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Annual SSHRC Leaders Meeting, December 2016

Executive Summary

On December 1 and 2, 2016 SSHRC held its ninth annual SSHRC Leaders meeting at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. The event was attended by 57 Leaders representing institutions across Canada.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Following the welcome and opening remarks from Ursula Gobel, associate vice-president, Future Challenges, Ted Hewitt, SSHRC president, provided highlights of work undertaken to make progress on SSHRC’s key strategic priorities and to support the research community.

During a dedicated session with SSHRC Leaders and the executive team, a range of topics were discussed, including the Canadian Common CV (CCV); the research portal; funding opportunities; funding for universities from the Research Support Fund; international opportunities for emerging scholars; and research creation funding.

Data Management and the needs of researchers were discussed in the context of two presentations. Jeff Moon, data librarian, academic director, Queen’s University Research Data Centre, presented an overview of the survey results into research data practices and needs among social sciences and humanities researchers. Mark Leggott, executive director, Research Data Centre, highlighted the importance of on-going dialogue with researchers regarding research data management. The latter also discussed his support of efforts by Research Data Canada for a national data service; over the next 6-8 months, they will be working with stakeholders, including the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure (LCDI), to define and build a national research data ecosystem.

Roundtable discussions and a plenary session followed the presentations where participants discussed three questions, focussing on capacity, training and skills, and culture. Dialogue concerning what counts as “data”, what should be shared and what should be exempt, will be critical as researchers move forward.

An update on SSHRC’s programs and competitions included four presentations:

  • report on competitions,
  • update on research grants (Insight grants evaluation outcomes, new funding opportunities for Insight grant and Partnership grants, and SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) and Aid to Small Universities (ASU) merger),
  • results of the Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) program evaluation with regards to support to students, and
  • meta-analysis of the Scholarship/Fellowship evaluation with regards to support for students.

A panel of three SSHCR Leaders, from York University, University of Regina, and Memorial University of Newfoundland, presented an overview of activities at their respective institutions related to Aboriginal Research and Reconciliation. The Leader from Mount Royal University also outlined the institution’s new indigenous strategic plan.

Concurrent sessions featuring round table discussions on one of two topics were offered:  a) Undergraduate Research and b) Future of the PhD. The importance of the undergraduate research support system and NSERC’s approach with the Undergraduate Student Research Awards’ approach were noted.

The Honorable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, addressed the SSHRC Leaders before the evening reception. The Minister reiterated the importance of social science and humanities research and answered questions related to Canada’s Fundamental Science Review and interdisciplinary research, among other topics of interest.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ursula Gobel, associate vice-president, Future Challenges provided a high-level overview of the new framework approved by SSHRC’s governing council to address the next generation of the Imagining Canada Future (2.0) initiative. This framework consists of three pillars of foresight activity: the monitoring of long-term future societal trends, connecting research on issues in the public interest, notably with a focus on public policy, and identifying future trends in research and scholarship. She also highlighted key activities for 2017 being undertaken to address the current six future challenge areas.

Christine Tausig Ford, interim executive director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences provided an updated on the Federation’s activities and the search for a new executive director. Mention was made of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, to be held at Ryerson University in the spring of 2017 (May 27 to June 2).

Leaders participated in a series of World Café sessions, rotating between topics related to SSHRC programs, policies and strategic initiatives:

  • open discussion on plans for celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary;
  • interdisciplinary research; proposal for changes to health research and implications for eligibility (two topics);
  • new “Engage Stream” for Partnerships;
  • two streams for Insight Grants; merger of SIG and ASU (two topics); and
  • review of SSCHC’s doctoral programs.

The meeting concluded with a summary of key messages and takeaways.