skills and Work in the Digital Economy
updated: July 15, 2020

The deadline for applications is September 3, 2020. Application and adjudication processes will proceed as planned.

Healthy Cities Research Training Platform—2nd Stage
updated: November 2, 2020

February 18, 2021 is the new deadline for submitting the full applications.

Horizon 2020 Migration Call
updated: July 20, 2020

There are no changes to funding opportunity deadlines at this time.

Insight Development Grants
updated: July 17, 2020

To respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s research community, specifically on emerging scholars, SSHRC has introduced the following changes in the 2021 Insight Development Grants application.

  • In the detailed description section, applicants can include a contingency plan to address the potential impacts of COVID-19 on their proposed research. This option applies to both emerging and established scholars.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 on emerging scholars can be included in the calculation of the emerging scholar status in the Scholar Type section. COVID-19 has been included in the list of possible career interruptions. If applicable, the impacts of COVID-19 will be considered along with other factors identified by the applicant to determine if they are an emerging scholar.

In addition, both emerging and established scholars can indicate the impact of COVID-19 on their research in the Canadian Common CV (CCV). This can be included in the CCV’s Leaves of Absence and Impact on Research section.

It is not mandatory to provide information on the impacts of COVID-19 on research plans or careers. However, applicants are encouraged to include it if they deem it necessary or they anticipate there will be a significant impact. If an applicant indicates if their research plans are significantly disrupted (e.g., if international travel is not possible), this may help the merit review committee in assessing the feasibility of the applicant’s proposal. Information on contingency plans will be assessed under the Feasibility criterion, and career interruptions under the Capability criterion.

International Policy Ideas Challenge 2020
updated: April 7, 2020

The application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2020.

Joint initiatives and supplements for the Talent Program

Application and adjudication processes will proceed as planned.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants: Living Within the Earth's Carrying Capacity

The adjudication process is proceeding as planned and results will be announced to institutions by the end of March 2020. There may be some delays in providing results packages, including assessment forms, to individual applicants.

Open Research Area 6
updated: December 9, 2020

The Open Research Area 6 competition was finalized as planned. Institutions received Notices of Decision on October 29, 2020, and funds were disbursed. The results packages were provided to individual applicants.

Partnership Engage Grants
updated: December 22, 2020

The September 2020 competition was completed as planned. Institutions will receive the Notices of Decision in early January 2021, and funds will be disbursed shortly afterward. There may be some delays in providing results packages to individual applicants.

Partnership Development Grants
updated: December 9, 2020

For the 2020 competition, the adjudication process will proceed as planned.

SSHRC Impact Awards
updated: March 27, 2020

The deadline for nominations has been extended to Friday, May 1, 2020. We expect a minor delay to the adjudication process and the release of results.

SSHRC Institutional Grants
updated: October 8, 2020

Given increased administrative pressure caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) funding opportunity has been postponed until December 2021. Instead, current institutional grant holders will receive a one-year extension at their current funding level. As a result of this decision, we will not grant any further extensions requested as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on active SIG grants at this time. SSHRC will reach out to each institution with SIG awards to confirm their extension and provide additional information. Information about the 2022 SIG program, application deadline and instructions will be available on SSHRC’s website in early October 2021. Please send any questions to

Tri-agency programs

Canada 150 Research Chairs Program
updated: May 12, 2022

The deadline for submittingannual progress reports has been moved to September 30, 2022.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program
updated: May 12, 2022

The deadline for submittingannual progress reports has been moved to September 30, 2022.

Canada First Research Excellence Fund
updated: May 12, 2022

The deadline for submittingannual progress reports has been moved to September 30, 2022.

Canada Graduate Scholarships Program—Michael Smith Foreign Studies Supplements
updated: June 15, 2020

For reasons related to COVID-19, recipients of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) can defer their travel abroad beyond the one-year deadline from receiving the notice of award, provided they still hold an active CGS. If they no longer hold an active CGS, they can defer their travel abroad, provided they are still registered at the same Canadian institution.

Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP)
updated: April 22, 2021

The CRCP reverted back to a two-cycle model. The nomination deadline for the April intake was postponed to June 8, 2020, with results available in January 2021. The September and December intake cycles were combined and had a deadline of November 17, 2020, with results available in May 2021.

The program continues to accept off-cycle nominations for foreign nominees, as well as nominations that will assist institutions in meeting their equity targets.

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)
updated: April 22, 2021

The CRCEF was announced on May 15, 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The temporary emergency program was to help reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and to ensure that the benefits of significant investments in universities and health research institutions to date were protected. The program expired on March 31, 2021.

The three stages of wage support are now closed. The last stage to support research maintenance/ramp-up costs closed on December 15, 2020, and payments were issued in January 2021.

Consult the CRCEF webpage for more info.

New Frontiers in Research Fund—Exploration
updated: April 9, 2021

Recipients of awards in the 2018 and 2019 New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)—Exploration competitions continue to face interruptions to their research due to closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the extensive, ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis, top-up funds and additional 12-month extensions have been provided automatically to 2018 and 2019 grant recipients.

New Frontiers in Research Fund—International
updated: April 3, 2020

Some of the deadlines for the 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition have been extended in response to the European Union’s changes to deadlines. The deadlines listed in the table on the competition page are the current deadlines. Note that these are the deadlines for submission to the agency by the research administrators; institutions may have earlier internal deadlines. Check the 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition page regularly for updates.

New Frontiers in Research Fund—Transformation
updated: March 19, 2021

The Letter of Intent (LOI) deadline for the 2020 Transformation Competition has been extended to July 15, 2020, at 8 p.m. (eastern). This is the deadline for submission to the agency by the research administrators; institutions may have earlier internal deadlines. The full application deadline (by invitation only) has been extended to April 13, 2021.

Research Data Management Policy
updated: August 19, 2020

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC have postponed launching the Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy until further notice, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once launched, the agencies will continue to collaborate with the research community to phase in the policy requirements.

The current pandemic has illustrated the critical role that research data management plays in building a research system that reflects the FAIR principles—that data are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Many researchers, research institutions, stakeholder organizations and other groups have worked diligently during the COVID-19 pandemic to support research data management. This includes data management planning, institutional support for research data management, and data deposit and access. The agencies encourage the community to continue these efforts to further research data management in Canada and abroad.

Research Support Fund (RSF)
updated: May 7, 2021

Deadline: The 2021 deadline to submit applications is May 20, 2021.

Use of grant funds: Institutions may use their 2020-21 Research Support Fund (RSF) grant for expenses that are incurred between April 1 and June 30, 2021, and need to be deferred or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

End-of-grant period requirements: The deadline for the 2020-21 RSF grant (including Incremental Project Grants) end-of grant-period requirements has been extended until September 30, 2021. This extension is for reporting on expenses incurred in fiscal year 2020-21, including any expenses incurred under the 2020-21 grant between April 1 and June 30, 2021. The extension applies to all components of the end-of-grant-period requirements: the statement of account, outcomes report, and reporting on institutional performance objectives on the institution’s website, as applicable.

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