Open Access Government investigate the 2022 priorities of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada
Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its talent, insight and connection programmes, and through partnerships and collaborations, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world.
Engagement, particularly at a local community level is a key priority for SSHRC. As societies today increase their expectations about how the social sciences and humanities can contribute to economic, cultural, social, technological, environmental and intellectual well- being, SSHRC remains ever committed to engaging its stakeholder communities and demonstrating that the research it supports leads to benefits for all Canadians, whoever they may be.
Through striving for engagement, SSHRC fosters interchange with and among key audiences on university and college campuses, in communities, and across public, private and non-governmental organ- isations, to enhance informed decision-making on SSHRC programmes, policies and directions. Further- more, research will benefit from the lived experiences of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.
The SSHRC Strategic Plan 2020-25 focuses on five strategic objectives that reflect SSHRC’s enduring mission and mandate. For each objective, a set of strategies have been established to help sustain the momentum of ongoing programmes and initiatives, respond rapidly to evolving crises, and maximise the overall impact of the research and talent that the Council support. The five priorities of the plan are outlined below.
Enhancing Canada’s global leadership in social sciences and humanities research will be done by:
- Advancing equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Strengthening Indigenous research capacity.
- Enabling interdisciplinary and international research collaborations.
Growing Canada’s research talent can be achieved through:
- Preparing students for future success in research.
- Increasing early career researcher opportunities and training.
- Developing skills in communication and knowledge mobilisation.
Strengthening the research enterprise in Canada by building an inclusive research community, strengthening research ecosystems at postsecondary institutions and promoting open science and stewardship of research data.
Combatting global challenges
SSHRC aims to contribute innovative solutions to global challenges and opportunities, which can be achieved by:
- Designing and implementing focused research support.
- Sharing research and demonstrating its value.
Building a nimble, forward-facing SSHRC organisation is vital to the strategy. By investing in the workforce and workplace, and modernising existing operations, SSHRC will be at the forefront of progress and innovation.
The Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative
The recent launch of the new Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative supports partnership research to inform actions when addressing disparities related to race, gender and other forms of diversity. Launched in August 2021, the initiative boasts a federal budget investment of $12 million over three years, which will fund research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups, with grants valued at up to $450,000 throughout 2022 and beyond.
Furthermore, this initiative will support community- based and community-led research, that is based on the lived experiences of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, including but not limited to:
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
- Black, Asian and other racialised peoples.
- People living with disabilities (both visible and invisible).
- LGBTQ2+ people.
- Religious minorities.
- Others marginalised because of their ethnicity and other identity factors.
- Any individuals who identify as, or belong to, more than one of these groups.
The research project funding will be awarded competitively, through a merit review process, by a diverse, multidisciplinary and multisectoral adjudication committee of external experts with both research and lived experience.
“As societies today increase their expectations about how the social sciences and humanities can contribute to economic, cultural, social, technological, environmental and intellectual well-being, SSHRC remains ever committed to engaging its stakeholder communities and demonstrating that the research it supports leads to benefits for all Canadians, whoever they may be.”
Furthermore, at the end of 2021, the SSHRC announced a partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund more projects under the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative. CIHR will provide support to social sciences and humanities projects on the themes of race, gender and diversity that include a focus on health. To contribute to this initiative, CIHR will join SSHRC to co-fund up to 16 social sciences and humanities projects with a focus on various health research areas, representing a total of $3.6 million over three years.
It is clear to see that SSHRC is committed to uplifting and including marginalised members of Canada’s communities through the Strategic Plan and the Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative. Connecting with society is vital to achieving the goals of training the next generation of talented, creative thinkers and doers; building knowledge and understanding about people, cultures and societies; and driving the innovations that address the challenges of today and tomorrow.