Canadian Science Minister Funds More than 1,000 SSH Projects

Kirsty Duncan was named Minister of Science in
Kirsty Duncan is Canada’s first Minister of Science, named by Justin Trudeau in November 2015. Her position essentially re-instates the role of national science adviser eliminated by former President Stephen Harper in 2008.

Speaking at Toronto’s York University on September 8, Canada’s minister of science announced C$163 million for almost 1,150 social sciences and humanities research projects. The funding promised by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan will be awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through its Partnership Grants, Partnership Development Grants, Insight Grants and Insight Development Grants programs.

The announcement came two days after Duncan, a medical geographer and an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, had announced another C$900 million to support 13 postsecondary institutions through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The fund is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), on behalf of the three federal granting agencies, which include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

SSHRC, pronounced ‘shirk,’  is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. It supports about 8,300 research projects annually. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, it spent C$345.9 million on all the grants, fellowships and scholarships it supports.

Duncan’s announcement came with a strong endorsement of government support for social science. “Social sciences and humanities researchers help us to understand issues affecting our daily lives and provide evidence for sound policy-making,” Duncan said. “The Government of Canada believes that only this broad and holistic approach can lead to true discoveries, innovation and solutions that will help all Canadians, including those who now call Canada home.”

According to Statistics Canada, Canada has 24,000 full-time professors in social science and the humanities, with 21,000 full-time doctoral students and 46,000 master’s students in those disciplines.

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