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The original version was signed by
The Honourable Minister of Industry
Minister of Industry
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
SECTION I: DEPARTMENTAL OVERVIEW
Management Representation Statement
2007-08 Treasury Board Approved Program Activity Architecture
Summary of Departmental Performance
SSHRC and Canada's Performance
Summary: Status of Performance
SECTION II: ANALYSIS OF PROGRAM ACTIVITIES BY STRATEGIC OUTCOME
Analysis by Program Activity
Strategic Outcome 1: People – A First-Class Research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities
Strategic Outcome 2: Research – New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities
Strategic Outcome 3: Knowledge Mobilization – The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Knowledge in the Social Sciences and Humanities
Strategic Outcome 4: Institutional Environment – A Strong Canadian Research Environment
|BOREAS||Histories from the North—Environments, Movements, Narratives|
|CFI||Canada Foundation for Innovation|
|CCA||Council of Canadian Academies|
|CGS||Canada Graduate Scholarships|
|CIHR||Canadian Institutes of Health Research|
|CRC||Canada Research Chairs|
|CURA||Community-University Research Alliances|
|DPR||Departmental Performance Report|
|ESF||European Science Foundation|
|ESRC||British Economic and Social Research Council|
|GDP||Gross Domestic Product|
|ICP||Indirect Costs Program|
|IFFA||International Forum of Funding Agencies|
|INE||Initiative on the New Economy|
|IOF||International Opportunities Fund|
|IPY||International Polar Year|
|KIS||Knowledge Impact in Society|
|MBF||Management, Business and Finance|
|MCRI||Major Collaborative Research Initiatives|
|MOU||Tri-Council Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards|
|NCE||Networks of Centres of Excellence|
|NORFACE||New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation in Europe|
|NSERC||Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council|
|OECD||Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|
|OMRN||Ocean Management Research Network|
|PAA||Program Activity Architecture|
|R&D||Eesearch and development|
|RDI||Research Development Initiatives|
|RPP||Report on Plans and Priorities|
|SRG||Standard Research Grants|
|SSH||Social Sciences and Humanities|
|SSHRC||Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council|
|S&T||Science and Technology|
|TCPS||Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans|
The Industry Portfolio experienced a busy and successful 2007–08. As Minister of Industry, I am pleased with the progress made on our mission to foster a competitive, knowledge-based economy that benefits all Canadians. A competitive economy is one that provides jobs and opportunity to Canadians, and top-quality products and services to consumers. Our economic performance underpins the quality of life we enjoy in this country, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is making important contributions to this mission.
The Industry Portfolio is composed of Industry Canada and 10 other agencies, Crown corporations and quasi-judicial bodies. These organizations collectively advance Canada’s industrial, scientific and economic development, and help ensure that we remain competitive in the global marketplace.
As a country, we must remain focused on how we can continue to provide an innovative and entrepreneurial economic environment, help our businesses capitalize on opportunities, and provide choice and quality to consumers. The global marketplace continues to evolve, changing with it the dynamics that influence Canada’s performance. I am proud to say that the Industry Portfolio is playing its part:
As a country, we must remain focused on how we can continue to provide an innovative and entrepreneurial economic environment, help our businesses capitalize on opportunities, and provide choice and quality to consumers. The global marketplace continues to evolve, changing with it the dynamics that influence Canada’s performance. I am proud to say that the Industry Portfolio is playing its part:
One of my key priorities as Industry Minister continues to be our country’s science and technology (S&T) strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage, announced by Prime Minister Harper in May 2007.
This has been a year of progress and success, and it is my pleasure to present the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Departmental Performance Report for 2007–08. I am committed to building on these successes in 2008 and beyond, and I will continue to work with officials in the Industry Portfolio to make Canada more efficient, productive and competitive.
Minister of Industry
I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
This document has been prepared based on the following reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-08 Estimates – Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Canadians are justifiably proud of this country’s stature as one of the best places in the world to live. Increasingly, Canadian society is recognizing that social sciences and humanities research is a critical component of our success.
More than 20 years of results from the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index confirm our place as a great nation. The index—which ranks countries according to social-science indicators of national well-being, including life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living—has positioned Canada in the number one position 10 times since 1985. That is more number one rankings than any other country.
Nearly half of our adult population holds postsecondary qualifications, which places us well ahead of most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for educational attainment. According to the OECD our steady supply of highly qualified personnel is vital to our recent scientific and industrial progress—and therefore to our extraordinary international ranking. Most interestingly to SSHRC, more than 64 per cent of students in Canadian universities study social sciences and humanities disciplines.
This fact has significant implications for our country’s economy. A recent SSHRC-commissioned study estimates that three-quarters of Canadians are employed in the social sciences and humanities. Industries that rely on these disciplines represent approximately $696.7 billion of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Moreover, scholarship in social sciences and humanities influences approximately the same amount of economic activity—$389 billion—as science, technology, engineering and medicine combined.
Encouragingly, Canadians understand this reality. In a recent survey, 64 per cent of respondents linked social sciences and humanities research to overall quality of life. A strong majority of respondents also recognized that the development of new knowledge from social science and humanities research helps address key issues that affect our quality of life and helps develop a highly qualified and adaptable workforce—critical to improving Canada’s economic prospects.
Canadians feel the benefits of social sciences and humanities every day. While the range and complexity of social, political, technological and innovation issues have never been more challenging, SSHRC contributes profoundly to Canada and the world by funding key advances in research and training.
I am proud to present the latest record of SSHRC’s achievements in this Departmental Performance Report for the fiscal year 2007-08.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
SSHRC’s 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) is structured according to the following Program Activity Architecture (PAA), as presented in the 2007-08 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP).
Strategic Outcome (SO) 1: People – A First-Class Research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities
1.1 Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes
1.1.1 Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS)
1.1.2 Doctoral Fellowships
1.1.3 Postdoctoral Fellowships
1.1.4 Prizes and Special Fellowships
1.2 Canada Research Chairs
1.2.1 Canada Research Chairs Program
SO 2: Research – New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities
2.1 Investigator-Framed Research
2.1.1 Standard Research Grants (SRG)
2.1.2 Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI)
2.2 Targeted Research and Training Initiatives
2.2.1 Strategic Research Grants
2.2.2 Strategic Joint Initiatives
2.2.3 Initiative on the New Economy (INE)
2.3 Strategic Research Development
2.3.1 Research Development Initiatives (RDI)
2.3.2 Community-University Research Alliances (CURA)
2.3.3 SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG)
2.3.4 Aid to Small Universities (ASU)
2.3.5 General Support
2.3.6 International Opportunities Fund (IOF)
SO 3.0: Knowledge Mobilization – The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Knowledge in the Social Sciences and Humanities
3.1 Research Communication and Interaction
3.1.1 Aid to Scholarly Publications
3.1.2 Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada
3.1.3 Aid to Research and Transfer Journals1
3.1.4 Aid and Attendance Grants to Scholarly Associations
3.1.5 Strategic Knowledge Clusters
3.1.6 Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)
3.1.7 Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS)
SO 4.0: Institutional Environment – A Strong Canadian Research Environment
4.1 Indirect Costs of Research
4.1.1 Indirect Costs Program
Through an act of Parliament in 1977, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) was created with a legislative mandate to “a) promote and assist research and scholarship in the social sciences and humanities; and b) advise the Minister in respect of such matters relating to such research as the Minister may refer to the Council for its consideration.” SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, the Council enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada, and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.
|Planned Spending ($ millions)||Total Authorities ($ millions)||Actual Spending ($ millions)|
1. Invest in the renewal and continued excellence of Canadian research in the social sciences and humanities
2. Support advanced, high-quality research training and an effective research training environment
3. Ensure that knowledge generates benefits for Canadians
|4. Sustain a strong and balanced research environment||Ongoing||Successfully met|
|5. Strengthen SSHRC’s governance and internal operations||Ongoing||Successfully met|
Program Activity by Strategic Outcome
|Strategic Outcome 1: People – A First-Class Research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities|
|Program Activity 1.1: Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes||Highly qualified personnel and experts in research are available to pursue various knowledge-intensive careers within universities, industry, government and other sectors.||Successfully met||102.3||100.3||Priority No. 1, 2|
|Program Activity 1.2: Canada Research Chairs||Canadian universities, affiliated research institutes and hospitals are recognized as centres of research excellence because of their attraction and retention of excellent researchers.||Successfully met||61.8||58.6||Priority No. 1, 2|
|Strategic Outcome 2: Research – New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities|
|Program Activity 2.1: Investigator-Framed Research||Canada offers a research environment that is conducive to graduate training, to advances in knowledge and to the communication of research results in all disciplines and research areas of the social sciences and humanities.||Successfully met||90.6||91.1||Priority No. 1, 2|
|Program Activity 2.2: Targeted Research and Training Initiatives||New knowledge on pressing social, economic and cultural issues of particular importance to Canadians is made available for decision-making in various sectors.||Successfully met||17.4||27.4||Priority No. 1, 2|
|Program Activity 2.3: Strategic Research Development||New perspectives, directions, modes and institutional capacity for research in the social sciences and humanities are explored and developed.||Successfully met||24.7||28.8||Priority No. 1, 2|
|Strategic Outcome 3: Knowledge Mobilization – The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Social Sciences and Humanities Research|
|Program Activity 3.1: Research Communication and Interaction||New social sciences and humanities knowledge is disseminated within and between disciplines, and between researchers and users of research in broader society.||Successfully met||22.4||61.0||Priority No. 3|
|Strategic Outcome 4: Institutional Environment – A Strong Canadian Research Environment|
|Program Activity 4.1: Indirect Costs of Research||Canadian universities, colleges, and affiliated research hospitals and health research institutes offer an enhanced institutional research environment.||Successfully met||300.1||313.8||Priority No. 4|
Research in the social sciences and humanities advances knowledge and builds understanding about individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live and how we interact with each other and the world around us. Knowledge and understanding inform discussion on critical social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental and wellness issues and provide communities, businesses and governments the foundation for a vibrant and healthy democracy. Through research, training and knowledge mobilization programs, SSHRC fosters the development of talented and creative people who become leaders across the private, voluntary and public sectors and who are critical to Canada’s success in the globalized 21st century.
SSHRC’s activities largely consist of funding external organizations and/or individuals through grants. SSHRC must adhere to the terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada (TBS) for the management and administration of these funds. SSHRC awards grants, fellowships and scholarships on the basis of excellence in national competitions. Decisions about which applicants to fund are made through peer review—a rigorous and independent selection process internationally recognized as the most effective way to allocate public research funds.
SSHRC, together with its sister funding agencies, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and in partnership with Industry Canada, also participates in the joint administration and delivery of three programs: the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) and the Indirect Costs (ICP) programs. The day-to-day administration of the CRC and ICP programs is carried out by a tri-agency secretariat housed at SSHRC. The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics and the Secretariat on Research Ethics are also jointly funded by the three agencies. For more information about SSHRC, including its governance and other organizational information, see http://www.sshrc.ca/web/about/about_e.asp.
Framing Our Direction: SSHRC’s Renewed Strategic Vision
In November 2007, SSHRC released its Strategic Plan for 2006-11, Framing Our Direction. This document highlights the achievements over the past two years, situates the Council’s activities and ambitions within the current research and policy environment, and sets out SSHRC’s strategic priorities for 2008-10. SSHRC’s strategic ambitions are quality, connections and impact in knowledge creation, the development of talent and knowledge mobilization.
New Federal Science and Technology Strategy
The changing research and policy environment has a significant impact on SSHRC and the other federal research granting agencies. A major event in this changing environment was the May 2007 release of the Government of Canada’s new science and technology (S&T) strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage. The priorities and principles of this strategy are directly linked to SSHRC’s ambitions of quality, connections and impact in knowledge creation, the development of talent and knowledge mobilization.
The S&T strategy emphasizes three advantages, all of which relate directly to central concerns of the humanities and social sciences: an entrepreneurial advantage that translates knowledge into practical applications, a knowledge advantage that generates new ideas and builds research excellence, and a people advantage that increases and retains the highly skilled individuals that Canada needs to thrive in the new global economy. The strategy offers SSHRC a framework within which to enhance the contribution of research and training in the social sciences and humanities to Canada and the world.
For these reasons, SSHRC is actively contributing to the implementation of the S&T strategy within its strategic priorities and will vigorously champion the social sciences and humanities as central to the federal research agenda. Indeed, the successful implementation of Canada’s S&T strategy depends upon a top-quality, comprehensive and balanced research community. Canada’s three research granting agencies have developed a joint (tri-agency) action plan that focuses on four priority issues: balance of funding, international opportunities, alignment of programs and reporting on impacts. The agencies are working together to support collaborative research in support of the goals of the S&T strategy. Research partnerships and collaborations among researchers in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and health sciences are actively encouraged through the programs of all three granting agencies.
New Federal Research Investments
In the 2007 federal budget, SSHRC received new funding in the amount of $11 million annually to support additional research in management, business and finance. SSHRC developed special funding opportunities for 2007 as an initial step in the support of research excellence leading to greater impact in the areas of management, business and finance. SSHRC is currently engaged in consultations with the social sciences and humanities research community and other stakeholders in the public, private and voluntary sectors to develop a longer-term strategy for investments in management, business and finance. Furthermore, the Council of Canadian Academies, at the request of SSHRC, is conducting an independent assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of management, business and finance research and training in Canada. An expert panel has been assembled and a report will be forthcoming between late 2008 and early 2009.
Budget 2008 announced new investments for postsecondary education and research. SSHRC received $12 million to support research that contributes to a “better understanding of how the environment affects the lives of Canadians and of the social and economic development needs of northern communities.” Highly relevant to the federal S&T strategy, this investment will further contribute to strategic research in these areas, in which SSHRC has been active for many years. Budget 2008 also established 20 Canada Global Excellence Research Chairs and created the new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program that, when fully ramped-up, will support 500 Canadian and international doctoral students. SSHRC is working with the NSERC, CIHR and Industry Canada on the implementation of these new initiatives.
Building on SSHRC’s Transitions
Strengthening SSHRC’s governance structure is a key priority. Specifically, SSHRC committed to strengthen the Council’s focus on strategic directions, priority setting and the achievement of excellence, as set out in Framing Our Direction. The most recent fiscal year, 2007-08, saw SSHRC focus on consolidating its new structure and the composition of its management team. Implementation of these changes included the development of an Action Plan, development of a three-year action plan for the Partnerships Directorate, and development of a strengthened Performance Measurement Framework. Recruitment and hiring of qualified staff in some of these priority areas presented both a challenge and an opportunity to bring in fresh ideas and expertise.
The Government of Canada has made significant investments in academic research as part of an overall strategy to enhance Canada’s capacity to innovate and compete, both regionally and globally. Canada’s Performance 2006-2007 links SSHRC’s activities and programs to the Government of Canada’s outcome of “an innovative and knowledge-based economy.” Specifically, SSHRC’s promotion and assistance of research, the development of talent and knowledge mobilization contribute to:
Finally, the following Figure, from Framing Our Direction, illustrates how SSHRC’s strategic ambitions of quality, connections and impact are linked to the goals of the federal S&T strategy:
Figure 1: SSHRC’s Strategic Ambitions and the New Science and Technology Strategy
• Enhance the quality of, and support for, research and research training in the social sciences and humanities;
• Enable connections among disciplines, including those in engineering and the natural and health sciences, as well as between research and the larger community, in Canada and in the rest of the world; and
• Increase the impact of research and research training for the benefit of society.
Following the release of the Government of Canada’s new S&T strategy early in the fiscal year, SSHRC aligned its activities and directions in the current research and policy environment, championed the contribution of social sciences and humanities research to Canada’s overall research agenda, and refined collaborative approaches with its sister research funding agencies. Key achievements included special funding opportunities for management, business and finance (MBF) as a further step in the support of research excellence in these areas. Specific sub-activities receiving funding under this initiative included: MBF Research Grants, an MBF component of Research Development Initiatives, MBF Outreach Grants, an MBF component of the Knowledge Impact in Society pilot program, an MBF component of the International Opportunities Fund, an MBF component of Strategic Knowledge Clusters, and an MBF component of the Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada program.
Figure 2: SSHRC Expenditures by Research Investment Areas 2007-08
SSHRC continued to successfully deliver its core program activities in its four Strategic Outcome areas: People – A First-Class Research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities; Research – New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities; Knowledge Mobilization – The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Social Sciences and Humanities Research; and Institutional Environment – A Strong Canadian Research Environment. Detailed reporting on progress against specific initiatives by SSHRC’s Strategic Outcomes, linked to program activities, is presented in Section II. Some highlights include:
A summary snapshot of SSHRC competitions in 2007-08 is provided in Appendix A.
SSHRC’s 2007-08 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) reports against the commitments made in its 2007-08 RPP. The following table provides a list of those commitments and the corresponding page(s) where each commitment is addressed in the 2007-08 DPR.
Summary of Report on Plans and Priorities Commitments in 2007-08
|Key priorities||Review the diagnosis of the challenges of new scholars and identify possible steps to address these challenges||2007-08|
|Increase the internationalization of SSHRC’s peer-review system||2007-08|
|Determine how best to increase the responsiveness and flexibility of SSHRC’s investigator-framed programs||2007-08|
|Examine the factors that create a rich and effective training environment for students||2007-08|
|Further develop SSHRC’s role as national facilitator for the Knowledge Impact in Society projects funded in 2006||2007-08|
|Run another competition of the Strategic Knowledge Clusters program, to fund seven additional Clusters||2007-08|
|Develop and implement a three-year plan for the new Partnerships Directorate||2007-08|
|Stimulate new research on research-results indicators||2007-08|
|Collaborate with other granting agencies to explore the relationships between the elements of the federal research-funding effort||2007-08|
|Further develop and implement a governance-renewal action plan||2007-08|
|Consolidate the new organizational structure and composition of the management team||2007-08|
|Develop and implement a management action plan||2007-08|
|People||Award 2,400 CGS Scholarships at the master’s and doctoral levels||2007-08|
|Participate in a formal evaluation of the CGS program, led by CIHR||2007-08|
|Offer about 600 new Doctoral Fellowships||2007-08|
|Examine new ways to improve the research training environment||2007-08|
|Offer about 140 new Postdoctoral Fellowships||2007-08|
|Award the SSHRC Gold Medal, the Aurora Prize, the Postdoctoral Prize and the William E. Taylor Fellowship||2007-08|
|Award the 2,000th Canada Research Chair||2007-08|
|Renew, replace or reallocate Canada Research Chairs and chairholders in accordance with the changing allocations to institutions, and apply a revised method for calculating allocations||2007-08|
|Research||Support the best research projects proposed by established and new scholars||2007-08|
|Work towards SSHRC’s long-term goal of reducing the number of applications that are deemed excellent but not funded due to financial constraints||2007-08|
|Enhance national partnerships and networks of world-class researchers through the MCRI program||2007-08|
|Invest in the activities of the final year of the INE program||2007-08|
|As part of the development of the new Partnerships Directorate, review SSHRC’s strategic research priority areas||2007-08|
|Continue investing in Community-University Research Alliances, and continue facilitating the exchange of best practices among CURA recipients||2007-08|
|Organize the first meeting of an international forum of funding agencies||2007-08|
|Participate in organizing the International Data Forum in Beijing, with the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences||2007-08|
|Develop and fund international collaboration opportunities for Canadian researchers||2007-08|
|Maintain existing, and forge new, international partnerships||2007-08|
|Explore ways to promote the international mobility of doctoral students||2007-08|
|Continue to provide advice in support of the Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) program, and continue to support research and related activities in the social sciences and humanities that are relevant to the IPY||2007-08|
|Work with a network of universities and public and private sector partners to develop research and public consultation activities related to a low-carbon economy||2007-08|
|Facilitate knowledge-mobilization activities between academic researchers and Ottawa’s policy community by supporting a third major symposium on population, work and family||2007-08|
|Knowledge Mobilization||Define the responsibilities of the Grants and Fellowships and Partnerships Directorates’ managers and staff for knowledge mobilization and the skills, competencies and training relevant for knowledge mobilization||2007-08|
|Implement changes to the Aid to Research and Transfer Journals program||2007-08|
|Continue to build and enhance interdisciplinary national networks of researchers through the tri-agency Networks of Centres of Excellence program||2007-08|
|Indirect Costs||Launch an overall program evaluation of the Indirect Costs Program to be completed in May 2009||2007-08|
|Key Management Priorities||Staff a full complement of audit, performance and evaluation staff||2007-08|
|Continue implementation of SSHRC’s risk-based evaluation and audit plans||2007-08|
|Initiate processes for the implementation of the expected revised federal Evaluation Policy||2007-08|
|Continue to work towards finalizing Phase 2 of the granting agencies’ memorandum of understanding with research institutions||2007-08|
|Continue participating in discussions on the development of a Canadian governance system for research involving humans||2007-08|
The remainder of Section I provides an overview of progress made in each of the five key priority areas, as listed in the Summary Information.
This priority is supported principally by program activities in Strategic Outcomes 1 (People) and 2 (Research). SSHRC plays a key role in Canada’s support of the best research, researchers and students in the social sciences and humanities. This capacity for creating knowledge and understanding is a critical factor for Canada’s quality of life and competitiveness in the knowledge economy.
The research environment in Canada and internationally is evolving, and SSHRC must play a leadership role to sustain the excellence of Canadian research in the social sciences and humanities.
Faculty renewal and the challenges of new scholars. SSHRC recognizes the inherent challenges and opportunities that have been witnessed in recent years as a result of major faculty renewal and the increase in the number of new scholars in universities across Canada. Although it intends to examine these issues more broadly in the context of its continuous improvement exercise, currently underway, and identify possible steps within its mandate to address these challenges, SSHRC has already taken important measures in this regard. For example, in SSHRC’s Standard Research Grants (SRG) program, one improvement was to provide new scholars with better access to the SRG program by allowing for more flexibility in terms of evaluating past research achievement versus the proposed program of research. The peer-review adjudication committee assesses the applications of new scholars2 —who often do not yet have a very substantial past research record—in such a way that a less substantive record of research achievement can be offset by an excellent program of research, or vice versa, whatever produces the best overall assessment score. Second, the evaluation criteria and scoring mechanisms are designed to take into account stage of career and recognize the challenges these researchers face. New researchers also sit on adjudication committees, thus participating directly in the peer-review process.
Reinforcing research excellence by internationalizing peer review. The Government of Canada’s S&T strategy underlines the importance of independent and rigorous peer review, and calls for increased international representation in evaluating research. Efforts to increase international participation on SSHRC’s adjudication committees have met with excellent results: 22 of the 24 Standard Research Grant committees have at least one international member, as did the Open Access Journals pilot committee and the Research Development Initiatives committee. In addition, a large percentage of the membership of MCRI committees, other Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives, and mid-term review panels comes from outside Canada. As a further commitment to enhancing the quality of the peer-review system, in 2007-08 SSHRC initiated a blue ribbon panel assessment of the quality and integrity of its peer review practices. The Blue Ribbon Panel will also provide advice on emerging international trends in peer review for further consideration.
Increasing responsiveness within SSHRC's investigator-framed programs. In Framing Our Direction, SSHRC committed to launching an ongoing examination of its programs to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of all activities in support of excellence. In March 2008, SSHRC’s governing council approved a framework for the continuous improvement of SSHRC’s suite of programs.
This priority is supported principally by program activities in Strategic Outcomes 1 (People) and 2 (Research). SSHRC offers a full suite of fellowship programs at the master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral levels. In addition, graduate and undergraduate student training is an integrated component of most of SSHRC’s research funding programs, including grants, investigator-framed research, targeted research and training initiatives, and strategic research development. Sixty-four per cent of full-time graduate students at Canadian universities work in social sciences and humanities disciplines. They represent a rich pool of highly qualified students, and are the future creators, interpreters, critics, managers, decision makers and communicators of expert knowledge.
SSHRC committed to examine the factors that create a rich and effective training environment for students. A key source of data for this will be the evaluation of the Doctoral Fellowships program and the evaluation (led by CIHR) of the Canada Graduate Scholarships program. Both evaluations were undertaken in 2007-08. Final evaluation reports are expected in 2008.
Student mentorship is an important criterion in the assessment of grant applications. Researchers have developed innovative training and mentorship strategies for involving students in their research projects. For instance, students are given important roles, such as data collection and analysis, and co-writing articles and presenting to conferences, making their participation in the projects worthy in terms of research experience.
This priority is supported principally by program activities in Strategic Outcome 3 (Knowledge Mobilization). In 2007-08, SSHRC worked to promote knowledge mobilization in policy, programs and corporate operations.
Knowledge Mobilization and Impacts are two interrelated priorities for SSHRC as articulated in its strategic plan, Framing our Direction, published in November 2007. Knowledge mobilization refers to the effective dissemination, brokering, exchange, and translation of knowledge both in terms of pushing knowledge between disciplines and out of academe into the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, as well as welcoming and integrating knowledge from various disciplines and broader society into academic work. One of the primary desired outcomes of effective knowledge mobilization is impact—primarily intellectual, in terms of affecting policy and professional practice, as well as economic externalities or “multiplier effects.” The concepts of knowledge mobilization and impact both share the idea of creating and extracting maximum value from the world of research.
Knowledge Mobilization in programs: In recent years, SSHRC has piloted the development of new tools and methods to support knowledge mobilization, including the Knowledge Impact in Society program. In 2007-08, SSHRC also held another competition of the Strategic Knowledge Clusters program, which supports networks of researchers and partners sharing knowledge on themes of strategic and intellectual importance.
Knowledge Mobilization in corporate operations: In 2007-08, a key management priority for SSHRC was the development and the beginning of the implementation of a three-year plan for the activities of the new Partnerships Directorate, which provides leadership for strategic programs and joint initiatives, and champions knowledge mobilization programs, policies and other related corporate activities. A three-year plan for Partnerships Directorate, including knowledge mobilization, was presented to SSHRC’s governing Council in October 2007. Furthermore, a knowledge mobilization strategic framework was developed in 2007-08.
Knowledge Mobilization in policy: The development of new approaches and methodologies to better capture the broad societal impact of its investments is of direct strategic importance to SSHRC. Activities in 2007-08 included stimulating new research on indicators of research impact, hosting a roundtable and forum on capturing the impacts of research, and developing a compendium of examples of how research in the social sciences and humanities enhances the lives of Canadians.
This priority is supported largely by the program activity Indirect Costs of Research in Strategic Outcome 4 (Institutional Environment). Over the past decade, the environment for research in Canada has changed dramatically, with the federal government having made significant investments in a range of mechanisms to support research. The Indirect Costs program helps Canada's universities and colleges by supporting a portion of the “indirect" costs of administering and managing their research activities, thereby ensuring that such work is carried out in state-of-the-art facilities and supported by excellent administrative support.
Other ways in which SSHRC is helping to sustain a strong and balanced research environment include collaborating in tri-agency initiatives such as the Common CV, and engaging in discussions about possible tri-agency collaboration in research areas such as the environment, the Canadian North and management, business and finance.
This management priority was supported by a number of internal and management initiatives aimed at consolidating SSHRC’s new structure and the new composition of its management team. A key activity in this consolidation was the release in November 2007 of SSHRC’s Strategic Plan, Framing Our Direction, and the introduction of a new approach for corporate priority-setting, leading to a corporate plan for 2008-09. This plan structures internal management priorities over the next two years in areas such as human resources, governance structure, the management framework, mobilizing the research community, showing results to Canadians, and increasing the visibility of, and understanding about, SSHRC among Canadians.
In the summer of 2007, an Integrated Corporate Management Framework was developed to support integrated management at SSHRC, and a new internal governance structure was adopted in the fall of 2007 to strengthen decision-making and overall management of internal operations.
SSHRC’S governing council reviewed and approved proposals from its governance and nominations committee to adopt new terms of reference that focus council activities on strategic direction, stewardship of resources, management processes and results, and the pursuit of excellence. A proposal for a new committee structure to support council’s new role was also approved, reducing the number of committees from seven to three. As a result, SSHRC’s senior management will benefit from a more holistic, integrated perspective on how SSHRC’s programs and policies support the achievement of its strategic objectives.
SSHRC made significant progress in developing a new Performance Measurement Framework (PMF), which was submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat in the fall of 2007. The new PMF sets out expected results and performance indicators for strategic outcomes, and for program activities and sub-activities. SSHRC continues to develop and enhance data collection mechanisms and tools for many of the performance indicators.
This section provides detailed information on the progress made by SSHRC in delivering on each of its priorities, plans, and expected results as outlined in the 2007–08 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP). The structure of Section II follows SSHRC’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA) as set out in the RPP; that is, it reports on program activities and key sub-activities. For indicators of outputs and results by program activities and sub-activities, please refer to Table 19 in the 2007-08 RPP. Please note that not all indicators in Table 19 are used for DPR reporting purposes, as some of the data sources are under development, and others are not “annual” in nature.
According to the OECD, of all the factors needed for a country's scientific and industrial development, the supply of suitable and highly qualified human resources is unquestionably one of the most vital: “... unless people with certain training and qualifications are available, organized R&D is almost impossible.”3
One of the OECD measures of progress in educational attainment is increases in the number of people achieving higher than tertiary levels of education. Enrolment in Canadian universities hit a record high for the fifth consecutive year during the 2005-06 academic year. According to February 2008 Statistics Canada figures, the humanities experienced the fastest growth of all fields of study, a 6.4 per cent increase. In 2005-06, there were 161,100 students in humanities disciplines. A record 182,800 students were registered in social and behavioural sciences, and law. Enrolment in business, management and public administration reached 169,300, up 4,200 from 2004-05. The top three fields of study among all disciplines by numbers of students—social and behavioural sciences and law; business, management and public administration; and the humanities—accounted for nearly one-half (49 per cent) of total enrolment in universities.
SSHRC’s “People” program activities—Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes, and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program—support and contribute directly to Canada’s research capacity and pool of highly qualified personnel, factors that are internationally recognized as essential to competitive success in an innovative and knowledge-based society. As such, these program activities support SSHRC’s Priority 2: Support advanced, high-quality research training and an effective research training environment.
Moreover, through the social sciences and humanities component of the Canada Research Chairs Program, SSHRC contributed to attracting some of the world’s brightest minds to Canadian universities across the country. 4
This program activity addresses demands from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors for large numbers of highly qualified personnel trained in the social sciences and humanities, and for faculty renewal at universities. Around 30 per cent of SSHRC’s overall grants and scholarships budget5 is dedicated to direct support of master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral awards.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$102.3 million||$105.6 million||$100.3 million|
|25 FTEs||22 FTEs||-3|
Expected Result: Highly qualified personnel and experts in research are available to pursue various knowledge-intensive careers within universities, industry, government and other sectors.
Performance 2007-08: As stated by the Canadian Council on Learning’s summary of its Report on Learning in Canada 06 Canadian Post-secondary Education: A Positive Record – An Uncertain Future, “Even though more than 40% of Canadians have some PSE [Postsecondary Education], up to 70% of today’s new and replacement jobs require post-secondary credentials. The gap will widen as skills requirements continue to rise and as our population growth slows.” SSHRC’s program activity of Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes helps address the growing demand for people with high levels of postsecondary education and training in all sectors of the economy. In 2007-08, there were 103 Canadian post-secondary institutions with SSHRC-supported faculty and students.
The 2007 federal budget delivered $62 million in new funding over three years for graduate students. As a result, the three federal granting agencies, combined, were able to name more than 600 additional award winners in 2007. As a result of the new funding, SSHRC awarded 100 additional CGS Master’s and 35 additional CGS Doctoral scholarships in 2007-08.
Total awards offered in 2007-08
|Fellowships and Scholarships Program||Number of Awards Offered 2007-08|
|CGS - Master’s||1,289|
|CGS - Doctoral||430|
|SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships||650|
|SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships||144|
Actual Spending by Key Program (Sub-Activities)
|Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes, by Sub-activity||2007-08 Actual ($ millions)|
|Canada Graduate Scholarships||64.6|
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships
The Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) program, recently renamed the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships, was established by the federal government in 2003 to support graduate students who demonstrate scholarly potential and achievement at the highest levels. Administered by the three federal granting agencies, the program has a master’s and a doctoral component. Fifty-five per cent of CGS awards are administered by SSHRC for graduate students in the social sciences and humanities.
The number of Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s recipients increased to its full complement of 1,200 award holders at any one time in 2005-06. New funding provided in the 2007 federal budget allowed SSHRC to award an additional 100 J.-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s and 35 J.-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral scholarships, bringing the total of such scholarships awarded in 2007-08 to 1,735. As they complete their programs of study, these highly trained people will move into knowledge-intensive careers in all sectors of the economy. In 2007-08, SSHRC participated in a formal evaluation of the CGS program, led by CIHR; an evaluation of SSHRC’s Doctoral Fellowships program is also being conducted simultaneously.
The demand for SSHRC support continues to grow. For example, applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships were up by 2.9 per cent in 2007-08.
The top three fields of study among all disciplines by number of students—social and behavioural sciences and law; business, management and public administration; and the humanities—accounted for nearly one-half of total enrolment in universities.
According to February 2008 Statistics Canada figures, the humanities experienced the fastest growth of all fields of study, a 6.4 per cent increase.
According to the OECD research performance indicators, Canada ranks second in the OECD in higher-education research and development (R&D)/GDP.
Public Involvement in Canadian Biotechnology Policy Development
Canadian policy is consistently faced with new societal and ethical challenges as research continues to lead to new technologies and innovations. Biotechnologies such as genetically modified food, cloning, genetic testing and stem cell therapies present examples of these challenges. With its unprecedented pace, cross-disciplinary impacts, cross-departmental responsibilities and potentially unknown long-term effects, biotechnology challenges traditional policy practices and poses opportunities for informed debate on these issues among citizens.
Jennifer Medlock’s doctoral research examines whether and how the Canadian government has incorporated public participation practices into policy development on biotechnology.Research has shown that sustainable policy requires input from a broad range of stakeholders, including citizens, at all stages in the technology development process—from design through to implementation and regulation.
The research posits that a participatory citizenship approach leads to better informed, inclusive and effective policy. Beyond biotechnology, Medlock’s research also has important applications for other new and emerging technologies at a time when Canada’s science and technology sector continues to grow significantly.
Jennifer Medlock is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.
SSHRC offers special prizes and fellowships to recognize the extraordinary dedication and creativity of Canada’s best researchers. The prizes honour individuals whose originality and outstanding contribution to social sciences and humanities research have deepened understanding and helped enrich Canadian society. Recognizing Canadian research talent in the social sciences and humanities not only honours the individual recipients, it also serves as a clear statement to the research community at large that its efforts are valued, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate to Canadians some of the outcomes of their investments in Canadian research and researchers. Profiles of the 2007-08 recipients and their research can be found at: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/winning-recherche_subventionnee/prize-prix-eng.aspx.
The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program was created in 2000 to establish 2,000 research professorships in universities across the country by 2008. The primary purpose of the CRC program is to recruit and retain world-class researchers, with the key objective being to enable Canadian universities, together with their affiliated research institutes and hospitals, to achieve the highest levels of excellence and become world-class research centres in the global, knowledge-based economy. SSHRC administers the CRC program and hosts the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat on behalf of the three federal granting agencies.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$61.8 million||$61.9 million||$58.6 million|
|24 FTEs||21 FTEs||-3|
Expected Result: Canadian universities, affiliated research institutes and hospitals are recognized as centres of research excellence because of their attraction and retention of excellent researchers.
Performance 2007-08: As noted in the 2006-07 DPR, the full complement of 2,000 Canada Research Chairs has been allocated to Canadian universities. As of the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year, the total number of Canada Research Chairs awarded was 1,851,6 of which 405 (22 per cent) are in the social sciences and humanities. The corresponding breakdown of chairholders is as follows:
Distribution of Chairs by granting agency
One indication of the success of the CRC program is that several other countries have used it as a model for their own research professorships programs. These include South Africa’s establishment of 210 university research chairs “to woo top foreign scientists in an attempt to reverse the brain drain;” and France’s new International Research Chairs (Chaires internationales de recherche Blaise Pascal) to accommodate highly qualified, internationally acclaimed, foreign research scientists in all scientific fields.
Since the inception of the program and as of the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year, 560 chairholders had been recruited from outside Canada (approximately 30 per cent). Equally interesting is the fact that the program has successfully attracted back to Canada a significant number of expatriate researchers (representing 46 per cent of external recruits) who had established solid reputations at foreign institutions.
The Fifth-Year Evaluation of the Canada Research Chairs Program noted that research centres associated with chairholders had grown by 2,816 researchers since the time the Chairs were awarded, a 59.9 per cent increase. The Chairs program also succeeded in leveraging between $218 million and $343 million in additional research funding from the original CRC program investment.
The expertise of many of these world-class researchers is sought regularly by public and private decision makers. On March 27, 2008, the Canada Research Chairs Program held a national celebration to recognize the contribution that chairholders are making to the research enterprise in Canada. The event included a roundtable involving chairholders who do research in areas related to public policy and senior representatives of government policy research groups.
Finally, as part of the process of renewing, replacing or reallocating Canada Research Chairs, calculations to allocate Chairs are revised every two years. By September 2008, a newly revised calculation system will be in place to determine biennial Chairs allocations to universities. In so doing, the CRC Secretariat will create an electronic interface for universities to plan and track their Chairs allocation and utilization.
Until recently, the formation of scientific disciplines and the transformation of universities have largely been studied from separate and distinct historical and sociological perspectives. Yves Gingras, Canada Research Chair in the History and Sociology of Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal, believes that these two fields are much more closely connected.
Gingras’ research program analyzes the dynamics governing scientific change during the period 1700-2000 and their relationship to the transformation of universities during the same period. There is little doubt of the crucial role that universities play in the advancement of knowledge, discovery and innovation in many domains.
In an academic career spanning more than two decades, Gingras’ interdisciplinary research program has contributed to a clearer understanding of the conceptual, material, social and economic underpinnings that affect the evolution of knowledge production. Firmly based on empirical data analysis and quantitative research methods, his research has facilitated enlightened discussion and decision-making on the future role and impact of universities in our knowledge-based economy.
Gingras has written widely on the history and sociology of science, technology and innovation, with numerous published articles, books and conference presentations to his credit. He has also been the recipient of many highly-regarded awards and prizes, most recently receiving the Jacques-Rousseau Prize for his many contributions to the social study of science and technology.
Yves Gingras is the Canada Research Chair in the History and Sociology of Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Research and development activity is a key component of a successful knowledge-based economy. Sustained public and private sector investment in research also fosters innovation. According to the OECD research performance indicators, Canada’s overall research performance (which includes social sciences and humanities research) ranks among the highest of OECD countries:
Social sciences and humanities knowledge and expertise constitute significant inputs to the Canadian economic enterprise. “Service industries now account for 69% of Canada’s economic output, whereas goods-producing industries account for 31%. Service industries rely primarily on social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines for their knowledge inputs …. Industries that rely primarily on SSH inputs account for $696.7 billion of annual GDP output. Industries that rely primarily on science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) inputs account for $431.4 billion of GDP. SSH-based industries account for about 76% of total employment, whereas STEM industries account for about 24%.”8
Strategic Outcome 2 encompasses SSHRC’s core programs activities of research support: Investigator-Framed Research, Targeted Research and Training, and Strategic Research Development. These program activities support SSHRC’s Priority 1: Invest in the renewal and continued excellence of Canadian research in the social sciences and humanities; and Priority 2: Support advanced, high-quality research training and an effective research training environment. The focus on research excellence fundamentally underscores SSHRC’s overarching ambitions of quality and impact in the research and research training that it supports.
SSHRC’s Investigator-Framed Research grants support individual and team projects and programs of research for which the researcher/principal investigator defines the research topic and methodology. These range from individuals or small groups working in libraries and archives to large, multidisciplinary, collaborative projects with researchers, partners and assistants conducting fieldwork across the country.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$90.6 million||$91.2 million||$91.1 million|
|50 FTEs||50 FTEs||0|
Expected Result: Canada offers a research environment that is conducive to graduate training, to advances in knowledge and to the communication of research results in all disciplines and research areas of the social sciences and humanities.
Performance 2007-08: SSHRC’s program activities in Investigator-Framed Research are supported by two key programs: Standard Research Grants (SRG), which represents one of SSHRC’s single largest investments; and Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI). These research programs generate new knowledge, build and enhance partnerships and networks of world-class researchers, and provide mentoring, research training, skills and professional development to graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate and undergraduate student training is an integrated component of Investigator-Framed Research program activities.
Ultimately, the results of Investigator-Framed Research activities in 2007-08, as in other years, include knowledge that contributes to public policy and program development. Examples include the development of research skills among future academics and researchers; stimulation of creativity and intellectual growth; enhancement of Canada’s international reputation for research leadership and excellent scholarship; and a large body of published research (much of which is financially supported through SSHRC’s Aid to Scholarly Publications and other programs) that contributes to the body of world knowledge.
In order to increase the rigour of the peer-review process by which SSHRC adjudicates funding, most of the grants adjudication committees that met in 2007-08 included international representation. In the most recent competition for Standard Research Grants, for example, 22 out of 24 committees included international members.
Actual Spending by Key Programs (Sub-Activities)
|Investigator-Framed Research, by Sub-Activity||2007-08 Actual ($ millions)|
|Standard Research Grants||76.6|
|Major Collaborative Research Initiatives||8.3|
The SRG program supports research programs that explore an enormous range of issues dealing with human experience and help Canadians understand an increasingly complex world. The SRG program serves as a catalyst for creativity and knowledge generation in the social sciences and humanities in Canada. Because of the program’s rigorous standards of peer review, securing a Standard Research Grant is seen as an important endorsement of research excellence for both new and established faculty.
As SSHRC’s core program, SRG supports research and research training, framed by individuals and teams that develop new theories and better research methods and advance knowledge of human nature and behaviour and of social, economic, cultural and intellectual issues. The SRG program is thus directly linked to the commitment of the Government of Canada, most recently expressed in the S&T strategy, that “[w]e will maintain our G-7 leadership in public R&D performance by making new investments in R&D… We will sustain our world-leading commitment to basic and applied research in all domains …We will sustain our commitment to train the next generation of researchers and innovators upon whom Canada’s future success depends.”
Canadian universities have actively renewed research capacity with the hiring of over 20,000 new faculty between 1998 and 2004; with more than 50 per cent from the social sciences and humanities. These new hires, along with established scholars, are highly qualified and are committed to engaging in first-class research and teaching in order to excel at an international level. This is made possible by the significant increase in research investments over the last decade, which has enabled a greater level of intensity of research in the social sciences and humanities in Canada. The demand for SSHRC support continues to grow. In 2007-08, SSHRC supported 841 new Standard Research Grants projects involving 1,641 social sciences and humanities researchers.
Of the SRGs awarded in 2007-08, 27.9 per cent were in the humanities, 68.4 per cent were in social sciences disciplines, while 3.7 per cent were interdisciplinary projects. For a detailed breakdown of SRG allocations by region, province, discipline clusters and other categories, see: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/winning-recherche_subventionnee/stats-statistiques/tables-tableaux-eng.aspx.
One of the components funded under the Management, Business and Finance initiative was a Special Call for Research Grants in Management, Business and Finance, with some 350 applications submitted despite the relatively short lead time. Of these, 153 excellent research projects received funding totaling $18,026,467.
Since 2002-03, researchers have been providing SSHRC with data on the results of their research projects through SSHRC’s web-based Final Research Report (FRR). Final Research Reports for grants awarded in 2002-03 were due in 2007-08. (As SRGs are three-year grants, the outputs of 2007-08 grants will not be available until FRRs are submitted in 2012-13.)
Analysis of a sample of 397 reports (representative of the regions, disciplines, scholar types and genders of all 2002 grant holders) shows that a total of 1,115 peer-reviewed research articles, 178 books and 526 book chapters were published, with another 217 articles, 59 books and 174 book chapters accepted for publication. In terms of knowledge mobilization, 83 per cent reported that they had or were expecting to disseminate their research results to academic audiences, 58 per cent to decision makers, and 54 per cent to the public. With respect to training, 99 per cent within the sample of grantees have hired students and/or postdoctoral researchers, reporting a total of 2,764 students and 74 postdoctoral researchers.
In addition to generating new knowledge through research, student mentorship is an important criterion in the evaluation of applications for the Standard Research Grants program. The majority of the requested budget is for student training. SSHRC’s support of world-class research exposes students to dynamic and productive research environments, and provides opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research. This exposure nurtures the range of skills that labour markets demand, within and beyond academia. Researchers have developed very innovative training and mentorship strategies for involving students in their research projects. Students are given important roles, such as co-authoring articles and presenting to conferences, thus making their participation in the projects significant in terms of research experience.
A study conducted by Goss Gilroy Management Consultants in 2005, Student Training in SSHRC-Funded Research, found that students reported high levels of intellectual involvement, participation in a range of research-related activities and in a variety of research settings, the acquisition of research and communication skills, and wide access to resources and facilities. Both researchers and students indicated high levels of impact on areas such as developing contacts and networks, career advancement and increased knowledge with respect to both academic and [non-academic] research careers.
Standard Research Grants Profile
Green supply chain management: development and performance
Effective management of a firm’s network of interconnected suppliers and customers (i.e., supply chain) is central to the manufacturing competitiveness of many Canadian companies. In addition, for many of these companies, environmental management is now an increasingly critical area due to regulatory, customer and public pressures.
Robert Klassen’s research explores how these two areas could have mutually reinforcing outcomes, with the potential to improve both manufacturing and environmental performance. Findings showed that collaboration with customers is instrumental to shifting investment toward pollution prevention. Moreover, as managers seek to make their supply chains greener, developing strong linkages between companies at a strategic firm-to-firm level are key, with an emphasis on such aspects as product development and process re-engineering.
Finally, investment by companies in bringing their own used products back from consumers for recovery and re-use, termed a reverse supply chain, remains in the early stages in Canada. However, public policy incentives and changing consumer expectations can encourage critical investment in this area.
This innovative research contributes to stronger Canadian leadership in sustainable environmental management, while simultaneously enhancing Canadian economic competitiveness.
Robert Klassen is a Professor and J.J. Wettlaufer Faculty Fellow in the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario.
The Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program supports leading-edge research that has the potential for intellectual breakthrough, and addresses broad and critical issues of intellectual, social, economic, and cultural significance. The MCRI program’s specific objectives include promoting broadly based collaborative research as the central type of research activity, within and across disciplines, departments and universities in Canada and internationally. MCRI grants span seven years.
With its targeted focus on issues of critical importance, as well as on national and international partnerships and collaborations, SSHRC’s MCRI program is strongly linked to the Government of Canada’s commitment, expressed in the 2007 S&T strategy, that “[w]e will maintain our G-7 leadership in public R&D performance by making new investments in R&D … and [by] supporting domestic and international research and networks in areas of strategic importance to Canada.”
In February 2008, SSHRC announced a $10-million investment in four Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRIs). For details of these MCRIs see: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/whatsnew-quoi_neuf/pr-communiques/2008/mcri-gtrc-eng.aspx.
A special report on the performance of the MCRI program, conducted in 2005, provides evidence that the MCRI program has performed strongly as a tool for SSHRC to support the leading edge of its research community. Many of the important issues addressed through the funded projects would not be addressed either in Canada or elsewhere in the world without the MCRI program, and it has provided critical support to highly successful, advanced scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. The report states that MCRI projects have contributed to improved programs, services and policies benefiting Canadians.
The report states: “One of the most important results of the MCRIs has been their impact on capacity to address issues of intellectual, social, economic and/or cultural significance. These issues ranged from basic processes of democracy and strengthening of the social fabric, to evidence-based, economic development, to responsible environmental stewardship and sustainable development. In some cases, the MCRIs’ link to the policy actors was very direct, and nurtured as part of the research operations; while in others it was more of a theoretical nature.”
The report further states that MCRI projects “unequivocally” generate scholarly impact, increased potential for intellectual advance, and national and international recognition.
The program activities in this category are aimed at producing new knowledge and capacity on pressing social, economic and cultural issues of vital importance to Canadians, and ensuring that this knowledge and capacity are available to decision makers in various sectors.
These programs focus on thematic areas defined by SSHRC in consultation with key stakeholders, including the research community, senior leaders from other sectors such as industry and business, partners in non-governmental and community organizations, other funding agencies and organizations, international organizations, and federal government departments and agencies. In addition, in vehicles such as the Speech from the Throne, the federal budget, and key strategic documents like the S&T strategy, the Government of Canada identifies priority areas requiring targeted research in the social sciences and humanities. For example, Budget 2008 provided SSHRC with $12 million to support research that contributes to a “better understanding of how the environment affects the lives of Canadians and of the social and economic development needs of northern communities.” SSHRC subsequently initiated the development of a consultation strategy and programs related to this new funding. The focus on thematic areas underscores SSHRC’s overarching ambitions of connections and impact in the targeted research and training initiatives that it supports.
Three key programs comprise SSHRC’s program activity Targeted Research and Training Initiatives: Strategic Research Grants, Strategic Joint Initiatives and the Initiative on the New Economy.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$17.4 million||$24.6 million||$27.4 million|
|43 FTEs||40 FTEs||-3|
Expected Result: New knowledge on pressing social, economic and cultural issues of particular importance to Canadians is made available to decision makers in various sectors.
Performance 2007-08: In 2007-08, the program activity Targeted Research and Training made significant multi-year investments in the creation of knowledge and the development of research talent for Canada. In total, 274 awards totaling $34,017,024 were made across the key program activities: 233 Strategic Research grants (including the management, business and finance grants), 36 Strategic Joint Initiatives projects, and five Public Outreach grants in the Initiative on the New Economy.”
The very name of the program activity, Targeted Research and Training Initiatives, indicates the importance SSHRC places on student training as an integral and integrated component of its mandate and its activities. A Statistics Canada summary of findings from the Survey of Earned Doctorates states that “A large proportion of doctoral graduates reported that they would be involved in research and development activities, either through employment or through postdoctoral study or training. This is likely to add to Canada’s research and development capacity.” As observed earlier, the training provided to graduate students who participate in SSHRC-funded research is a major input to building Canada’s research and development capacity.
As a result of a forward-looking consultative exercise undertaken in 2001-02, SSHRC developed and launched the following priority research themes: Aboriginal Research; Environment and Sustainability; Culture, Citizenship and Identities (including official languages); Image, Sound, Text and Technology (including information and communications technologies); and Northern Research Development. Management, business and finance was added by SSHRC as a thematic priority following Budget 2007. Budget 2008 witnessed the confirmation of the environment and North as continued priorities for the federal government. These priorities guide the direction and development of SSHRC’s strategic programs and activities. They are being reviewed as part of the development of SSHRC’s partnerships strategy. Aboriginal issues, as well as information and communications technologies (ICT) are both priority areas for the federal government. Information and communications technologies theme at SSHRC could be expanded to include management of ICTs, broader societal impacts and new media for example.
In the context of the International Polar Year (IPY), in 2007, SSHRC announced close to $700,000 in grants to support research on Canada’s North by academic experts working in collaboration with community and government partners. SSHRC’s strategic northern research supports federal commitments to Canadian sovereignty, as reflected in the October 2007 Speech from the Throne: “Our Government will bring forward an integrated northern strategy focused on strengthening Canada’s sovereignty, protecting our environmental heritage, promoting economic and social development, and improving and devolving governance, so that northerners have greater control over their destinies.”
Actual Spending by Key Programs (Sub-Activities)
|Targeted Research and Training Initiatives||2007-08 Actual ($ millions)|
|Strategic Research Grants||12.9|
|Strategic Joint Initiatives||4.2|
|Initiative on the New Economy||4.5|
SSHRC awarded 233 Strategic Research grants in 2007-08: 26 in Aboriginal Research; 35 in Image, Text, Sound and Technology; 19 in Northern Research Development; and 153 in Management, Business and Finance.
In 2007-08, SSHRC undertook an evaluation of the Aboriginal Research pilot program (established in 2004) following extensive community consultations that were summarized in the document Opportunities in Aboriginal Research: Results of SSHRC’s Dialogue on Research and Aboriginal Peoples. The pilot project involved three competitions that funded 83 projects totalling $12.7 million. The purpose of the evaluation was to provide information to facilitate SSHRC’s governing council discussions about the future of Aboriginal research at SSHRC.
Preliminary findings indicate that this program met its key objectives, including building capacity in Aboriginal research (research conducted within the context of Aboriginal knowledge traditions), significant research training opportunities for Aboriginal students (close to 500 in total), and the development of community capacity in policy-related research. “The funded research is closely engaged with Aboriginal communities – likely more so than Aboriginal-related research not being funded through the program. The potential for community benefit is central to the research endeavours funded through the program and to the processes with which the research is being conducted.”9 The evaluation will be completed in the fall of 2008.
In 2007-08 SSHRC also completed an evaluation of the Research/Creation Grants in Fine Arts pilot program. The evidence presented in this evaluation demonstrated that SSHRC’s Research/Creation in Fine Arts Grants program is highly relevant to the practices and aspirations of artist-researchers, effective and unique within Canada and in an international context. The evaluation made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the program’s success rates, management and performance measurement to capture impacts more effectively.The program will launch another round of competitions later this year.
Please visit SSHRC’s website to view posted evaluations, along with management responses: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/about-crsh/publications/pub_evaluations-eng.aspx
Strategic Joint Initiatives were created in 1989 as an important mechanism to build partnerships with users of research, to tailor programs to meet knowledge needs in key areas (Knowledge Advantage in the federal S&T strategy), and to promote the mobilization of knowledge and facilitate its use (Entrepreneurial Advantage in the S&T strategy). Strategic Joint Initiatives include significant training dimensions that contribute to developing highly skilled and qualified people who will bring their resulting expertise to productive careers in all sectors of the economy and society. Strategic Joint Initiatives, therefore, remain closely aligned with the principles made explicit in the S&T strategy: they focus on priorities, they build connections and partnerships, and they help “translate knowledge into practical applications to improve our wealth, wellness and well-being.”
As of 2007-08, SSHRC has contributed a cumulative10 total of $20,830,388 towards joint initiative projects. Through this funding, SSHRC was able to leverage an additional $25,264,093 in cumulative contributions from joint initiative partners during the same period.
A notable example of a SSHRC Strategic Joint Initiative is the Metropolis Project, which involves SSHRC and other federal departments and agencies concerned with immigration and integration policy issues. An investment of close to $1.5 million annually, for five years, to fund the five existing research centres has been signed. In 2007, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), on behalf of the consortium of federal departments, and SSHRC have signed a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding to renew the funding for the Metropolis Project for a third phase (i.e., 2007-12). In 2007-08, the Metropolis Project also launched an annual National Research Competition to finance a major national level policy research project in the field of immigration and diversity. A research grant of $122,588 was awarded to Lori Wilkinson of the University of Manitoba for her project entitled “The labour market transitions of newly arrived immigrant youth: a tri-provincial study.”
Other Strategic Joint Initiatives active in 2007-08 include the Sport Participation Research Initiative (with Sport Canada); the Canadian Initiative on Social Statistics (with Statistics Canada); and the Ocean Management Research Network (with Fisheries and Oceans Canada).
The Canadian Initiative on Social Statistics Access to Research Data Centres program is currently involved in a metadata project that is changing the way that researchers search for data, as well as developing a secure Intranet system for the centres in the network to facilitate secure access to confidential data. Statistics Canada and SSHRC are working to harmonize their websites for this important joint initiative.
An evaluation of the Strategic Joint Initiatives program mechanism was conducted in 2006-07 to assess whether the program mechanism continues to be relevant and whether it is effective in terms of governance, design and delivery. It also aimed at providing insights into the overall results/impacts of the mechanism. Although the evaluation indicates a number of areas for improvement in terms of management, delivery and governance, it also points to positive impacts in terms of developing partnerships, leveraging funds for social sciences research, and developing research and knowledge mobilization capacity. The evaluation report suggests that “impacts could be greater if more resources were invested or if fewer [Joint Initiative] programs were pursued.” SSHRC is examining options to improve the effectiveness of the program in the context of its strategic ambitions of quality, connections and impact. Joint Initiatives, as well as other partnership mechanisms, are also an important feature of SSHRC’s evolving partnerships strategy.
Established in 2001, the overall goal of the $100-million Initiative on the New Economy (INE) is to help Canada and Canadians adapt successfully to, and reap the benefits of, the new economy. More specifically, the INE seeks to foster excellent research to deepen our understanding of the new economy, and to develop partnerships among the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
In 2007-08, the last fiscal year of activity for this significant initiative, the remaining portion of funds ($4.5 million) were disbursed for the INE Collaborative Research Initiatives grants, the INE Public Outreach Grants, and INE-related projects in other SSHRC programs.
In 2007, SSHRC undertook a summative evaluation of the INE (to be completed by March 2009), which is examining the initiative’s relevance, its achievements, results and efficiency, and outlining lessons learned. This evaluation will provide SSHRC and other key stakeholders with evidence on the success of the initiative, which could serve as a potential model for other SSHRC programs and funding initiatives.
The program activities in this category are aimed at exploring and developing new perspectives, directions, modes and institutional capacity for research in the social sciences and humanities. Key programs in this category include Community-University Research Alliances (CURA), and the International Opportunities Fund (IOF). This program activity includes special activities that enable SSHRC to strategically position the social sciences and humanities within Canada and internationally.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$24.7 million||$27.9 million||$28.8 million|
|27 FTEs||29 FTEs||+2|
Expected Results: New perspectives, directions, modes and institutional capacity for research in the social sciences and humanities are explored and developed.
Performance 2007-08: In the context of the new funding announced by the Government of Canada for management, business and finance research, SSHRC held a special competition for the International Opportunities Fund program, where another 21 projects received funding in these fields.
In 2007-08, the program activity Strategic Research Development fostered innovative modes of research that pushed the boundaries of traditional scholarship. A new International Community-University Research Alliances (CURA) program was launched in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), building on SSHRC’s successful CURA program that facilitates community-university alliances to generate knowledge through the ongoing collaboration and interaction of researchers and users of research. This research model fosters research, training, mutual learning and the creation of new knowledge in areas of importance for the social, cultural or economic development of Canadian communities.
The new SSHRC-IDRC International CURA program aims to support research projects jointly developed and undertaken by community organizations and postsecondary institutions in Canada and low- and middle-income countries. This SSHRC-IDRC partnership will engage teams from Canada and developing countries in comparing and collaborating on their research, while working with people in communities that will directly benefit from the research. Each International CURA will have a research component, an education and training component, and a knowledge-mobilization component that meets the needs of both academic and community partners.
Actual Spending by Key Programs (Sub-Activities)
|Strategic Research Development||2007-08 Actual ($ millions)|
|Community-University Research Alliances||11.6|
|International Opportunities Fund||3.3|
In 2007-08, SSHRC continued to facilitate the exchange of best practices among CURA grant recipients, including a two-day “start-up meeting” with all newly funded teams to discuss best practices, reporting requirements and impacts.
According to the 2003 Performance Evaluation of the CURA program (pilot phase), “the program succeeded in supporting a set of highly innovative and dynamic university–community alliances... The CURA Pilot Phase has provided a very fertile ground for engaging students in diverse opportunities to acquire community-based research skills and experience… CURAs are generally well-positioned for knowledge mobilization to relevant stakeholders and policy sectors.”
In line with the federal S&T strategy’s Entrepreneurial Advantage, the CURA program supports the co-creation of knowledge across sectors, which helps to ensure that knowledge and expertise traditionally resident in universities is effectively mobilized to address knowledge needs beyond the university. This mobilization of knowledge helps to ensure greater and more immediate impact of public investments in research, and enables community social and economic development.
Community-University Research Alliances Profile
Partnering for Sustainable Resource Management
The University of Northern British Columbia
The co-management of the John Prince Research Forest by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Tl’azt’en First Nation is an excellent example of the goals of the Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), which aims to support collaboration, innovative research and mutual learning between community organizations and post-secondary institutions in Canada.
The partnership serves as a model of ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable resource management by producing innovative natural resource management approaches through research, environmental education and community training.
For the Tl’azt’en Nation, benefits from UNBC support include education and expertise in research, project management and the transfer of traditional knowledge. For UNBC, the Tl’azt’en provides improved First Nations content across the university curricula of UNBC’s Natural Resources and Environmental Studies programs, and allows for graduate training experiences with First Nations partners that will foster knowledge of cross-cultural research protocols as well as potential future partnerships.
Acquired knowledge and progress is disseminated to a wide audience including community members, other First Nations, academics, government officials, forestry professionals and non-governmental organizations. This alliance will likely act as a successful model for First Nations collaborative research projects in Canada.
The International Opportunities Fund is one of several modalities through which SSHRC supports international collaboration at both the agency and the research levels. The International Opportunities Fund was established in 2005 to help researchers from Canadian postsecondary institutions initiate and develop international research collaborations, and to facilitate Canadian participation and leadership in current or planned international research initiatives offering outstanding opportunities to advance Canadian research. Interest in this program has been very strong. In 2007-08, there were 197 applicants, of whom 66 received awards. Results of the IOF competitions in 2007-08 clearly demonstrate that Canadian researchers are actively pursuing international collaboration opportunities with researchers from across the globe, including North America (53 per cent), Europe (24 per cent), Africa (7 per cent), the Pacific region (7 per cent), South America (5 per cent), and Asia and the Middle East (4 per cent). The overwhelming number of submissions and their quality confirm a need for improved support for international collaborative research opportunities.
SSHRC’s international policy and strategy acknowledges the importance of international collaboration to help sustain excellence in research and position Canadian research in the world. It recognizes the need to create better opportunities for Canadian researchers to lead and participate in international collaborative research. More information on SSHRC’s international policy and strategy and related activities is provided in Section IV, Other Items of Interest.
The development of new approaches and methodologies to better capture the broad societal impact of its investments is of direct strategic importance to SSHRC. Following the 2006-07 special call for new approaches to capturing the impacts of research in the social sciences and humanities, the three funded research projects became part of a SSHRC-sponsored symposium on the benefits of research, involving partners from Canada and the United States at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Saskatoon in May 2007. In September 2007, SSHRC issued a President’s Fund Call for Research on Capturing the Outcomes and Impacts of Publicly Funded Research, resulting in an additional 14 funded projects.
With the recent funding allocated to the environment and the North, announced in Budget 2008, SSHRC is examining new and improved ways to deliver on its initiative on the social and economic aspects of building a hydrogen economy. Options for more workshops, along the lines of the previous low-carbon series, are currently being explored. SSHRC will be building upon its existing network of universities and public and private-sector partners in developing a set of research and public consultation activities in the areas of environment research on the environment and the North.
In collaboration with the Policy Research Initiative, SSHRC contributed to the Third Symposium on Population, Work and Family in December 2007. Researchers, academics and senior government representatives discussed the social and economic well-being of Canada’s population in 2017. Research and policy discussions focused on the future policy implications of significant structural changes, notably the aging population, the changing nature of work, increasing diversity and shifts in family and societal norms.
Based on the recommendations of its working committees, the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (established by SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) is undertaking a substantial revision of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS). These revisions include two new chapters, one that addresses research involving Aboriginal peoples, and one that addresses qualitative research, an issue of particular interest to the social sciences and humanities research community. The Interagency Advisory Panel will be releasing a draft of the revised TCPS for public consultation in the fall of 2008.
Beginning in 2006-07, SSHRC joined together with NSERC, CIHR, Health Canada and other stakeholders at the Sponsors’ Table to examine options for a system of governance of research involving humans that will extend beyond research funded by the three granting agencies. A committee of experts, composed of academic researchers from across Canada, was created by the Sponsors’ Table. Following consultations undertaken by the Sponsors’ Table, the Experts Committee released a final report and recommendations on the governance of research ethics in Canada in the spring of 2008. The Interagency Advisory Panel continues to be actively involved in the governance dialogue taking place at the Sponsors’ Table.
Strategic Outcome 3 encompasses significant SSHRC programs in support of Priority 3: Ensure that knowledge generates benefits for Canadians. The key program activity, Research Communication and Interaction, through programs such as Knowledge Impact in Society and Strategic Knowledge Clusters, links closely to Government of Canada priorities articulated in the federal S&T strategy. The theory and the practice of knowledge mobilization embrace and contribute to all three advantages articulated within the strategy.
Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is a core priority for SSHRC, aimed at facilitating and enabling the mobilization of knowledge generated through SSHRC-funded research to various sectors of society in order to enhance understanding and decision-making. SSHRC actively supports the networking, dissemination, exchange and co-creation of social sciences and humanities research knowledge. The overall objective is to enable those who stand to benefit from research results in the humanities and social sciences—academics, students, policy-makers, business leaders, community groups, educators and the media, among others—to have access to knowledge at a level they can use in order to advance social, economic, environmental and cultural development within Canada and internationally.
SSHRC aims to embed knowledge mobilization in its organizational culture as a fundamental value and major orientation. In 2007-08, under the aegis of the new Partnerships Directorate, a Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) and Program Integration Division was established to lead SSHRC’s knowledge mobilization activities and the harmonization and integration of SSHRC’s KMb programs, projects and associated policies across the Partnerships, Grants and Fellowships Directorates.
Research, and the creation of new knowledge and capacity through research, produces direct and indirect social, economic and cultural benefits to Canadians. These benefits are achieved largely by mobilizing and applying research-based knowledge. In fact, effectively mobilizing knowledge and applying research results are as important as the research itself, and can be seen as an essential component of effective scholarship. Examples include improvements to public and private services (such as education), infrastructure (such as through urban planning), policies (such as immigration), and practices and procedures (such as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms), as well as the development and refinement of broad analytical concepts (such as productivity) and a better understanding of key challenges for Canada, both at the national and international levels.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$22.4 million||$57.9 million||$61.0 million|
|17 FTEs||18 FTEs||+1|
Expected Results: New social sciences and humanities knowledge is disseminated within and between disciplines, and between researchers and users of research in broader society.
Performance 2007-08: Knowledge mobilization is a dominant theme in the SSHRC’s strategic vision set out in Framing Our Direction. In 2007-08, SSHRC worked to promote knowledge mobilization on several fronts: policy, programs and corporate operations. These plans and activities are guided by the knowledge mobilization framework approved by SSHRC’s governing Council in June 2006 and updated in a presentation to Council in October 2007.
In collaboration with the research community and other partners, in 2006, SSHRC launched the Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS) pilot program to help universities enhance the use of research beyond the campus. SSHRC has completed two rounds of funding under the Knowledge Impact in Society pilot program (2006 and 2007).
In 2007, SSHRC launched its first Open-Access Research Journals pilot competition in order to support online publications made available to readers without charge, thus increasing readership, both nationally and internationally, for research journals that publish original scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC also continued to support the dissemination of research results and the mobilization of knowledge through its programs for scholarly publications, research workshops and conferences, and scholarly associations.
SSHRC also held another competition of the Strategic Knowledge Clusters program. This program supports networks of researchers and partners sharing knowledge on themes of strategic and intellectual importance.
Finally, as part of the special funding opportunities provided for management, business and finance research, SSHRC made special awards in several program sub-activities within the program activity Research Communication and Interaction: Knowledge Impact in Society, Strategic Knowledge Clusters, Networks of Centres of Excellence, and Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada.
Actual Spending by Key Programs (Sub-Activities)
|Research Communication and Interaction, by Sub-Activity||2007-08 Actual ($ millions)|
|Knowledge Impact in Society||2.8|
|Strategic Knowledge Clusters||3.7|
|Aid to Research and Transfer Journals||2.4|
|Networks of Centres of Excellence||44.5|
In 2007-08, SSHRC continued to monitor the 11 Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS) demonstration projects with a view to determining best practices in the field. KIS grant recipients met during the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2008 as part of SSHRC’s all-day knowledge mobilization event, SSHRC KMb: Within and Beyond Borders. The event, which sought to facilitate continued growth of a knowledge mobilization community of practice, showcased best practices from the research teams.
A cornerstone of SSHRC’s new strategic vision, “clustering” of research efforts promotes research interaction and knowledge mobilization. The Council launched the Strategic Knowledge Clusters program in 2006. The program, which funds research networking activities, is designed to promote key aspects of SSHRC’s strategic thrust to strengthen connections among researchers and between researchers and users of research, create innovative research training environments, and promote and showcase Canadian research strengths internationally.
Strategic Knowledge Clusters
In 2007-08, the Strategic Knowledge Clusters program received $22 million over seven years to fund 11 new clusters. Their research will cover critical issues including globalization, homelessness, education, heritage and business sustainability.
For more information and a list of the eleven winning projects see: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/whatsnew-quoi_neuf/pr-communiques/2008/clusters-reseaux-eng.aspx.
Sustainable Prosperity Research and Policy Network
The Sustainable Prosperity Research Network, for example, seeks to overcome the existing challenges to achieving environmentally sustainable economic development by bringing together academic researchers from a range of disciplines and countries with senior policy practitioners from government, business and civil society in order to advance and synthesize knowledge, foster dialogue across disciplines and sectors, and cultivate innovative, policy-relevant research in the area of sustainability.
In accomplishing these goals, the network will help inform and accelerate Canada’s shift to a new generation of market-based environmental approaches, thus generating significant environmental, economic and social benefits and help to position Canada as a global leader in sustainability.Stewart Elgie, lead investigator of the Sustainable Prosperity Research and Policy Network, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.
Responding to changes in the world of academic communication, particularly in the adoption of electronic publication and open-access business models, in 2007-08, SSHRC expanded the Aid to Research and Transfer Journals program to include open-access journals, and allocated funding to support the dissemination of top-quality scholarship through open-access research journals. This is a significant change, and helps put SSHRC at the forefront of international practice in this area.
The Aid to Scholarly Publications program (ASPP), although relatively small in monetary terms, plays a major role in the scholarly careers of social sciences and humanities researchers by providing financial support for the publication of nearly 200 scholarly books annually. The program is administered for SSHRC by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. For a list of works funded by the ASPP in 2007-08, see: http://www.fedcan.ca/english/pdf/publications/annualreport2007.pdf.
Mobilizing research excellence for the benefit of Canadians, the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) bring together researchers and partners from the academic, private, public and non-profit sectors in areas of strategic importance for Canada: Information and Communication Technologies, Engineering and Manufacturing, Environment and Natural Resources, and the Health and Life Sciences. These partnerships among universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations are aimed at turning Canadian research and entrepreneurial talent into economic and social benefits for all Canadians. The NCE program is jointly administered by Canada’s three research granting agencies, in partnership with Industry Canada, and is housed within NSERC. In 2007-08, SSHRC continued building, maintaining and enhancing interdisciplinary national networks of researchers through the NCE program.
In 2007-08, an evaluation was conducted of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. The evaluation concluded that the NCE “occupies a unique position in addressing issues that are important to Canada in an integrated manner” and that the program “produces significant incremental benefits to Canada and Canadians, and that it is managed in a cost-effective and efficient manner.” At the same time, the evaluation notes that the program is only partially meeting its stated training objectives, and recommends that the NCEs develop additional strategies designed specifically to bolster the multidisciplinary and multisectoral components of training highly qualified personnel.
The NCE program is a highly successful program, with very good potential to continue to deliver on government priorities. However, the role and participation of the social sciences and humanities in the NCEs has been a concern over the years. NCEs are multidisciplinary, and while there are currently no NCE networks focused primarily on social sciences and humanities areas, a number of them do offer research perspectives on the social, economic and ethical aspects of broader issues. This is evident, for instance, in such networks as AUTO21 (focusing on questions related to the automotive industry) and the Sustainable Forest Management Network.
Strategic Outcome 4 links directly to Priority 4: “Ensure a strong and balanced research environment.” Through the Indirect Costs program, the federal government protects its substantial investment in research by helping universities ensure that federally-funded projects are carried out in world-class facilities with the best equipment and administrative support available.
Budget 2008 announced that $15 million would be added to the $315-million-per-annum funding which supports about 130 eligible universities, colleges, and affiliated research hospitals and health research institutes through the Indirect Costs program.
The Secretariat of the Canada Research Chairs Program, which is housed at SSHRC, administers the Indirect Costs program on behalf of the three federal granting agencies.
The key goal of the Indirect Costs program is to help eligible institutions pay a portion of the indirect costs associated with conducting federally supported academic research along five key investment areas: facilities, research resources, management and administration, regulatory requirements and accreditation, and intellectual property.
Indirect costs may include things such as library acquisitions, maintenance of research databases, renovation of laboratories, and the promotion of research programs to the public. Universities, colleges and other eligible institutions receive Indirect Costs grant allocations based on the average research funding they have received from the three granting agencies over a rolling three-year period. Smaller institutions, which cannot realize the economies of scale actualized by larger universities, benefit from a higher allocation formula, thus allowing them to build their research capacity and excellence.
|Planned Spending||Authorities||Actual Spending|
|$300.1 million||$314.4 million||$313.8 million|
|4 FTEs||4 FTEs||0|
Expected Results: Canadian universities, colleges, and affiliated research hospitals and health research institutes offer an enhanced institutional research environment.
Performance 2007-08: In 2006-07, the most recent year for which data are available, 35 per cent of the Indirect Costs funds were spent on facilities; 21 per cent on research resources; 32 per cent on management and administration; 7 per cent on regulatory requirements and accreditation; and 5 per cent on intellectual property management. Through site visits, key informant interviews and annual reports submitted by recipient institutions, SSHRC has been able to capture the results and impacts of Indirect Costs funding.
For example, through an Indirect Costs grant, Dalhousie University was able to upgrade generators in the marine research facility to ensure consistent power and air supply. During Hurricane Juan, generators had failed, causing the loss of 3,000 of the 5,000 research fish, many of which were expensive transgenic species.
Many universities use Indirect Costs funds to pay for library resources, such as online journal subscriptions and databases (e.g., Canadian Research Knowledge Network). Trent University has established world-leading gigabit connectivity to databases such as ORION, CANARIE, and SHARKNET. This has made it possible for researchers to share and process large amounts of data, as well as engage in international research partnerships.
Success in increasing external support for research endeavours can also be linked directly to the Indirect Costs program. At the University of Calgary, for example, the introduction and maintenance of recruitment and retention strategies made possible by Indirect Costs funds has led to a context where researchers at the university actively and successfully seek major external awards and support. Lakehead University reports that the Indirect Costs funds have enabled the university to obtain matching dollars from other funding programs, more than tripling the dollars available for commercialization initiatives.
Ensuring regulatory compliance is hugely expensive. Support from the Indirect Costs program allows universities and other eligible research institutions to sustain and strengthen regulatory compliance related to their research activities. For example, the University of Ottawa reported that support from the Indirect Costs program is very much needed to sustain and strengthen their regulatory compliance activities related to research.
Recipient institutions also report that Indirect Costs grants have contributed demonstrably to their ability to attract and retain world-class researchers.
In preparation for an upcoming program evaluation, the Indirect Costs program improved its performance management in 2007-08 by updating its annual outcomes report and validating the information it contains. The program also developed and implemented a protocol for monitoring site visits to ensure that participating institutions are complying with program objectives. An evaluability assessment exercise began in early 2008 to prepare for a summative evaluation of the Indirect Costs program. The expected completion of the summative evaluation is March 2009.
|Strategic Outcome 1.0: People – A First-Class research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities|
|Actual Spending 2007-08|
|Budgetary||Non-budgetary||Total||Alignment to Government of Canada Outcome Area|
|Program Activity 1.1 Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes||100.3||—||100.3||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Program Activity 1.2 Canada Research Chairs||58.6||—||58.6||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Strategic Outcome 2.0: Research – New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities|
|Actual Spending 2007-08||Alignment to Government of Canada Outcome Area|
|Budgetary||Non-budgetary||Total||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Program Activity 2.1 Investigator-Framed Research||91.1||—||91.1||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Program Activity 2.2 Targeted Research and Training Initiatives||27.4||—||27.4||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Program Activity 2.3 Strategic research Development||28.8||—||28.8||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Strategic Outcome 3.0: Knowledge Mobilization – The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Knowledge|
|Actual Spending 2007-08|
|Budgetary||Non-budgetary||Total||Alignment to Government of Canada Outcome Area|
|Program Activity 3.1 Research Communication and Interaction||61.0||—||61.0||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
|Strategic Outcome 4.0: Institutional Environment – A Strong Canadian Research Environment|
|Actual Spending 2007-08|
|Budgetary||Non-budgetary||Total||Alignment to Government of Canada Outcome Area|
|Program Activity 4.1 Indirect Costs of Research||313.8||—||313.8||An innovative and knowledge-based economy|
Specifically, SSHRC’s promotion and assistance of research and scholarship contribute to:
SSHRC develops and administers a diversified suite of programs that continue to evolve in response to the changing needs and expectations of SSHRC's clientele and of Canadian society as a whole. SSHRC also administers programs, such as the Canada Research Chairs and Indirect Costs programs, on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies, and administers targeted federal initiatives such as the Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) program. Such tri-agency programs and targeted federal initiatives represent more than 66 per cent of SSHRC's overall grants and scholarships expenditures of $657.3 million for 2007-08.
In order to administer this large complement of programs, SSHRC spent $21.5 million on personnel and other operating expenditures in 2007-08 and $2.2 million on the Employee Benefits Plan. Combined, this represents 3.5 per cent of SSHRC's total expenditures for the same period. Detailed financial information for SSHRC is provided in the following tables.
Table 1 offers a comparison of the Main Estimates, planned spending, total authorities, and actual spending for the 2007-08 fiscal year, as well as historical figures for actual spending.
|($ millions)||2005-06 Actual||2006-07 Actual||2007–2008|
|1.1 Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes||89.4||96.7||102.3||102.3||105.6||100.3|
|1.2 Canada Research Chairs||52.3||56.7||61.8||61.8||61.9||58.6|
|2.1 Investigator-Framed Research||95.5||99.0||90.6||90.6||91.2||91.1|
|2.2 Targeted Research and Training Initiatives||34.0||28.4||17.4||17.4||24.6||27.4|
|2.3 Strategic Research Development||19.4||22.8||24.7||24.7||27.9||28.8|
|3.1 Research Communication and Interaction||21.3||23.3||22.4||22.4||57.9||61.0|
|4.1 Indirect Costs of Research||259.4||298.3||300.1||300.1||314.4||313.8|
|Less: Non-Respendable Revenue||-1.8||-1.7||N/A||-1.8||N/A||-1.7|
|Plus: Cost of Services Received Without Charge||3.1||3.2||N/A||3.1||N/A||3.3|
|Total Departmental Spending||572.6||626.7||N/A||620.6||N/A||682.6|
Table 2 compares the total actual spending against the total authorized spending. Total authorities represent main estimates plus funds obtained through supplementary estimates, and refer to spending levels approved by the Government of Canada.
|Vote or Statutory Item||Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording||Main Estimates||Planned Spending||Total Authorities||Actual|
|85||Grants and contributions||596,984||596,984||658,688||657,317|
|(S)||Contributions to employee benefit plans||2,283||2,283||2,245||2,245|
For supplementary information on the department's sources of respendable and non-respendable revenue please visit: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/st-ts-eng.asp.
In 2007-08, SSHRC managed the following transfer payment programs in excess of $5 million:
Further information on these projects can be found at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/st-ts-eng.asp.
For supplementary information on the department’s response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits please visit: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/st-ts-eng.asp.
For supplementary information on the department's Internal Audits and Evaluations, please visit: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/st-ts-eng.asp.
SSHRC follows TBS travel policy parameters.
SSHRC's audited financial statements for this fiscal year will be presented in its 2007-08 Annual Report.
In 2007-08, in compliance with the new TBS policy on evaluation, SSHRC implemented a Corporate Performance and Evaluation Committee (PEC) composed of SSHRC’s senior executives and chaired by the president of SSHRC.
Audit, performance and evaluation staffing challenges were largely resolved in 2007-08. As a result, all planned program evaluations identified in SSHRC’s evaluation plan for 2007-08 were completed and, where appropriate, are cited throughout this report. Final evaluation reports and management responses are made available on SSHRC’s website at: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/about-crsh/publications/pub_evaluations-eng.aspx.
As noted in the 2007-08 RPP, SSHRC is exploring alternative arrangements to ensure a competent and continuing internal audit function. To that end, SSHRC entered into an interim shared service arrangement with NSERC for Internal Audit Services in July 2007.
Two major internal audits were completed in 2007-08, in accordance with Internal Audit’s long-term plan. These were:
1. Audit of the Adequacy, Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Non-Financial Administration of the Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes programs:
2. Audit of Controls over the Integrity of Information in the Report on Plans and Priorities.
Throughout this exercise, management has demonstrated a commitment to addressing all issues in a timely fashion. Management has suggested that a follow-up review be undertaken at the end of 2008-09.
A continuing dialogue has occurred with the Office of the Comptroller General to keep that office informed of SSHRC’s plans and progress to implement the Policy on Internal Audit by April 1, 2009.
The Standing Committee on Governance and Nominations continued its work on developing terms of reference and a committee structure that reflect SSHRC’s governing council’s commitment to strengthened governance. In March 2008, the Standing Committee submitted a final report and recommendations on strengthened governance to council, including revised Terms of Reference, and a revised committee structure (Executive, Governance and Nominations Committee, Audit and Risk Committee, Programs and Quality Committee, and Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces).
In 2007-08, based on a thorough and broadly consultative planning process, SSHRC developed and began implementing a comprehensive communications strategy. A series of overarching communications goals were developed—goals which are closely aligned with SSHRC’s corporate goals of quality, connections, and impact. Key goals include the aim to promote the use of knowledge generated by SSHRC-funded research and to demonstrate the value of SSHRC-funded research and talent. Significant progress was made towards implementing the communications strategy. SSHRC’s visual identity was refreshed, a series of outreach activities with key stakeholders was undertaken and Dialogue, SSHRC’s new online newsletter, began publication.
The three federal granting agencies have for many years collaborated and coordinated their plans and activities in key areas such as joint oversight mechanisms, policies, and funding programs. Such collaboration aims to increase their effectiveness and to reduce community duplication of effort. Collaboration between the agencies also enables the support of cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary research initiatives designed to address important scientific opportunities and problems that matter to Canadians.
In the changing research environment, coordination and collaboration between the federal granting agencies is more important than ever, and is in fact a key tenet of the federal S&T strategy. In that context, SSHRC and its sister agencies are working together, and with the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) where appropriate, on four key areas of priority: coordination of programs and processes, improving the ability to measure and report on the impact of S&T expenditures, international collaboration and advising on the balance in funding. Accomplishments in 2007-08 included:
Following a comprehensive harmonization analysis, SSHRC and NSERC identified a single CV that could meet the requirements of both agencies. The exercise was followed by a formal assessment of the Canadian Common CV (CCV), including an analysis of the CCV data elements for alignment with the current version of the CV standard developed by the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information, to identify the degree to which the consolidated NSERC and SSHRC CV could be further harmonized with the CCV. In light of CV harmonization successes realized throughout the year, SSHRC publicly announced its intention to use the CCV for its Postdoctoral Fellowships program applications in the fall of 2008.
SSHRC’s International Policy and Strategy acknowledges the importance of international collaboration to help sustain excellence in research and position Canadian research in the world. At the research level, SSHRC promotes international collaboration through several programs that allow for such collaboration: MCRI, INE, Strategic Knowledge Clusters, International CURA, and Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada. In addition, SSHRC offers two programs that explicitly target international research collaboration: its own International Opportunities Fund (see Section II above), and the European Science Foundation’s (ESF) BOREAS program: Histories from the North – environments, movements, narratives.
In 2007-08, SSHRC continued to expand its efforts to develop international collaboration opportunities for Canadian researchers, and to strengthen existing international partnerships and forge new ones. For example:
In addition to program initiatives, in 2007-08, SSHRC continued to build partnerships with international funding organizations to develop opportunities for Canadian researchers to collaborate with international colleagues and to showcase Canadian research internationally. More specifically, SSHRC was a member of three consortia of granting agencies funded by the European Union.
Since 2005, SSHRC has partnered with the European Science Foundation (ESF) BOREAS program. This program’s objective is to develop and run an interdisciplinary humanities research program focused on the circumpolar north. Of the seven BOREAS projects funded by the ESF, six involve Canadian researchers—a fact that reflects Canada’s research strengths in this area.
Finally, much of SSHRC’s international research support also links to key strategic priorities, both of the Canadian government and of the international community. For example, research in and about the North is one of SSHRC’s strategic priorities. It is also a federal government priority stated in consecutive Speeches from the Throne and in key policy documents, including Canada’s Performance, where protecting the integrity of Canada’s sovereignty and borders is a strategic outcome. SSHRC has been an active partner in Canada’s International Polar Year (IPY) activities, providing support to research and to the IPY coordinating Secretariat based at the University of Alberta.
In March 2007, the Government of Canada announced it would provide $11 million annually to SSHRC to support additional research in management, business and finance (MBF). This new funding provides a significant opportunity for the research community, its partners and other stakeholders to contribute towards innovative management, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development practices in Canada through internationally recognized research and training.
As a result, SSHRC developed special funding opportunities for 2007-08 in support of research excellence in the areas of MBF. Overall, response was tremendous from the social sciences and humanities research community to the special call for grants funding. Specific sub-activities receiving funding under this initiative included: MBF Research Grants, an MBF component of Research Development Initiatives, MBF Outreach Grants, an MBF component of the Knowledge Impact in Society pilot program, an MBF component of the International Opportunities Fund, an MBF component of Strategic Knowledge Clusters, and an MBF component of the Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada program.
In 2007-08, SSHRC was engaged in discussions with the social sciences and humanities community, and others, to develop a longer-term strategy for investments in these areas. This strategy is available at: http://www.sshrc.ca/web/apply/background/mbf_investment_strategy_e.asp.
In November 2007, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) was requested by SSHRC to conduct an assessment of university-based research in management, business and finance. The findings will assist SSHRC in developing a long-term strategy for investing this new MBF funding. The report of the CCA’s expert panel is expected to be completed and made public between late 2008 and early 2009.
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4 Canada Research Chairs are allocated roughly in proportion to the level of funding provided to each discipline area by the granting agencies. Approximately 22 per cent of Canada Research Chairs are in the social sciences and humanities disciplines.
6 It is unlikely that the full complement of 2,000 Chairs will ever be filled in its entirety at any given time. This is due to the natural dynamism of the program, as chairholders retire and universities are in the process of submitting new nominations.
8 Source: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 71F0004XCB; cited in a draft report commissioned by SSHRC, The Economic Role and Influence of the Social Sciences and Humanities: A Conjecture; March 2008; The Impact Group.