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SSHRC Information Session Standard Research Grant Program. Information session with Trent University Given by Stéphanie Sweetland Monday, May 4th, 2009. The Presentation Overview. What’s new at SSHRC? Standard Research Grants Program Overview How to apply Tips

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sshrc information session standard research grant program

SSHRC Information Session Standard Research Grant Program

Information session with

Trent University

Given by Stéphanie Sweetland

Monday, May 4th, 2009


The Presentation Overview

  • What’s new at SSHRC?
  • Standard Research Grants Program
    • Overview
    • How to apply
    • Tips
  • General overview of other SSHRCPrograms offered by SPJI (optional)
what s new at sshrc1
What’s New at SSHRC
  • Blue Ribbon Panel
  • Targeted research funding
    • Environment and the North
  • Strategic Review
    • RTS
    • Funding related to health research


blue ribbon panel
Blue Ribbon Panel
  • SSHRC’s peer-review process underwent a thorough evaluation by an independent, arm’s length group composed of internationally recognized experts on peer review
  • Extensive consultations were conducted with experts, in addition to a survey completed by more than 6000 researchers in the SSH community
  • Conclusion: peer review at SSHRC is up to the best practices and highest international standards
  • Nonetheless, changes were recommended, and we are working towards their implementation
  • Available online at


targeted research funding
Targeted Research Funding
  • Northern Communities: Towards Social and Economic Prosperity
    • Programs TBA (Fall 2009)
    • Jacques Critchley 613-992-5145
  • Canadian Environmental Issues
    • Programs TBA (Fall 2009)
    • Mathieu Ravignat 613-947-3724


strategic review
Strategic Review
  • A process which requires all government departments and agencies to review all program spending, and to assess how and whether these programs are aligned with core mandates, and how they are effective, efficient and meet the priorities of Canadians.
  • SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC underwent the process this past year.


results of strategic review rts
Results of Strategic Review - RTS
  • Research Time Stipends (RTS) are no longer available in any of our programs
  • Note that:
    • those RTS granted prior to April 1, 2009 will be respected
    • this decision does not affect salary replacements for non-academic participants in SSHRC-funded research projects (for example, staff in community organizations participating in CURA projects).


results of strategic review funding to health related research
Results of Strategic Review – Funding to Health Related Research
  • SSHRC funding is reduced for health-related research that is eligible under the mandate of CIHR
    • Spending reductions will apply to all SSHRC programs: research grants, knowledge mobilization and communication grants and fellowships.
    • Modification of SRG committee structure
      • Cttees 10 & 27 (Psychology 1 and 2)
      • Cttee 20 (Health studies and social work)
    • Please consult our website throughout the summer and fall for information about how our programs will be affected



Objectives of the Standard Research Grants Program

To support:

  • Programs of research
  • Training of future researchers
  • New theoretical or methodological approaches
  • Disciplinary and multidisciplinary research
  • Communication of research results both within & beyond academia


  • Funding of a Program of Research
  • Team and individual applications
  • Three-year cycle
  • Maximum $100,000 per year / $250,000 over 3 years
  • Peer-reviewed

Research Office

Notice of Intent


External Review

Committee Members

Communication of Results

Committee Adjudication

Steps of the Peer Review Process


program officers
Program Officers
  • Select committee members
  • Determine eligibility of files
  • Select external assessors
  • Coordinate committee work
  • Prepare results



External Assessors

Goal - Two Assessors per file

  • How they are chosen:
    • Suggested assessors
    • Assessors’ expertise
    • Exclusion of external assessors
    • Must adhere to conflict of interest guidelines

Committee Members

  • Overall competence and credibility; scholarly stature
  • Appropriate representation on the basis of:
    • areas of expertise
    • university size (small, medium, large)
    • geographical region (Canada and abroad)
    • language
    • Gender
    • Must adhere to conflict of interest guidelines
    • Normally serve 3 years, work for free
conflicts of interest
Conflicts of Interest
  • Conflicts of interest
    • a close friend
    • a relative
    • a research collaborator
    • an institutional colleague
    • a student previously under the applicant’s supervision
    • a person with whom the applicant is involved in a dispute
    • a person with whom the applicant is involved in a partnership


pre adjudication
Pre Adjudication
  • Teleconference
  • Assignment of Readers A & B
  • Preliminary Scores for Record of Research Achievement and Program of Research
  • Flagging of the files
flagging criteria
Flagging Criteria
  • Significant discrepancy between scores of both readers;
  • Significant discrepancy between scores and assessors’s comments;
  • Research tools;
  • No external assessment;
  • Any other issue raised by a member or program officer.


2009 adjudication in ottawa
2009 Adjudication in Ottawa
  • No discussion of files in top 15% after initial ranking unless flagged – except for budget
  • No discussion of files in bottom 35% after initial ranking unless flagged
  • Final ranking and scores


2009 standard research grants competition results
2009 Standard Research Grants Competition Results
  • 2,880 eligible applications, 941 awards (including 26 awards to new scholars in Environment and North)
  • Overall success rate of 32.7% but variation across committees
  • Average three-year award of $83,712
  • Limits placed on number of applicants on the alternate or 4A list
to consider when applying
To consider when applying
  • Eligibility
  • Committee selection



Eligibility Requirements

  • Research subject must meet SSHRC’s mandate
  • Affiliation with a Canadian post-secondary institution (no citizenship requirement)
  • Postdocs must be affiliated by April 15
  • PhD candidates in final year (file will be flagged)
  • Submission of Final Research Report

Choosing a Committee

  • Choose from the adjudication committee list
  • Membership available on line
  • Committee 15 (interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary committee)
    • Not a “catch-all” committee
    • Fully explain the inter- or multi-disciplinary nature of proposal
    • SSHRC reserves the right to determine final placement
changes in srg committees 2009 2010
Changes in SRG Committees 2009-2010
  • Quality peer review
  • Committee 24 Political Science and

Committee 2 History

    • Because of an increasingly large number of applications, there is a strong possibility that both of these committees will be split.
  • Committee 20 Health Studies and Social Work will be restructured in lieu of funding changes to health related research
  • Please consult our website for the latest information on committees and their program mandates



New Scholars vs Regular Scholars

  • Score weighting – 60/40% or 40/60%

New Scholars:

  • Must not have been awarded, as a principal investigator, a SRG, MCRI or a Strategic Grant AND
  • Must have completed highest degree less than five years OR
  • Held tenure-track position less than 5 years OR
  • Never had a tenure-track position OR
  • Had career interrupted or delayed for family reasons
career interruptions and special circumstances
Career Interruptions and Special Circumstances
  • Productivity stopped/productivity slowed
  • Personal reasons - serious health problems, death in family, maternity or parenting leave
  • Professional reasons - heavy teaching load
  • Committee discretion

Evaluation of the Record of Research Achievement

  • Contributions from last 6 years unless career was interrupted
  • Quality and significance of published work
  • Originality and impact of previous research
  • Quantity of research activity
  • Importance of other scholarly activities
  • Recentness of output and consistency of output
  • Dissemination to non-academic audiences where relevant
  • Productivity from previous grant(s)
  • Training of future researchers

Presenting your Curriculum Vitae

  • Follow the instructions re format and page limitations
  • Categorize your publications: refereed, non-refereed, etc.
  • Avoid “inflating” the CV
  • Indicate productivity from previous grants
  • Be honest and specific about forthcoming items
team applications
Team Applications
  • Applicant should demonstrate need for team and outline each person’s role
  • Each member assessed but collaborators do not factor into score
  • Applicant must be qualified; cannot rely on experience of co-applicant

Evaluation of the Program of Research

  • Originality & contribution to advancement of knowledge
  • Appropriateness of the theoretical approaches/framework
  • Appropriateness of the research strategies/methodologies
  • Quality of the literature review
  • Suitability of plans to communicate research results
  • The nature, extent and benefit of research training

Presenting your Program of Research

  • Clear and precise objectives
  • Clear theoretical framework or conceptual approach
  • Explain and justify methodology (where appropriate), establish relationship between objectives, methodology and budget
  • Define all key terms or concepts
  • Include a complete literature review
  • Append a bibliography
summary page
Summary Page
  • Clearly indicate the purpose, the objectives, the context for and potential impact of the proposed research
  • Used by committee members and for publicity purposes; think generalists!
  • Avoid jargon or technical terms


  • Reasonable and fully justified budget
  • Check Tri-Council list of eligible and ineligible expenses
  • Explain and justify costs
  • Link between research objectives and budget
characteristics of a successful application
Characteristics of a Successful Application
  • Clarity: application is well written, well organized and error free
  • Originality: application is challenging, interesting, ambitious yet feasible
  • Importance of research is clear
  • Impact it will make is stated
  • Presented confidently not boastfully
common problems
Common Problems
  • Application is “premature”
  • Seems like a fishing expedition
  • Project is too ambitious
  • Methodology is inappropriate, too vaguely described
  • Theoretical rationale is lacking
  • Project is not adequately contextualized
  • Not clear how proposed work differs from previous work


  • Prepare your proposal with the Assessors (experts ) and Committee members (possibly generalists) in mind
  • Have your grant proposal read by colleagues who have been successful in previous SRG competitions
  • Take previous committee comments into account
  • Established scholars - avoid submitting a “Trust Me” application – a strong record will not compensate for a weak program, also give evidence of consistent scholarly activity


  • Present a modest, reasonable budget (think “minimum essential funding”)
  • Avoid, whenever possible, budgeting for professional services
  • Link dissemination plans to research agenda – conferences in first year?
  • Link student training to research needs
  • Use a reasonable font size; and maintain reasonable margins
  • NOI – Notice of Intent to Apply – August 15
    • Optional & Not Binding
    • Very brief, easy to fill-out
  • Internal Deadline – check with Research Office
  • Application Deadline – October 15
    • Application available online
    • Print and send paper copy with attachments

Other SSHRC Programs & Initiatives

  • Sport Participation Research Initiative
    • SRG Application
    • SRG Category 4A list to Sport Canada