On May 5, 2015, SSHRC hosted the start-up workshop for the first in a series of Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions linked to the Imagining Canada’s Future initiative.
The Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions on future challenges areas are key to SSHRC achieving the broader goals of the Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. This initiative seeks to position the social sciences and humanities as essential in addressing complex societal challenges facing Canadians, to the greater benefit of Canada and the world.
The day-long workshop focused on the future challenge area “What new ways of learning, particularly in higher education, will Canadians need to thrive in an evolving society and labour market?”
The event brought together 60 participants, including the 20 Knowledge Synthesis Grant award holders; representatives from government, industry, academia, not-for-profit and community sectors; and SSHRC staff. The funded projects span the scope of themes identified in the funding opportunity description.
Project overviews addressed topics ranging from experiential learning and the needs of Aboriginal learners, to digital literacy skills, STEM curriculum and the development of soft skills, among others.
Workshop discussions focussed on a number of themes, including emerging trends and implications for policy and teaching, among other areas. An intersectoral panel shed light on research, training and labour market needs, with panelists including Marie Audette, president, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies; John Baker, president and CEO, Desire2Learn and member of SSHRC’s governing council; Don Klinger, president, Canadian Society for the Study of Education; and Jonathan Will, director general of economic policy at Employment and Social Development Canada.
One researcher summed up the event this way:
“The opportunity to collaborate, exchange and build on knowledge with colleagues from across the country allows for richer analysis for our own initiatives and opportunities for future partnerships within and across sectors.”
Knowledge Synthesis Grant award holders will submit their final reports in October 2015. All participants will be invited to SSHRC’s next annual Imagining Canada’s Future Forum, November 16, 2015. There, they will present results and continue to engage with representatives from various sectors.
SSHRC will, over the next three years, hold five more Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions related to the five other future challenge areas.
The next call for proposals will be launched in early June 2015 and will address the challenge area “What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?”