Research policy

The Federation, under the leadership of the Vice-President, Research Policy, responds to many issues affecting research funding and practice within the social sciences and humanities community. Below are the most recent projects the Federation has undertaken.

Making inclusive innovation a reality 

In June 2016, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains announced the Innovation Agenda, a national consultation on how to improve Canadian innovation. The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has submitted a brief that articulates the vital role the humanities and social sciences (HSS) make to Canadian innovation, and how these effects must be strengthened to meet future challenges.

As the Canadian economy becomes increasingly knowledge- and service-oriented, and as the grand social challenges we face increasingly involve difficult social, cultural and ethical dimensions, knowledge from the humanities and social sciences becomes increasingly vital to support innovation. To ensure that Canada is well prepared to meet these challenges the Federation recommends new investment to support basic research into human thought, behaviour and experience; to create more experiential learning opportunities for students; and to build platforms that strengthen connections between scholars and partners in other sectors.

Read our full submission to the Innovation Agenda here. (Or see our submission on the Innovation Agenda webpage.)

The Federation calls for a Chief Knowledge and Research Advisor

The Federation has submitted recommendations to the Honourable Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan for the creation of a new Chief Knowledge and Research Advisor position within the federal government. The Liberal Party of Canada committed to appointing a Chief Science Officer in their 2015 election campaign, and Minister Duncan has been mandated to create the position. The Federation strongly supports this project. We believe that by learning from the experiences of other nations that use such advisors, we can create a new research-advisory system that is second to none in the world today.

The Federation recommends the government create a senior advisory position which is centrally located in government, well-resourced, and mandated to ensure that evidence from all research can inform good policy decisions—regardless of whether the issue be natural, technical, social or cultural. In recognition of that broad mandate, the Federation recommends the title “Chief Research and Knowledge Advisor.”

New Working Paper: The Impacts of Humanities and Social Sciences Research

The Federation has prepared an ambitious project to develop metrics for measuring impacts of SSH research beyond confines of the university. The project is outlined in a working paper titled "The Impacts of Humanities and Social Sciences Research" that was launched by the Federation's Executive Director Jean-Marc Mangin in French at the "Mobilizing Knowledge for Social Innovation" colloquium at Concordia University on October 6. The Federation hopes that this intiative will galvanize SSH researchers to use the metrics to understand the impact of their research and how research can be used as an engagement tool. 

CIHR Consultations

The Federation convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts to provide observations and recommendations to CIHR in response to their public consultation document on their open suite of funding and peer review programs. Read the submission here

Internationalization of Research

Many Canadian researchers and scholars are engaged in international collaboration with their counterparts all around the world. The Federation is committed to building awareness of international partnership programs available in the social sciences and humanities, as well as to expanding the opportunities available to the Canadian research and learning community. The Federation also leverages partnerships with similar federations for the social sciences and humanities community in other countries such as Australia, Europe and the U.S. (e.g. the American Council of Learned Societies).

International Education Submission

Jean-Marc Mangin, the Federation's Executive Director, appeared as a witness before the Federal Advisory Panel on International Education to discuss how Canada might bolster its reputation and image in partner countries, but also about the importance of two-way student and faculty flows, international research collaboration and internationalization more broadly. 

Click here to read the submission. 

Research Ethics

Under the guidance of the Federation's Vice-President, Research Policy, the Federation works with the Canadian Research Integrity Committee to follow and respond to research ethics issues. The Federation also monitored the implementation of the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

Engaged Scholarship

At the 2012 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, a group of university and community partners, including the United Way of Canada, launched the Community-Campus Collaboration Initiative, whose goal is to remove institutional barriers between communities and the post-secondary sector, and to identify social problems where such collaborations can have a positive impact. Governor General David Johnston was there to commend this initiative, and the Federation's President Graham Carr has since published an op-ed on the importance of engaged scholarship and community connections. The Federation continues to leverage the opportunities at Congress to build on this important collaboration.

Community-based research and knowledge mobilization are gaining increased attention of many in the social sciences and humanities research and learning community. Continuing a conversation that was initiated at the Federation’s 2010 AGM, the federation will continue to encourage the social science and humanities community to participate in such projects. Recently, the Federation signed the declaration on social innovation of le Réseau Québécois en Innovation Sociale and has promoted the initiative amongst its members to help link networks within Quebec and the rest of Canada.

For more information and a complete list of submissions and positions released by the the Federation, please visit our documents page.