SECTION II: ANALYSIS OF PROGRAM ACTIVITIES BY STRATEGIC OUTCOME

Strategic Outcome 1: People—A First-Class Research Capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities

SSHRC's results under the strategic outcome "People" contribute to the Government of Canada outcome of "An Innovative and Knowledge-based Society," and help generate Canada's people advantage. The social sciences and humanities community comprises Canada's largest research population and forms a significant proportion of Canada's pool of highly qualified personnel, an internationally recognized societal indicator of performance, excellence and quality of life.

SSHRC's investments in people help to ensure that Canada benefits from highly qualified research-trained personnel, available to pursue various knowledge-intensive careers within universities, industry, government, and other sectors of the economy.

According to Statistics Canada, social sciences and humanities disciplines (including education, fine and applied arts, humanities, and social sciences) accounted for nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of total university enrolment in 2007-08 (The Daily, March 11, 2009). Fifty-four per cent of full-time faculty at Canadian universities work in social sciences and humanities disciplines.

Program Activity: Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes

This program activity addresses the need for highly qualified personnel trained in the social sciences and humanities to work with the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, as well as the need for faculty renewal at universities.


Program Activity: Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
104.1 105.7 108.1 28 24 -4

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Highly qualified personnel, expert in research, are available to pursue knowledge-intensive careers within universities, industry, government and other sectors. Met expectations SSHRC awarded 2,576 master's, doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and awards in 2008-09 to some of the best and brightest in the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC met the established targets for the Canada Graduate Scholarships.
  1. 1,300 master's Canada Graduate Scholarships
  2. 430 doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarships
  3. 675 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships
  4. 171 SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships

In addition, SSHRC allocated 100 doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarships and 300 master's Canada Graduate Scholarships in the field of business. The evaluation of the Canada Graduate Scholarships program and SSHRC doctoral awards found that these programs are enhancing the quality of graduate training, and increasing the number of highly qualified personnel graduating from Canadian universities.


Trend: Increasing

Trends among fellowships and scholarships 
*Applications and Awards do not include prizes and special fellowships.

Benefits for Canadians

Activities under Fellowships, Scholarships and Prizes directly contribute to meeting the need an innovative, knowledge-based society has for a pool of talented people capable of learning, analyzing and sharing knowledge, and sparking innovation. A SSHRC-commissioned study by The Impact Group, entitled The Economic Role and Influence of the Social Sciences and Humanities: A Conjecture, suggests that industries based mainly on social sciences and humanities knowledge account for a significant percentage of total employment in Canada. These people add to Canada's highly educated, highly skilled workforce in all sectors of the economy. In addition to fellowships and awards, SSHRC recognizes outstanding social sciences and humanities scholars through several internationally recognized prestigious prizes.

Performance Analysis

SSHRC's fellowships, scholarships and prizes help address the demand for people with high levels of postsecondary education in all sectors of the economy. In 2008-09, SSHRC offered a total of 2,576 fellowships and scholarships to talented people. These people will ultimately pursue careers in all sectors of the economy, contributing to Canada's knowledge-based, innovative society.

The Canada Graduate Scholarships program is a key sub-activity under this program activity. Administered by the three federal research granting agencies, this program has a master's and a doctoral component. Two new tri-agency programs, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program and the Canada Graduate Scholarships—Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements program, were announced and implemented in 2008-09. When fully operational, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships will support 500 Canadian and international doctoral students with two- or three-year scholarships worth $50,000 per year.

An evaluation of the Canada Graduate Scholarships and SSHRC doctoral programs conducted in 2008-09 established that there is a continuing need for Canada Graduate Scholarships and related programs. The evaluation found that access to funding had an impact on the decision to enroll in graduate studies. There was a correlation between the award and students' involvement in significant research. The programs are meeting two key goals: to enhance the quality of graduate training, and to increase the number of highly qualified personnel graduating from Canadian universities to the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

According to a large majority of the 9,000 students surveyed, graduate studies improved the students' prospects of getting permanent jobs in areas relevant to their chosen disciplines. At both the master's level (89 per cent) and doctorate level (93 per cent), Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients were significantly more likely to share this perspective than respective non-award groups.

Lessons Learned

The Canada Graduate Scholarships evaluation found a need for more rigorous performance measurement indicators and processes. Areas for possible improvement include further research to determine the optimal level of support extended to graduate students, and the effectiveness of need-based support and excellence-based awards.

In order to best meet the strategic objective of the new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program, the three agencies publicly committed to achieve a seamless harmonization of the program in year two of the implementation. Key measures included a common website, similar agency program descriptions, harmonized program delivery and platforms, and an interim coordinating function. The three federal research granting agencies implemented these as "best practices" in fall 2009.

Program Activity: Canada Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs Program invests $300 million a year across the three funding agencies to attract to Canada, and retain, some of the world's most accomplished and promising scholars in all areas of research. The program's objective is 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 program and hosts the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies—SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR.


Program Activity: Canada Research Chairs
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
61.8 63.1 59.2 21 23 +2

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
A world-class research capacity is enhanced in the social sciences and humanities at Canadian universities and research institutes through the attraction and retention of excellent researchers. Met expectations There are currently 1,831 Canada Research Chairs at 70 universities across Canada, of which 584 (31 per cent) have been filled by researchers recruited from abroad, including 265 Canadian expatriates. Over 22 per cent of Chairs are in the social sciences and humanities. In 2008-09 a total of 384 new or renewed Chairs were announced at Canadian universities.

According to a web survey conducted as part of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Peer Review, chairholders themselves note that their research is used both nationally and internationally, in non-academic sectors of the economy as well as in academic settings.


Trend: Not applicable due to allocation based model

Benefits for Canadians

As noted by federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear, "The Canada Research Chairs Program helps universities attract and retain the best researchers in the world, which promotes job creation, enhances the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy for future generations."

In September 2008, the federal government formally launched the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, a tri-agency initiative administered by the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat. The new Canada Excellence Research Chairs program will strengthen Canada's ability to attract the world's top researchers and develop ambitious research programs in the four priority research areas noted in the Government of Canada's S&T strategy: environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences, and information and communication technologies.


Find an expert
A database of over 1,800 profiles of Canada Research Chairs and the relevance of their research is available on the Chairs website for those looking for an expert in the social sciences, the humanities, health, the natural sciences or engineering.
Helping children succeed
"If we want less violence in our society, our target must be early intervention and support for pregnant women and families who are at risk of raising aggressive children. Our research points to a pressing need to offer a range of resources to these families."
—Richard Tremblay, psychology, Université de Montréal

Performance Analysis

In a web survey of over 6,000 Canadian social sciences and humanities scholars, Canada Research Chair holders (representing 50 per cent of all social sciences and humanities chairs in Canada) were compared with non-chairholders. In the academic sector a significantly higher proportion (98 per cent) of senior Canada Research Chairs stated that their research was used internationally compared to non-chairholders (80 per cent). Moreover, this difference was even larger in terms of non-academic, international use of social science and humanities research.

Through the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, up to 20 successful chairholders, and their research teams, will each receive up to $10 million over seven years to establish ambitious research programs in research areas that are of strategic importance to Canada. In December 2008, Phase 1 of the new Canada Excellence Research Chairs competition saw a total of 135 proposals submitted to the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat by eligible Canadian universities. Phase 1 was successfully completed, and 44 institutions were invited to proceed to Phase 2.

Lessons Learned

Because small universities performed at a much higher level than the original Canada Research Chairs Program design had anticipated, the demand for chairs designated for small universities exceeded the allotment. As a result, the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat introduced a competitive allocation method for distributing this allotment that embodies the principles of consistency, fairness and transparency. Modifications included a new deadline for nominations, a phase-out funding mechanism, and a competitive allocation method for the allocation of chairs to smaller universities.

Strategic Outcome 2: Research—New Knowledge Based on Excellent Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities

SSHRC is Canada's key instrument for supporting world-class research and excellence in the social sciences and humanities. Three program activities contribute to SSHRC's second strategic outcome: Investigator-Framed Research, Targeted Research and Training Initiatives, and Strategic Research Development. Together, these program activities help create a broad spectrum of knowledge and capacity in such areas as anthropology, law, social work, urban and regional studies, linguistics, literature, business, economics, education, and fine arts. This capacity for creating knowledge and understanding is critical for Canada's quality of life and competitiveness in the knowledge economy, and for ensuring Canada's knowledge advantage.

SSHRC-funded research is being used. Researchers funded by SSHRC report higher levels of research use in both academic and non-academic settings, nationally and internationally, than non-funded SSHRC researchers. How is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Being Used? Science-Metrix, 2009.

In response to funding announced in the 2008 federal budget, SSHRC developed and introduced two new funding suites focusing on national priorities: Northern Communities: Towards Social and Economic Prosperity, and Canadian Environmental Issues. Together, these funding suites will contribute to advancing work by the social sciences and humanities community on strategic priorities. They also advance the objectives of the Government of Canada's S&T strategy and Canada's Northern Strategy. These initiatives were developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders and scholars from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds.

Program Activity: Investigator-Framed Research

SSHRC's Investigator-Framed Research grants support individual and team projects and programs of research through two key programs: Standard Research Grants and Major Collaborative Research Initiatives.


Program Activity: Investigator-Framed Research
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
91.0 91.6 89.7 51 53 +2

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Investigator-framed research creates a synergy contributing to observable knowledge advancement and dissemination of research results throughout the academic community and beyond. Met
expectations
In 2008-09, a sample of some of the researchers funded by SSHRC's Investigator-Framed Research programs reported 1,014 research publications and 922 different dissemination activities, such as websites, journal articles, databases, articles in popular media, conference papers, etc. The proportion of applications from research teams for Standard Research Grants has increased from 32 per cent in 1998-99 to 42 per cent in 2009-10. The proportion of multi-authored Canadian social sciences publications doubled to 70 per cent from 1980 to 2002.

Canada is among the most prolific countries for publishing scientific papers in English. It is the third most quoted country behind the US and UK, and ahead of Australia implying good international visibility of Canadian researchers in their fields. (A.J. Nederhof, T.N. Van Leeuwen, and R.J.W. Tijssen [of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies], Bibliometrics and the benchmarking of UK research performance in the social sciences).


Trend: No change

Investigator-framed Research

Benefits for Canadians

Investigator-Framed Research supports the Strategic Outcome "Research" by generating new knowledge; building research capacities; enhancing partnerships and networks of world-class researchers; and providing mentoring, research training, skills, and professional development to graduate and undergraduate students.

Both Standard Research Grants and Major Collaborative Research Initiatives support the creation of knowledge, generation of partnerships and collaborations, and dissemination of research results on pressing social, economic and global issues. Over the past five years, Standard Research Grants have been awarded to more than 8,900 researchers (principal investigators and co-applicants) in the social sciences and humanities. For detailed data on all SSHRC grants awarded since 1998-99, including Standard Research Grants and Major Collaborative Research Initiatives, please consult http://www.outil.ost.uqam.ca/CRSH/RechProj.aspx

Reshaping the workplace in a global era

"Globalization is rewriting the rules of the workplace. People are insecure in this climate of profound change, they need help understanding the implications of what's happening. Our international team is rethinking work and employment—developing new tools and capabilities and envisioning new institutions so that policy-makers, business leaders, unions and other players can see current trends as an opportunity to shape the kind of society they want to live in."
—Gregor Murray, industrial relations, Université de Montréal

Performance Analysis

In 2008-09, the Standard Research Grants program received 2,731 applications and awarded 904 grants. These awards are listed http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/winning-recherche_subventionnee/results-resultats/2009/srg.pdf (pdf document).

While SSHRC has seen a 23 per cent overall increase in demand across its programs, the most pronounced increase has been in demand from junior faculty in the Standard Research Grants program. From 1998 to 2008, applications for Standard Research Grants from new scholars increased by 127 per cent. Applications by regular scholars grew by 44 per cent over the same period. In 2008-09, the growth in demand for Standard Research Grants amounted to nearly eight per cent.

In a recent survey by SSHRC on how research is being used, funded researchers noted that the impact of their research can be measured in several different ways. Some researchers consider that their research has made an impact on civil society, either through informing people of social phenomena or helping social groups to articulate their claims. Other researchers consider their research as a key element in the elaboration of public policies at the three levels of government, either municipal, provincial or federal, through very active collaboration with stakeholders. The private sector also seems to benefit from SSHRC-funded research since several researchers have been very active in the creation of new technologies and the improvement of management processes.

The internationalization of the research enterprise is recognized in SSHRC's Major Collaborative Research Initiatives, forging together the work of many researchers from around the world under the banner of single, large-scale research projects. Over the past three years, foreign-based researchers have represented approximately 40 per cent of Initiatives research team membership. In 2008-09, a total of nine Major Collaborative Research Initiatives grants were awarded (see http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/whatsnew-quoi_neuf/pr-communiques/2009/mcri-grtc-eng.aspx and http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/whatsnew-quoi_neuf/pr-communiques/2008/mcri-grtc-eng.aspx).

Lessons Learned

As part of its strategic priorities in support of its ambition of quality, SSHRC convened a blue ribbon panel of internationally recognized individuals highly respected for their knowledge of and expertise in peer-review processes. The panel concluded that SSHRC's peer-review processes are of the highest international calibre. The panel's final report, as well as the report on the related web survey is available at http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/site/about-crsh/publications/pub_consultations-eng.aspx.

The Blue Ribbon Panel's recommendations conveyed three interlinked key messages: 1) lighten the workload of peer reviewers, and encourage and better recognize their efforts and those of program officers; 2) clearly distinguish issues pertaining to SSHRC policy from those properly attributed to peer-review evaluators; and 3) make all processes more public and transparent to the research community in order to improve understanding of SSHRC's operations and maintain trust and goodwill.

SSHRC has taken several steps as a means of addressing and implementing these lessons. The adjudication process for Standard Research Grants has been shortened and the use of e-submission of peer-review assessments has been expanded with the goal of lightening the workload of peer-reviewers. SSHRC has taken the task of increasing transparency for the academic community by publicizing several items on the website, including the SRG adjudication scoring grid as well as the adjudication committee membership lists. Lastly, SSHRC continues to take into consideration important policy issues as part of ongoing program improvement.

Program Activity: Targeted Research and Training Initiatives

Targeted Research and Training Initiatives focus on intensifying research efforts in particular areas. This activity includes SSHRC's Strategic Research Grants, which support research on identified themes, and Strategic Joint Initiatives, through which SSHRC partners with public, private and not-for-profit organizations to co-fund targeted research and research training support programs.


Program Activity: Targeted Research and Training Initiatives
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
19.0 26.1 28.1 40 42 +2

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Excellent SSHRC-funded research is targeted in areas of importance to Canadians Met
expectations
Program evaluations in 2008-09 indicated that Targeted Research and Training Initiatives activities helped researchers produce a substantial body of multidisciplinary research, and helped increase the number of highly qualified personnel in issue areas of national priority.
  • The Aboriginal Research Pilot Program succeeded at forging a profound and unique connection between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The evaluation found that the program offered close to a total of 500 research training opportunities for Aboriginal students, and mobilized 395 partners in a broad range of sectors, including education, business, social and cultural.  

  • SSHRC-funded INE research has received many research excellence awards/prizes for research on a wide range of topics. The 2008-09 evaluation of the program noted that it resulted in a substantial body of multidisciplinary research, and helped to increase the number of personnel who are highly qualified in new economy issues within Canada. 

SSHRC developed and introduced two new funding suites focusing on national priorities—Northern Communities: Towards Social and Economic Prosperity, and Canadian Environmental Issuesin response to funding announced in the 2008 federal budget. These special calls for proposals will contribute to advancing the objectives of the Government of Canada's S&T strategy and related priorities.


Trend: Not applicable due to irregular competitions

Benefits for Canadians

Targeted Research and Training Initiatives offer mechanisms to support research in areas deemed strategically important and areas identified as national priorities, such as management, business and finance; the environment; and the North. By targeting research in areas of social, cultural and economic national priority, SSHRC is contributing directly to building Canada's knowledge advantage. Researchers who received funds under this program activity reported, on average, two publications and engagement in, on average, three dissemination activities.

According to a 2008-09 study conducted for SSHRC by the Council of Canadian Academies, Canadian research in management, business, and finance ranks above the world average. The panel noted that opportunities exist to much more effectively connect scholars in these areas with collaborators across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors for mutual benefit, and the panel recommended that resources be focused on cultivating those horizontal connections.

Performance Analysis

The new Northern Communities and Canadian Environmental Issues funding suites attracted 258 applications of excellent quality, resulting in 163 awards valued at a total of $10 million. In addition, SSHRC used funds from this special allocation to support 26 one-year awards to new scholars within the 941 Standard Research Grants awarded in 2008-09, and 20 of SSHRC's 153 newly awarded Postdoctoral Fellowships.

The Initiative on the New Economy was the largest new funding initiative in SSHRC's history. SSHRC-funded INE research has received many research excellence awards/prizes for research on a wide range of topics, including cybercartography, e-commerce, cost flexibility in automobile manufacturing, large-small firm partnerships, wage inequality, information privacy, pension funds, web and Canadian competitiveness, governance, forensic accounting, and value creation.  The 2008-09 evaluation of the program noted that it resulted in a substantial body of multidisciplinary research, and helped to increase the number of personnel who are highly qualified in new economy issues within Canada.  The level of appropriate resources allocated to the dissemination of research findings at the program-level was an issue. However, knowledge mobilization of research results at the project level appears to have been more extensive than in other, comparable SSHRC programs.

The evaluation of the Aboriginal Research Pilot Program, completed in 2008, found that the pilot program "effectively nurtured the development of an Aboriginal research paradigm rooted in interdisciplinarity and intercultural exchange." It contributed to the identity of Aboriginal communities in areas such as land claims, and reinforced in academia the value of other ways of knowing.  The evaluation demonstrated that the program offered significant research training opportunities for Aboriginal students.

A summative evaluation of the Metropolis Project Phase II knowledge transfer activities and impacts conducted in 2008-09 with Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated that this initiative is contributing significantly to new knowledge on immigration and integration. The program's research projects, launched in collaboration with community partners, provided relevant information and tools to develop and assess policies and improve services. Evidence demonstrated that Metropolis research has informed government policy-making.

Lessons Learned

A key lesson emerging from the INE evaluation indicated that SSHRC was ableto operationalize the INE program quickly by using established program models (e.g., Major Collaborative Research Initiatives and Joint Initiatives). This model has been replicated in implementing other budget announcements. The evaluation also noted that knowledge mobilization appears to have resulted in more extensive dissemination of research results than in other, comparable SSHRC funding mechanisms.

The Metropolis project evaluation noted that, while federal policy-makers may be accessing Metropolis research, access to and use of Metropolis research may be limited by receptor capacity and institutionalized support. Phase III of the Metropolis project will require the development of knowledge uptake plans from participating centres.

Finally, the Joint Initiatives program evaluation provided SSHRC staff with valuable information for negotiating new joint initiatives with potential partners. The evaluation underscored the importance of clearly describing the roles and responsibilities of SSHRC, its partners, the research community and other involved stakeholders.

Program Activity: Strategic Research Development

SSHRC's Strategic Research Development activities are aimed at exploring and developing new perspectives, directions, modes and institutional capacity for research in the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC's program activity in this area also includes special activities that enable SSHRC to strategically position the social sciences and humanities within Canada and internationally.


Program Activity: Strategic Research Development
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
27.3 31.5 29.4 35 30 -5

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Research institutions are supported to conduct research development; new research and researchers are attracted in strategic and critical areas. Met expectations Programs collectively supported innovative research and training in various areas of strategic importance. In 2008-09, SSHRC awarded a total of 279 Strategic Research Development grants to 88 Canadian postsecondary institutions. Seventeen partnerships were created.

SSHRC's International Opportunities Fund has funded more than 150 projects, with participants in 64 countries. SSHRC awarded 40 grants in 2008-09.

In 2008-09, 269 grants totalling $38 million were allocated in management, business and finance. In addition, SSHRC issued special calls for research on environment and northern communities issues, and is working with sister agencies nationally and internationally to develop more collaborative approaches to strategic research.

SSHRC issued a call for proposals to host a national forum in fall 2009. Advancing Canada's Competitive Advantage—A Forum on Management will bring together researchers, graduate students and partners from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.


Trend: Increasing

Strategic Research Development

Benefits for Canadians

SSHRC's Strategic Research Development activities provide both established and emerging social science and humanities scholars with opportunities to collaborate on groundbreaking research of national and international interest. These efforts address rapidly evolving societal, cultural and economic realities, the increasing collaborative nature of research, and cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary endeavours.

Partnerships in capacity-building

The Partnerships in Capacity Building: Housing, Community Economic Development and Psychiatric Survivors Community-University Research Alliance with The University of Western Ontario was formed in 2003 to evaluate models of housing for patients discharged from psychiatric wards, who frequently became homeless without additional support structures. The Alliance reported that its research impacted decision-making, including changes in government policy, with the Ontario Disability Support Program altering its payment policies to allow direct deposits to landlords to ensure discharged patients could maintain a home.

Performance Analysis

According to a June 2008 report by the Competition Policy Review Panel entitled Compete to Win, Canada has an entrepreneurial deficit, making research all the more critical. Entrepreneurship, knowledge and people are all advantages Canada needs in order to thrive in the new global economy. As a key part of SSHRC's management, business and finance strategy, the Council issued a call for proposals to host a national forum, Advancing Canada's Competitive Advantage—A Forum on Management. The successful application came from HEC Montréal, a leading institution ranked as one of the world's top 100 business schools in a global study by the University of Texas. The purpose of the forum, which will take place from September 29 to October 2, 2009, is to identify opportunities for research, training and knowledge mobilization in management, business, and finance.

In 2008-09, SSHRC partnered with the International Development Research Centre to launch a $6.2-million initiative to link research teams in Canada and the developing world. These International Community-University Research Alliances address S&T priority areas, including environment and natural resource management, and information and communication technologies for development. The four projects awarded in 2008-09 partner Canadian teams with organizations and universities based in Colombia, China, South Africa, Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Brazil, Ghana, and Tanzania.

SSHRC also partnered increasingly with other organizations, communities and scholars in 2008-09. For example, under the auspices of its international strategy, and in keeping with the objectives of the International Opportunities Fund, SSHRC joined with agencies in the US and the UK to create and launch the Digging into Data Challenge. This initiative helps cyberscholarship researchers in the humanities and social sciences develop and deploy innovative research techniques in large-scale data analysis. The Challenge gathered significant interest, receiving 143 letters of intent in the first round of competition.

SSHRC is also partnering with New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe (NORFACE). This network of 15 funding agencies, including partners from Canada, has formed to collaborate on research support and research support policies. NORFACE has jointly launched a four-year transnational research program that focuses on migration issues. The program is an excellent opportunity for Canadian scholars to share their already globally recognized expertise in migration while contributing to a major research agenda alongside leading European scholars.

As well, SSHRC's Research Development Initiatives program provides support to innovative research in its initial stages that will lead to the development of mature research projects. In 2008-09, the program issued a special call on Canadian Environmental Issues to support high-quality interdisciplinary research.

Lessons Learned

The success and lessons learned from 10 years of the Community-University Research Alliances (CURA) program provided momentum for the creation of an international CURA program, jointly developed by SSHRC and the International Development Research Centre.  Through a process of ongoing collaboration and mutual learning, Canadian and international partners will foster comparative research, training and the creation of new knowledge in areas of shared importance for the social, cultural or economic development of communities in Canada and in low and middle income countries.

Strategic Outcome 3: Knowledge Mobilization—The Transfer, Dissemination and Use of Social Sciences and Humanities Knowledge

The implementation of a knowledge mobilization strategy to advance SSHRC's ambitions of connections, quality and impact, and move knowledge from academia into realms where it can be applied more directly to the benefit of Canadians, is a priority in SSHRC's strategic planning. By implementing such a strategy, SSHRC is integrating knowledge mobilization across its entire program suite to facilitate and enable the flow of knowledge between the campus and larger community, thereby contributing to Canada's knowledge, people and entrepreneurial advantages as described in the federal S&T strategy.


Program Activity: Research Communication and Interaction
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
27.4 33.4 36.2 15 23 +8

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Interactions occuring between researchers and between researchers and users of research. Met expectations SSHRC is implementing a knowledge mobilization strategy focused on the application of social sciences and humanities knowledge across diverse fields of inquiry and in sectors outside academia (government, not-for-profit, business).

Public Outreach grants were offered in support of special federal initiatives in management, business and finance (15 awards), Canadian Environmental Issues (18 awards) and Northern Communities (13 awards).

Two rounds of awards were held for scholarly workshops and conferences, with a total of 72 events funded. SSHRC's program in scholarly journals funded 142 journals over the coming three years, in fields such as fine arts, religious studies, criminology, education and political science.


Trend: Increasing

Research Communication and Interaction

Benefits for Canadians

The creation of new knowledge, capacity and talent produces direct and indirect social, economic, and cultural benefits for Canadians. Effectively mobilizing knowledge and applying research results is as essential to research impact as is the research itself. SSHRC is playing an important role in supporting the research, talent development and knowledge mobilization activities that promote innovation in management, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development practices. SSHRC-funded graduate students—entering the labour market with the latest, research-based knowledge and research-honed skills—are a primary vehicle of knowledge mobilization and knowledge transfer.

The management, business and finance Research Network for Business Sustainability Strategic Knowledge Cluster has been successfully building partnerships between academia, industry and community organizations. The network, which includes 300 researchers and 1,000 practitioners, works with Canadian business to better understand and address sustainability issues.

Performance Analysis

The new Knowledge Mobilization and Program Integration division is responsible for some of the Council's most well-known programs in scholarly dissemination—Aid to Scholarly Journals and Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada. The division is also responsible for pilot initiatives to explore new ways of supporting knowledge mobilization, such as Public Outreach grants, Strategic Knowledge Clusters and Knowledge Impact in Society. For 2008-09, SSHRC awarded Public Outreach grants to increase connections between university campuses and the community through knowledge translation, knowledge synthesis, media presentations and other forms of knowledge mobilization. SSHRC received 73 Public Outreach applications and awarded 46 grants.

In 2008-09, SSHRC partnered with NSERC and CIHR in a tri-agency initiative to support knowledge syntheses on complex interactions between the environment and one or more other sectors. The initiative funded six projects.

Lessons Learned

SSHRC's current suite of knowledge mobilization programming reflects a recognition both that there is a wide variety of types of knowledge mobilization and that attention needs to be directed to effectively applying social sciences and humanities knowledge, both within academia and between the academic and other sectors. Consultation with managers of scholarly journals, for example, led in 2008-09 to revisions to SSHRC's journals program. These changes allow scholarly journals to engage open access and online distribution strategies, with the overall objective of fostering wider, more rapid dissemination of research results within academia and, especially, internationally.

Strategic Outcome 4: Institutional Environment—A Strong Canadian Research Environment

The Indirect Costs Program supports the institutional environment for research in all fields, not only the social sciences and humanities. SSHRC administers the program on behalf of the three federal research granting agencies. As a result, a sustainable and competitive Canadian research environment is maintained, and smaller postsecondary institutions are supported in their efforts to increase their research capacity.


Program Activity: Indirect Costs of Research
2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions) 2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending Planned Actual Difference
315.1 329.4 328.8 4 4 0

 


Expected Results Performance Status Performance Summary
Universities and colleges have the necessary resources, research facilities and services to carry out and mobilize world-class research, and have the ability to meet their institutional teaching and citizenship mandates while carrying out world-class research. Met expectations Since 2001, SSHRC has allocated $1.3 billion in Indirect Costs grants to eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions, including $328.3 million in 2008-09. This funding has provided vital support to the academic research environment in Canada.

A summative evaluation of the Program in 2008-09 showed that Indirect Costs funding is still relevant and needed, and that the current level of funding is not excessive. A survey of recipient institutions indicated that the institutional support for research had improved from below average to above average since the program's inception in 2003-04.


Trend: Increasing

Indirect Costs of Research

Benefits for Canadians

In 2008, universities were the second-largest producer of research in Canada, accounting for 34 per cent (roughly $10 billion) of research and development activities—well above the OECD average.

Technology, Entrepreneur and Company Development (TEC) Edmonton—a joint partnership that was developed in 2004 between the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation—was born with the help of ICP funds. According to one of the key informants interviewed during the site visit at the University of Alberta, TEC Edmonton has increased its profile in the province such that companies are now approaching the university to work in collaboration and to develop new products. One of the emerging initiatives is the 'Entrepreneurs in Residence,' which helps move technology from the university to spinoff companies, and has people in these spinoff companies come back to the university to help others with the further creation of spinoff companies. These people help see spinoff companies succeed, and make a tangible impact on the economy.

The Indirect Costs Program provides for the indirect costs of conducting publicly funded academic research. All recipient institutions describe the Indirect Costs Program funding as essential, saying, for example, "Research cannot be carried out and cannot have an impact without adequate support in all five areas represented by the eligible expenditures categories." The link between available resources and the quantity and quality of research activity is stressed continually by institutions.

Performance Analysis

The Indirect Costs Program supports the Government of Canada's direct investment in research. Indirect Costs grants totaling $328.3 million were awarded to eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions in 2008-09. Since 2001, SSHRC has allocated $1.3 billion in indirect cost support to postsecondary institutions. This funding has contributed to more researchers conducting more research of a higher quality. This research is increasingly being used, and continues to improve Canada's comparative and competitive advantage on the world stage.

The 2008-09 summative evaluation of the Indirect Costs Program states that "Research administrators indicated that the amount of research conducted in their institution increased markedly between 2003 and 2008, that the quality of the result improved and that the number of active researchers increased. Research administrators also report positive change in the extent of use of research results and in the competitiveness of their organization on the world stage. While these outcomes cannot be attributed solely to the Indirect Costs Program, the evidence is that the program addresses an important need of the postsecondary research system and that it has produced positive and desirable outcomes."

Overall, the evaluation results were positive. They showed that Indirect Costs funding is still relevant and needed, and that the current level of funding is not excessive. The evaluation also found that the program's administrative costs are quite low: only $2,900 (0.3 per cent) is spent on program administration for every $1 million in grant expenditures. The evaluation found that the institutional support for research had overall improved from below average to above average since the inception of the program in 2003.

According to the 2008-09 outcomes reports submitted by recipient institutions, enhanced research environments not only contribute to institutions' ability to attract researchers, but also to attract outstanding students, research associates, technicians, management staff and faculty. Most institutions (nearly 90 percent) stated that the Indirect Costs Program has contributed to their attraction and retention of high-quality researchers to their institution.

These results were further reinforced by an internal audit of the Indirect Costs Program, completed in late 2008. The audit noted many elements of good program administration. A key risk to the program that was initially identified concerned possible incorrect application of the funding formula. Audit testing confirmed that the calculations performed by the program in applying the funding calculation formula, as well as the controls over the payment process, were satisfactory and operating as intended.

Lessons Learned

According to the evaluation of the Indirect Costs Program, "ICP management is very cost-efficient, but adding this observation to the information available in the ICP Audit Report points to the possibility that this efficiency comes at the cost of a reduced ability to oversee and monitor program operations and outcomes." SSHRC will look at the feasibility of developing ways to establish a baseline measurement of the state of the research environment in Canada in those areas covered by the Indirect Costs Program. Management will also review the program's performance indicators and the questions included in its annual reporting form for institutions in order to improve future reporting on program results.

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