SSHRC Institutional Grant

Updated Information

The May 1, 2020 SSHRC Explore Grant competition (deadline May 1, 2020) has been postponed due to the events of COVID 19. The Office of Research Services will consider another potential competition offering later in 2020 and will provide further information via Research Alerts and on the SSHRC SIG web-page once known.

Through its SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual block grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty in the social sciences and humanities. SIG grants are intended to help Canadian postsecondary institutions develop, maintain or strengthen research capacity and research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

SIG funds may be used to:

  • assist social sciences and humanities researchers with modest research funding requirements;
  • support national and international knowledge mobilization within and/or beyond the research community; and
  • support the development of students.

SSHRC expects that all SIG-funded research training will incorporate appropriate dimensions of the Guidelines for Effective Research Training.

The amount of the grant awarded to the University of Guelph is determined partly by the number of faculty members in the humanities and social sciences but primarily by the total value of research grants awarded to the University by SSHRC over the three (3) previous competition years. Grants are calculated once per three (3)-year funding cycle.

The University of Guelph uses the SIG to support small research projects and travel needs to support research dissemination (of less than $5,000). It is distributed in one (1) Explore (formerly "General Research") Grant and four (4) Exchange (formerly "Travel") Grant competitions each calendar year. As an institutional priority, the University of Guelph will seek to use SIG funding to incent applications to external SSHRC opportunities (e.g. Insight Grants, Insight Development Grants, Connection Grants, Partnership Grants, Partnership Development Grants, etc.) as a means of increasing application rates, and ultimately, success rates in external competitions.

Applicant Eligibility

All regular faculty members, including probationary, tenured and contractually-limited term appointees, are eligible. Contractually-limited term applicants and postdoctoral fellows are eligible, provided they are employed under a contract with the University for a period sufficiently long to make it feasible to carry out the proposed research project and/or travel. Professors emeriti are also eligible for this program. Visiting fellows and scholars are not eligible. SIG funds will support both emerging and established scholars, as defined by SSHRC.

SIG applications may be used to support research and research-related activities in one to several of the disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding. Please see Subject Matter Eligibility for more information.

How to Apply

Application forms are available under the Forms and Instructions section of this page.

Applicants must submit one (1) electronic copy of the application to the Office of Research Services before the posted competition deadline. The application form must be accompanied by a completed, signed OR-5 Form for both the Explore Grant and Exchange Grant applications. Application forms and OR-5 Forms may be submitted to

The current application form must be used. Incomplete applications or applications submitted on out of date forms will not be advanced for review.


There is one (1) Explore Grant and four (4) Exchange Grant competitions per year:


Office of Research Services deadline     

Proposed Date of Travel *        

Notification of Award/Funding


May 1 (Postponed)

June 1 – November 30 (Postponed)

June (Postponed)


September 1 (Cancelled)

October 1 – February 28 (Cancelled)

October (Cancelled)


November 1




November 1

December 1 –  May 31



February 1

March 1 – September 30


* If travel begins before the first eligible date of 'proposed date of travel' window, PI must provide clear explanation, including proof of invitations etc., as to the reason the application was not submitted to previous Exchange Grant competitions where proposed travel dates were eligible.  Travel must conclude within 'proposed date of travel' window ie. not before.

Exchange Grants will no longer be available to reimburse travel expenses/claims which have occurred in the past.

Funding Availability

Equal amounts of the SIG funding awarded to the University will be allocated in Explore Grant and Exchange Grant competitions on an annual basis, i.e. one-third of the funding is allocated to each competition in a given fiscal year.

The maximum amount requested in any single application for the Explore Grant is $5,000. For Exchange Grants, the maximum amount requested is $1,500.

A minimum amount of SIG funding awarded to the University by SSHRC will be made available to support emerging scholars, as defined by SSHRC in each competition (25% of SIG funding). If a sufficient number of emerging scholars do not apply in a competition to warrant allocating 25% of the funds available, the funding will be allocated to established scholars.

Review and Adjudication Process

Explore Grants and Exchange Grants are reviewed and adjudicated by the SIG Review Committee, chaired by the Associate Vice-President (Research Services) or designate.

Committee members from colleges with SSHRC-eligible researchers will be invited to serve for terms of three (3) years in duration. Committee members will be sought in the order of:

  1. Recent or current SSHRC Insight Grant Review Committee members;
  2. Recent or current SSHRC Insight Development Grant Review Committee members;
  3. Current SSHRC Insight Grant grantees; and
  4. Current SSHRC Insight Development Grant grantees.
  5. Active researchers in the social sciences and humanities.

Explore Grants

Explore Grants will be limited to a maximum value of $5,000, provided to a single researcher in any consecutive three (3)-year period.

Explore Grants will provide seed funding for research that that is to result in the development and submission of an application in an external SSHRC competition. Applicants who receive an Explore Grant are expected to apply for an external SSHRC grant (any program) within three (3) years of the end of their Explore Grant.

Explore Grant applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Applications must identify how Explore Grant funds will be used to develop an application for submission in an external SSHRC competition within three (3) years of the end of the Explore Grant, and the linkage between the research made available by the Explore Grant and the future SSHRC application, i.e. the impact of the Explore Grant on the application development;
  • The description of proposed research will be evaluated using the same criteria as those used by SSHRC for its Insight Development Grants (Challenge – 50%; Feasibility – 20%; and Capability – 30%); and
  • Applicants must demonstrate evidence of previous output.

Exchange Grants

Owing to the limited resources available for this program, a maximum of $1,500 will be made to successful applicants in any one (1) calendar year. Applicants may only submit one (1) application in each competition, but a single application might cover a number of activities all leading to the development of one (1) external SSHRC application.

Exchange Grants are intended to subsidize the cost of travel required to support national and international knowledge mobilization within and/or beyond the research community. It is the expectation that applicants who receive an Exchange Grant will apply for an external SSHRC grant (any program) within three (3) years of the end of their Exchange Grant.

Applicants holding current SSHRC external grants (any program) are eligible to receive an Exchange Grant only if their travel is related to research not funded by their existing support from SSHRC.

Exchange Grant applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Applications must identify how Exchange Grant funds will be used to develop an application for submission in an external SSHRC competition within three (3) years of the end of the Exchange Grant, and the linkage between the travel and the future SSHRC application, i.e. the impact of the travel activities on the application development;
  • The future external SSHRC grant project description must address SSHRC’s criteria (Challenge, Feasibility, Capability); and
  • Applicants must demonstrate evidence of previous output.

Award Terms and Conditions

Current guidelines on the use of grant funds, outlined in the 2017 Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide (or more recent version of the Guide, if available), apply to all grants provided through the University of Guelph’s SIG (both the Explore and Exchange Grants).

Research undertaken must comply with the University’s policies on the conduct of research, in particular ethical clearance for the use of human participants. Funds will not be released until the required human participant protocols are approved. For information on the use of humans in research, please see the University’s policy and procedures on using human participants in research.

Explore Grants

Funds awarded will normally be expected to be spent within one (1) year of the date of award. Only in exceptional circumstances will requests for extension of the time period of the grant be considered. These must be received in writing by the Director of Research Support Services within two (2) months prior to the termination date of the awardAll funds not spent within two (2) years of the date of award will be recalled. 

Exchange Grants

Travel funds awarded are to be spent within 60 days after the date of travel, which must occur within the eligible travel period as noted in the Deadlines table above. Funds not utilized within this two (2)-month period will be recalled. If funds are not required for the purposes described in the Exchange Grant application for which the award was made, the funds will be recalled.

Contact information

For questions, please contact:

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Office of Research, Research Support Services
519-824-4120 x52832

Forms and Instructions

Explore Grant (SIG-Explore)

Exchange Grant (SIG-Exchange)


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