Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is a Canadian federal research-funding agency that promotes and supports post-secondary research and training in the humanities and social sciences.[1] It is one of three major federal granting agencies (the others being the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Canadian Institutes for Health Research) that together are referred to as "the tri-council".


Created by an act of the Parliament of Canada in 1977, SSHRC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.


SSHRC creates policy, plans budgets, and directs priorities through a council established by the federal government. The appointed members are a mix of academics and representatives from industry. They have the role of advising the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on research policy in the areas of research and scholarship in the social sciences and humanities, with the goal of representing the interests of academic, public and private sectors. [2]

Council committees[3] create and oversee SSHRC's programs, determine the distribution of funds and handles the strategies for enacting the councils policies.


SSHRC funding opportunities[4] are available through three programs: Talent, Insight and Connection.

Talent program

The goal of the Talent program[5] is to support students and postdoctoral fellows in order to develop the next generation of researchers and leaders across society, both within academia and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

The Talent program promotes the acquisition of research skills, and assists in the training of highly qualified personnel in the social sciences and humanities. In this way, SSHRC fosters the development of talented and creative people who will become leaders across campuses and communities, and thereby contribute to Canada’s success in the 21st century.

Insight program

The goal of the Insight program[6] is to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas eligible for funding from SSHRC.

Research and training in the social sciences and humanities provide the foundation for a vibrant, healthy and prosperous society. They advance knowledge and build understanding about individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us. Such research enhances our knowledge and understanding of the past and present, and informs our thinking about critical social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental issues, both within the research community and across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

The Insight program aims to support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges.

Connection program

The goal of the Connection program[7] is to realize the potential of social sciences and humanities research for intellectual, cultural, social and economic influence, benefit and impact on and beyond the campus by supporting specific activities and tools that facilitate the flow and exchange of research knowledge.

Knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities facilitates the multidirectional flow of research knowledge across academia and society as a whole, in order to inform Canadian and international research, debate, decisions and actions. Those who can benefit from publicly funded research results in the humanities and social sciences—diverse groups of researchers, policy-makers, business leaders, community groups, educators and the media—should, ideally, have the knowledge they need, when they need it, in useful forms.

The Connection program aims to support knowledge mobilization activities—such as networking, disseminating, exchanging and co-creating research-based knowledge—as an important element of publicly engaged scholarship, and as a means of strengthening research agendas. SSHRC also recognizes that rapidly evolving information and communications technologies provide new opportunities to engage a variety of audiences with an interest and/or involvement in social sciences and humanities scholarship.

Future challenge areas

In June 2013, SSHRC's governing council endorsed six future challenge areas[8] developed during its Imagining Canada's Future[9] initiative, with a goal of addressing Canada’s future societal challenges and meeting future opportunities through social sciences and humanities research.

These challenge areas are:

  1. What new ways of learning, particularly in higher education, will Canadians need to thrive in an evolving society and labour market?
  2. What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?
  3. How are the experiences and aspirations of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada essential to building a successful shared future?
  4. What might the implications of global peak population be for Canada?
  5. How can emerging technologies be leveraged to benefit Canadians?
  6. What knowledge will Canada need to thrive in an interconnected, evolving global landscape?

See also


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