Imagining Canada’s Future

Imagining Canada's Future

More than ever, society is looking to the social sciences and humanities to help understand and mitigate global challenges in the face of change. SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative mobilizes social sciences and humanities research to address emerging economic, societal and knowledge needs for Canada, and help guide decision-making across all sectors towards a better future.


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Future Challenge Areas

Future Challenge Areas: 2018-21

SSHRC partnered with Policy Horizons Canada on a comprehensive horizon scanning exercise to identify 16 future global challenges that may have a major impact on Canada in the next decade. These global challenges, such as living within the Earth’s carrying capacity, working in a digital economy, the evolving bio-age, or the erosion of culture and history, have the potential to shape society in significant ways. All the challenges cross multiple sectors and research disciplines and require broad collaboration to address.

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Future Challenge Areas: 2014-18

Following an extensive foresight exercise that began in 2012, six key future challenges were addressed throughout 2014-18. Each included a range of possible—yet, not exclusive—issues and subquestions that explore the complexity of the respective issue.

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How can you contribute to Canada’s future?

SSHRC invites all applicants to review the 16 future challenges and to consider addressing one or more of them in the research proposals they submit to funding opportunities under SSHRC’s TalentInsight or Connection programs.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants

SSHRC will hold Knowledge Synthesis Grants funding opportunities to address a number of these future challenges. Further information on these funding opportunities as well as other activities will be made available throughout the year. For more information, visit the Future challenge areas page, check out latest news or connect with the Future Challenges Directorate

Collaborate with SSHRC

Engaging with our community and stakeholders enables excellence in research and talent, and in partnerships that inform decision-making across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. As such, SSHRC invites leaders from these sectors to consider whether one or more of the global challenges might offer an opportunity for collaborations.

For more information on collaborating with SSHRC, contact the Future Challenges Directorate.

To explore how to connect your organization, department, or business with SSHRC-funded research experts from across Canada, consult SSHRC’s Awards Search Engine

See some of SSHRC’s recent collaborations


Living Within the Earth’s Carrying Capacity

SSHRC, with support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, has launched this Knowledge Synthesis Grants competition aimed at examining ways to adapt to living within the Earth’s carrying capacity, which is considered one of humanity’s most important challenges.

Informing Best Practices in Environmental and Impact Assessment

SSHRC and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency have launched this Knowledge Synthesis Grants competition to stimulate social science and humanities research that will help inform best practices related to environmental and impact assessment.

International Policy Ideas Challenge 2019

Global Affairs Canada and SSHRC invite Canadian graduate students and early career researchers to submit their best ideas and solutions for Canada's international policy challenges.