Canada’s Top Research Storytellers Announced in Unique SSHRC Communications Challenge

SSHRC is pleased to announce the Top 25 finalists in the 2014 Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers challenge. The top entries addressed key societal issues—from big data and immigration, to aging, education, foster care and genetically modified foods—highlighting how research in the social sciences and humanities helps us understand and improve the world around us.

SSHRC launched the second annual challenge last November, asking postsecondary students from across the country to demonstrate—in three minutes or 300 words—how a SSHRC-funded research project at their institution is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

“With the Storytellers campaign, we recognize and promote excellence in research communication, and celebrate Canada’s next generation of researchers and leaders,” said Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. “The 25 finalists announced today, through their compelling stories, demonstrate how research in the social sciences and humanities generates insights into people and human behaviour, contributes to social innovation and helps to build a better future for us all. Congratulations to all those who entered this year’s Storytellers challenge. Your stories are truly inspiring.”

This spring, a jury of communications experts selected the Top 25 finalists from among nearly 150 strong entries. “Helping people explain what they do is a key part of research today,” said CBC journalist and 2014 Storytellers judge Sandra Abma. “Those are the skills that the SSHRC Storytellers challenge promotes and rewards.”

“The Storytellers is about youth engagement,” said 2014 Storytellers judge Jennifer Corriero, executive director of TakingITGlobal. “For many of these young people, communicating research will act as a catalyst for forging important relationships and future partnerships around the globe.”

The Top 25 finalists, representing 12 postsecondary institutions, are:

Klara Abdi The University of British Columbia
Audrey-Kristel Barbeau McGill University
Hazel Hollingdale The University of British Columbia
Jessica Jacobson-Konefall Queen’s University
Ryan Katz-Rosene Carleton University
Katarina Kuruc Carleton University
Robin MacEwan Carleton University
Alanna Mager Ryerson University
Daniel Manson The University of British Columbia
Justin Mathews Queen’s University
Annie McEwen Carleton University
Luseadra McKerracher Simon Fraser University
Michael Muthukrishna The University of British Columbia
Myriam Nafte McMaster University
James O'Callaghan McGill University
Bernadette Perry University of Victoria
Kelly Pickerill Dalhousie University
Vineeth Sekharan York University
Alison Smith Université de Montréal
Marylynn Steckley Western University
Matthew Stork McMaster University
Ashley Vesely Western University
Genevieve von Petzinger University of Victoria
Bryce Westlake Simon Fraser University
Maria Zakharova Simon Fraser University

These Top 25 receive a prize of $3,000, registration and accommodation at the Congress 2014 of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Congress) at Brock University (provided by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), and an invitation to participate in an exclusive research communications workshop at Congress.

They will also participate in The Storytellers Showcase, where they will compete to become one of the Final Five Storytellers. The Final Five will give a featured presentation to a VIP audience at SSHRC’s 2014 Impact Awards ceremony in Ottawa in the fall.

On April 8, SSHRC will begin a series of “Storyteller Tuesdays,” profiling five finalists each week, via the SSHRC website, social media and the SSHRC YouTube channel.

Follow SSHRC’s Twitter feed and the #SSHRCStorytellers hashtag to find out more about the campaign in the lead-up to Storytellers Showcase at Congress 2014.