SSHRC Explore





12 months from start of award

Application Deadline

November 1, 2023

June 1, 2024

Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted

Notice of Decision

February 2024

August 2024

Progress Reports

Final Progress Report (Due 6 months after end date)

ORIS Contact

* If a deadline falls on a weekend or a public holiday observed in Alberta, the deadline will be the next business day.


Through its SSHRC Institutional Grants (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund, through the University’s own merit review processes, small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty and students in the social sciences and humanities. Complementary to, and in line with, SSHRC’s three main pillars of activities (Research training and talent development program, Insight research program and Research partnerships program), SIG funds are intended to support researchers to strengthen research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.

SSHRC Explore Grants:

  • Support social sciences and humanities researchers with modest research funding requirements at any stage of their career;
  • Allow for small-scale innovation and experimentation by providing funding to develop a research project or to conduct pilot work; and
  • Enable researchers to hire students at any level to participate in their research projects, thereby contributing to the students’ professional development.

Awards to a single applicant or teams of applicants are limited to a maximum of $7,000.


You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a full-time faculty appointment (tenured or tenure-track) or postdoctoral affiliation at the U of L and the appointment does not end within 12 months from the date of application.
    • If you hold a limited-term appointment or are a postdoctoral fellow, you must maintain your affiliation for the grant period. Please note that while postdoctoral researchers may apply, their supervisor must be listed as the co-applicant and funds will be held in their supervisor’s name.
  • Conduct research in a discipline supported by SSHRC.
  • Do not hold an active Explore or Exchange grant as of the application date and have held no more than 2 SSHRC Exchange or Explore grants in the last 3 fiscal years.
  • Have applied to an external SSHRC competition or held an external SSHRC grant as Principal Investigator within the previous three years. Emerging scholars and postdoctoral fellows can receive the SSHRC Explore grant without seeking external SSHRC funds.
    • An emerging scholar is defined as someone who has not yet had the opportunity to establish an extensive record of research achievement but is in the process of building one.

Multiple applications and concurrent funding

  • Applicants cannot hold more than one SSHRC Explore at a time.
  • Applicants cannot receive multiple or consecutive SSHRC Explore or Exchange grants for the same project.
  • Applicants cannot simultaneously hold multiple awards from internal funding sources regardless of the project. Applicants are permitted, however, to hold a University of Lethbridge Travel Fund (ULTF) award concurrently with the SSHRC Exchange, if travel for ULTF is unrelated to any travel expenses for the SSHRC Exchange.
  • August – September: Launch of current competition.
  • November 1, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.: Application deadline.
  • November – December: Applications are reviewed by members of the Multidisciplinary Review SSHRC Sub-committee.
  • January – February: Applications are ranked by the Multidisciplinary Review SSHRC Sub-committee and recommendations for funding are finalized. 
  • February: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • March 1: Start date of successful SSHRC Explore applications.

  • April: Launch of current competition.
  • June 1, 2024 at 4:00 p.m.: Application deadline.
  • June – July: Applications are reviewed by members of the Multidisciplinary Review SSHRC Sub-committee.
  • August: Applications are ranked by the Multidisciplinary Review SSHRC Sub-committee and recommendations for funding are finalized. 
  • August: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • September 1: Start date of successful SSHRC Explore applications.
Use of Funds

It is the responsibility of the applicant(s) to adequately justify the expenditures included in the application. Funds can be requested in line with the following criteria:

  • A grant may be directed toward costs to hire research assistants (students at any level, Postdoctoral Fellows, Associates, etc.) in accordance with UofL policy;
  • A grant may be used to hire external experts (contract personnel) such as designers, editors, technicians, etc., but must include cost breakdown such as hourly rate and anticipated scope of contract;
  • A grant may be used to pay for travel directly related to research, including travel by research assistants in the performance of their assigned duties;
  • Other items necessary for research may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Multidisciplinary SSHRC Review Committee; and
  • Research projects requesting retroactive funding prior to the application deadline or requesting funding for teaching development will not be considered.
Eligible Expenses
  • Research assistants: Research assistant costs must include each employee’s title and type of work to be performed, the estimated number of hours/months to be worked, and the rate of pay per hour/month plus 12% benefits.
  • Contract Personnel: Costs associated with hiring external experts (i.e. designers, editors, technicians, etc.) are eligible, but must include cost breakdown such as hourly rate and anticipated scope of contract.
  • Materials and Supplies: Requests for materials and supplies must clearly indicate their purpose in the proposed activities.
  • Equipment:  A descriptive statement of each item of equipment must be included in the justification of the budget. Applicants are reminded that all equipment purchased with research grants remains the property of the UofL in accordance with university policy. Applications for computer equipment will need to provide a particularly strong justification, establishing the specific need of the item for the proposed research.
  • Travel: Travel costs must include the purpose of the travel for each destination, mode of travel, cost of meals and lodging, and the number of days of the travel.
  • Knowledge mobilization/dissemination: costs associated with knowledge mobilization/dissemination are not eligible. Please see UL SSHRC Exchange for information about funding for knowledge mobilization.
How to Apply

A complete application consists of an application form and attachments appended to the Internal Grant Application Form found under the Research Services tab in the BRIDGE system. The attachment must be prepared in accordance with the instructions found here.   

  • Do not complete the online form until your attachment is complete and ready to be uploaded, as you cannot save the online form for completion at a later date.
  • The Internal Grant Application form is routed to your Department/Area Chair and Dean for signatures before arriving in ORIS. Please ensure you submit the application with sufficient time to secure the signatures so that your application is received by ORIS by June 1.
Application Attachment Instructions

Complete applications require the following components:

  • Completion of the online application form available through the BRIDGE using the Internal Grant Application Form;
  • The upload of the following elements as a single attachment:

For the attachment, use font size of 12 point, black type. Maximum of six lines per inch. No condensed/narrow fonts, type, or spacing. Insert a margin of 2 cm (3/4 inch) - minimum - around the page.

The application should be clear and concise and justify the use of all funding and provide all requested information.

  1. Research Proposal (max 5 pages): Organize the detailed narrative under the following headlines:
    • Background: Define the problem clearly and concisely, providing any background information essential to understanding the importance of the work. 
    • Theoretical Framework, Methodology and Proposed Outcomes: Outline the theoretical framework governing the work proposed, the methodologies to be undertaken and the proposed outcomes. For collaborative applications with multiple applicants, indicate the unique role that each applicant brings to ensuring the proposed outcomes. Describe how the anticipated outcomes will serve to contribute to each applicant’s program of research. Indicate if the proposed research falls in a new or existing research program.
    • Significance and Dissemination: Include statements of the potential significance, future use, relevance or application of the results. Explain how the proposed project is situated within the PI’s larger research plan, including plans to continue the research with external funding. Explain how the results will be disseminated.
  2. References (max 2 pages): Include references, where appropriate, to similar or related work. Indicate if the field is largely untouched.
  3. Publications and Prior Research (max 5 pages): Provide an Academic CV (any format) including only recent (last six years) and/or relevant publications, and prior research activity. 
  4. Reviewer Information (optional) (max 1 page): If desired, applicants can include an additional page with the names of suggested (internal) reviewers, and any reviewers who should be excluded due to Conflict of Interest.
Conditions of the Award
  1. Use of Funds: Expenditures may be made only for those cost elements identified in the application or as limited in the Request for New Fund Form. Special conditions may include human subject research or animal welfare approval, expenditure limitations, etc. Minor transfers of funds from one budget category to another are permitted. Expenditures included in the application budget may be eligible if incurred between the application deadline and the Notice of Decision of the SSHRC Explore Competition if prior approval is granted by ORIS. Major transfers or the use of funds for a previously unspecified expense or a new budget item requires approval by ORIS. 
  2. Term: The term of an award is twelve (12) months or less, in accordance with the applicant's request. Requests for extensions should be submitted to ORIS thirty (30) days prior to the end date.
  3. SSHRC Application: Recipients must commit to submitting a SSHRC grant application within 24 months of the end date of the SSHRC Explore grant.
  4. Reports: A final report on the work funded by the SSHRC Explore must be submitted within six months of the termination date. Subsequent applications can be considered only after receipt of satisfactory final reports and/or progress reports for previous or existing grants.
  5. Equipment & Library Acquisitions: Equipment or library materials acquired with grant funds remain as property of the UofL in accordance with university policy.
  6. Research assistants: Research assistants employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement with support staff.
Evaluation Process and Criteria

The following priorities apply to all applicants

  • Grants are awarded on the basis of merit. In most instances, SSHRC Explore applications will be reviewed by two Reviewers who are members of the Multidisciplinary Review SSHRC Sub-committee. Due to limits on funding availability, appeals will not be considered.
  • Proposals involving student participation are given priority. If student participation is not possible, it is strongly suggested that a brief justification be provided.

The SSHRC Explore awards will be allocated between Emerging and Established Scholars, according to tri-agency definitions. The number of each type of applicant to be funded will be considered annually based upon the number of applications, budget allocation to the competition, and the quality of submitted applications. 

Emerging Scholar: An emerging scholar is someone who has not yet had the opportunity to establish an extensive record of research achievement, but is in the process of building one. Applicants identifying themselves as an Emerging Scholar must demonstrate that they have not applied successfully as the Principal Investigator or Project Director for a research grant offered through Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

In addition, Emerging Scholars must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Have completed their highest degree no more than six years before the competition deadline (the Committee will consider only the date of completion of the first doctorate).
  2. Have held a tenured or tenure-track university appointment for less than six years.
  3. Have held a university appointment, but never a tenure-track position (in the case of institutions that offer tenure-track positions).
  4. Have had their careers significantly interrupted or delayed for health or family reasons within the past six years.

Established scholar: Someone who has established—or who, since the completion of his or her highest degree, has had the opportunity to establish—a record of research achievement.

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Assessment of the Application (pass/fail): This is an overall rating for the proposal package.
  2. Quality and Originality of Proposal (40%) including the clarity of purpose/objectives; potential significance of proposed research; suitability of research methods/strategies; relationship/importance to research program; and suitability of proposed timetable.
  3. Research/Scholarly/Creative Achievements of Applicant (40%) including significance of previous work and level of research activity, taking into account the scholar's stage of career.
  4. Justification of Proposed Budget (20%).  It is the responsibility of the applicant(s) to provide adequate information and justification for activities and expenditures included in the application package. 

The applications will be funded based on the ranking and the budget allotment for that funding year. It is expected that the number of fundable applications will exceed the amount of available funds for each competition. 

Conflict of Interest Guidelines* for Reviewer Selection:

conflict of interest occurs when a reviewer’s duties and responsibilities with regard to the review process are in conflict with that reviewer’s private, professional, business, or public interests. There may be a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest when the review committee member, external reviewer or observer:

  • May receive professional/personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
  • Has a professional/personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
  • Has a direct/indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.

A conflict of interest may exist when review committee members, external reviewers or observers:

  • Are a relative or close friend or have a personal relationship with the applicant(s);
  • Are in a position to gain or lose financially/materially from the funding of the application;
  • Have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant(s);
  • Are closely professionally affiliated with the applicants, as a result of having in the last six years:
    • Been a supervisor or a trainee of the applicant(s);
    • Currently supervise the applicant(s) (ie. Department Chair or Dean);
    • Collaborated, published or shared funding with the applicants, or have plans to do so in the immediate future; and/or
    • Feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application.

ORIS reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists.

* Adapted from the Government of Canada website.


Agency Name: 
University of Lethbridge
Contact Name: 
Grant Amount: 
Grant Location: 
Internal Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Social Science
Fine Arts
Grant Eligibility: