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From Granting Council to Knowledge Council: Renewing the social sciences and humanities in Canada January 2004. Part I: Who We Are: Facts and Figures. SSHRC’s Mandate. Promote and support research and research training in the social sciences and humanities

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From Granting Council toKnowledge Council:Renewing the social sciencesand humanities in CanadaJanuary 2004

Part i who we are facts and figures
Part I: Who We Are: Facts and Figures

Sshrc s mandate
SSHRC’s Mandate

  • Promote and support research and research training in the social sciences and humanities

  • Provide advice to the Minister of Industry

Sshrc s programs

Research Base

Standard Research Grants (SRG)

Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI)


Initiative on the New Economy (INE)

Strategic Themes

Joint Initiatives

Research Development Initiatives (RDI)

Community-University Research Alliances (CURA)

SSHRC’s Programs


  • Doctoral Fellowships

  • Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS)

    • Master’s component

    • PhD component

Research Communication

and Institutions

  • Conferences and Congresses

  • Research and Transfer Journals

  • SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG)

  • Aid to Small Universities (ASU)

  • Aid to Scholarly Publications

Sshrc s base budget 2003 04 197m
SSHRC’s Base Budget, 2003-04 = $197M*

*Excludes Canada Research Chairs program and Indirect costs program

A huge peer review machinery
A huge peer review machinery:

  • Over 3500 research submissions/year (not incl. fellowships)

  • Over 3000 applications for Ph.D. support

  • 500 applications for post-docs

  • 9000 external assessors

  • 40 adjudication committees

  • 300 committee members

A growing human sciences community
A growing human sciences community:

  • Faculty – There are 18,000 full-time social sciences and humanities faculty in more than 90 Canadian universities. 54% of all faculty is in the human sciences.

  • Graduate students – 39,800 (or 58%) of all Canadian full-time graduate students are in the social sciences and humanities.

  • Serious increase expected -- Consensus on rising university enrolment at all levels; number of faculty also growing tremendously (21,600 faculty needed just in human sciences).


  • Team work, networking

  • Problem-oriented interdisciplinary research

  • Partnerships with clients (communities, governments)

  • Greater involvement of students in research

  • Development of collective tools

  • Digitization: transforming how we do research

Serving new communities
Serving new communities:

  • In last 5 years, SSHRC has opened up some programs to researchers in community and not-for-profit organizations.

  • Very high demand for SSHRC’s program for research in fine arts disciplines.

  • New joint initiatives developed and funded by SSHRC and other organizations (including government departments) in support of targeted research.

  • New support for Aboriginal research agenda, with active participation of Aboriginal researchers and experts.

New world new needs
New world, New needs

Forces of change include:

  • A radically new world

  • A new research environment

  • A new university landscape

Huge demand for human sciences knowledge
Huge demand for human sciences knowledge:

  • Need to understand world trends

  • Need to understand new problems (e.g. new economic disparities, governance and ethics challenges, socio-political, ethnic and cultural fault lines)

  • Need for HS knowledge on every vital policy issue (e.g. restructuring of the labour force; sustainable development linguistic duality; First Nations).

Huge pressures on sshrc
Huge pressures on SSHRC

  • Applications to SSHRC’s key Standard Research Grants program rose 44% over last 5 years. This year’s growth is over 18%.

  • SSHRC now supports around 25 per cent of faculty members in human sciences, up from 15 per cent five years ago.

  • Recurring problem of projects that are approved but not funded; larger proportion of those in smaller universities.

  • Growing demand for SSHRC to bridge with government.

Sshrc s core values
SSHRC’s core values:

  • Research excellence

  • Competitive funding

  • Inclusiveness and openness

  • Innovative continuity

  • Accountability

Transformation reaching beyond
Transformation: reaching beyond

2 additional core values for SSHRC:

  • Interactive engagement

  • Maximum knowledge impact

Sustained interactive connection from this
Sustained interactive connection: From this…

  • geographically scattered research effort

  • disciplinary silos

  • disconnected from use

  • fragmented knowledge-building

  • Isolated research agendas

Sustained interactive connection to this
Sustained interactive connection: To this…

  • ongoing connections across geography, institutions, and sectors

  • integrated across disciplines

  • integrated with decision-making, policy and practice

  • synergistic research agendas

  • fully connected to the world

Key questions inventing new structures programs approaches
Key questions: Inventing new structures/programs/ approaches

  • “Confederations of learning”

  • More formal Institutes

  • Knowledge mobilization units in universities

  • Web-facilitated communities of practice

  • A clearinghouse for advanced expertise

  • Exchange/mobility programs

  • Enriched and connected post-secondary training environments

  • A Human Sciences Foundation

  • Scholarly-based journals for lay audiences

Key questions improving current sshrc programs
Key questions: Improving current SSHRC programs approaches

  • Smaller “operating” grants to more people?

  • Larger “research” grants to fewer people?

  • Special support for young scholars?

  • Promote greater relevance, synergy and impact of strategic grants?

  • Different/new support for research communications?

  • New or different support to institutions?

  • Development of more collective tools for research?

Targeted approaches

Initiative on the New Economy

Major Collaborative Research Initiatives







Research Communication

Institutional Capacity-building



Policy-relevant institutes approaches

Confederations of Learning

Institute on aboriginals

Knowledge mobilization

Research support


Research training

Clearinghouse for expertise

Institute on sustainable development

Institute on the new economy



SSHRC Tomorrow

Questions for discussion
Questions for discussion approaches

  • Basic goals and values: To what extent does the new vision resonate with your sense of what Canada requires? How engage proactively?

  • New programs and approaches: Advantages and disadvantages of proposed adaptive structures? Alternatives?

  • Improving current programs: Reactions and priorities?

  • Increasing linkages and knowledge flows outside universities: Best partners? Respective roles of SSHRC, universities, disciplines, NGOs, government departments…?

  • Next steps: Which new structures first? And sequence and priorities thereafter?

How did we get here
How did we get here? approaches

  • Phase I (Oct.-April 2003): decision to act

  • Phase 2 (May-Sept. 2003): taking stock of political constraints

  • Phase 3 (Oct.-Dec. 2003): SSHRC Council takes action

  • Phase 4 (Jan. 2004): Deliberative consultation

The transformation process
The transformation process: approaches

  • January: SSHRC meeting with campus representatives

  • February-April: Consultation on university campuses and with partners

  • March: National meeting – heads of scholarly associations

  • June: Open meeting - Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Then… synthesis, Council discussion, over to the government

Key messages
Key messages approaches

  • A real consultation

  • Not a zero-sum game

  • Need external voices

  • A culture change

  • Speak with one voice

  • We are building a success