SSHRC Institutional Grant

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.

Application Guidelines

The University of Guelph uses the SIG to support small research projects and travel needs to support research dissemination. Researchers are encouraged to consider using these funds as bridge grants, for project completion; visiting scholars; support for students in research, workshops/symposia; knowledge mobilization (podcasts, etc.).

These funds are distributed in the Explore Grant (up to $7,000) and Exchange Grant competitions (up to $3000). Please see the competition calendar below; Research Alerts will also be posted approximately one month before each deadline.

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 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, 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.

If an applicant is a prior SSHRC SIG award holder and a SSHRC application was not applied for within the three-year period as required, applicants should provide rationale to the review committee for consideration. As a general rule, applicants who are prior awardees that did not meet the requirement to apply to SSHRC (any program) within three years of their award date will be ranked “C” (unsuccessful). Eligibility to re-apply to SSHRC SIG is re-instated once an external SSHRC grant is applied for.

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 and attachments, including Outline of research activity, CV and Budget template
  • completed, signed OR-5 Form

to the Office of Research Services before the posted competition deadline.

Incomplete applications or applications submitted on out-of-date forms will not be advanced for review. Late submissions will not be accepted.


One (1) Explore Grant and two (2) Exchange Grant competitions are planned per year. This is subject to change based on impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., travel restrictions) and funding availability:


Office of Research Services deadline

Notification of Award/Funding


May 2



May 27



November 1



November 1


Exchange Grants will be available to reimburse travel expenses/claims which have occurred in the past.

Funding Availability

The SIG funding awarded to the University will be allocated in Explore Grant and Exchange Grant competitions on an annual basis.

The maximum amount requested in any single application for the Explore Grant is $7,000. For Exchange Grants, the maximum amount requested is $3,000.

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 $7,000.

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. These funds can be used as bridge grants, for data collection or project completion; visiting scholars; support for students in research, workshops/symposia; and knowledge mobilization (podcasts, etc.).

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 in order to meet application eligibility requirements.

A maximum of $7,000 will be awarded to a single researcher in any two-year consecutive period. For each SSHRC Explore Grant received, a researcher must have applied for the external SSHRC grant described in their proposal prior to re-applying for another SSHRC Explore Grant.

Explore Grant applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • The description of proposed research will be evaluated using the same criteria as those used by SSHRC for its Insight Development Grants with weighting adjusted to include an additional internal consideration (Challenge – 40%; Feasibility – 20%; and Capability – 20%; and Linkage to Future SSHRC Grant – 20%). 
  • To strengthen the grant, in addition to the SSHRC criteria, ensure the following points are considered and addressed, as applicable:
    • Challenge:
      • Why the research will benefit the academic field and/or society and the literature and has academic merit.
      • The implications of the research on future work and the field of research and/or the end users or beneficiaries.
      • Context and rationale for the proposed activities and their alignment with SSHRC objectives.
    • Feasibility:
      • Setting a reasonable timeline for completion of the project activities.
      • Rationalizing the budget justification. Funding for students for example, should reflect appropriate hiring and benefit rates. The full costs of items (not just the amount covered from SIG grant) should be itemized to demonstrate how all project activities will be covered.
    • Capability:
      • Describe the project with specificity and make clear what data is being collected and how it will be used.
      • Describe who specifically on the project team will be responsible for the activities (PI, students, etc.).
      • Where graduate students and undergraduate students (who may require additional supervision) are involved, describe how the supervisor will engage and mentor the student(s) through the activities and demonstrate to the reviewer how the student will benefit from the opportunity (e.g., what training and skills they will obtain).
      • Demonstrating capability need not be via research publications only, but content and skill can be developed through teaching and mentoring.
    • Linkage to Future SSHRC SIG Grant:
      • Applications must identify how Explore Grant funds will be used to develop an application for submission to an external SSHRC program (e.g., Connection, Insight, Insight Development, Partnership Grants, Partnership Development Grants).
      • Describe how the Explore Grant will be used to develop a proposal and feasibly apply to an external SSHRC competition within three (3) years of the end of the Explore Grant.
      • The impact of the SSHRC SIG on the external SSHRC grant should be described. While some indirect benefits of the SSHRC SIG grant may accrue (e.g., increase in publications), these should not be considered the primary rationale for seeking SSHRC SIG funds to support a future SSHRC grant
      • Situate the proposed Explore Grant project and the future external SSHRC grant to the recent and ongoing research activities.

Applicants must demonstrate evidence of previous output and describe previous and on-going research results related to the requested grant. If pivoting to a new research area, explain how your previous experience supports the new direction. This can be demonstrated through linking themes in research, but equally could reflect knowledge gained through teaching or service activities. Identify how the SIG grant will assist you in making a shift in your career, if applicable. SSHRC Canadian Common CV or SSHRC Web CV and Research Contributions must address the Capability evaluation criteria listed under Evaluation and Adjudication. Applicants must attach an electronic copy of their Research Contributions in the format outlined in either the SSHRC CCV system or the SSHRC Web CV system

Exchange Grants

A maximum of $3,000 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 in order to meet application eligibility requirements. 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 Grants will be available to reimburse travel expenses/claims which have occurred in the past.

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, 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 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). Please ensure only eligible expenses are included in your budget.

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 two (2) years 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 award. 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 unless retroactive funding has been sought. 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:

Office of Research, Research Support Services

Forms and How to Apply

The application form and budget template, along with a complete, signed OR-5 form must be submitted to the Office of Research Services at before the deadline. No late applications will be considered.

Explore Grant (SIG-Explore)

Exchange Grant (SIG-Exchange)