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Final Five SSHRC Storytellers selected

Winning students to share research stories at Impact Awards

SSHRC’s Top 25 Storytellers finalists took the stage to present their research stories in a special event at the 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted by Brock University. In front of a live audience at the Storytellers Showcase, the Top 25 shared inspiring stories on key societal issues—from big data and immigration to aging, education, foster care and genetically modified foods. A panel of expert communicators judged the presentations, selecting the Final Five student winners:


Robin MacEwan Carleton University
Michael Muthukrishna The University of British Columbia
James O’Callaghan McGill University
Vineeth Sekharan York University
Marylynn Steckley Western University

As winners of the contest, the Final Five received an invitation to deliver their presentations before a VIP audience at SSHRC’s 2014 Impact Awards ceremony, taking place this fall in Ottawa.

“The Storytellers challenge shines a spotlight on Canada's brightest, most creative young minds,” said Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. “These students represent Canada’s next generation of leaders and communicators, and their stories have inspired us all. If these students are any indication, the future is bright for Canadian research and for the social sciences and humanities.”

Judging the Showcase were Shari Graydon, author, journalist and founder of Informed Opinions; Antonia Maioni, president of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Pierre Normand, Vice-President, External Relations and Communications at the Canada Foundation for Innovation; and Bruce Wallace, editor of Policy Options magazine and former foreign editor for the Los Angeles Times.

SSHRC launched the second annual Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers challenge in November 2013. We asked postsecondary students from across Canada to show the world how the very best ideas in the social sciences and humanities—research about people, behaviour, human thought and culture—are helping us understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future.

Students from across Canada rose to the challenge, with submissions up more than 70 per cent from last year’s inaugural contest. They submitted their most compelling story pitches describing an innovative, SSHRC‑funded research project being carried out at their institution. A jury selected the Top 25 from among nearly 150 entries, which included video, audio, infographic and text‑based stories.

Earlier at Congress, the Top 25 took part in an exclusive research communications workshop with veteran research communicators Graydon and Normand

Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers highlights the valuable research being done at postsecondary institutions across Canada, and encourages young scholars to find new and inventive ways to connect research and researchers with a broader audience.

The bios and original submissions of the Top 25 Storytellers can be viewed in the Storytellers section of the SSHRC website, and on our YouTube channel. Follow us on the Facebook and Twitter (#SSHRCStorytellers) to keep track of the Final Five as they bring their research stories to Ottawa this fall.