Research and Programs

What is science worth for us?

Jack Spaapen, senior policy advisor, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Since the 1990s, policy makers progressively became interested in assessing scientific research not only on its merits for the scientific community, but also for society at large. However, we still do not have a widely accepted, systematic way to assess scientific impact. So why is it so difficult to assess impact of research?

The main reason is that there are so many different kinds of impact, depending on the societal context. Clearly, this goes for researchers working in, say, medical fields compared to those working in agriculture or ICT. But it goes a fortiori for researchers working in the broad array of humanities and social science (HSS) fields. Researchers who work in language departments and want to have an impact on the language curriculum of high schools have to deal with legal and governmental departments, with school boards, with student...

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The CIMVHR Approach to Assessing Impact

By Stéphanie Bélanger, CD, PhD, and Heidi Cramm, PhD, Co-scientific director (interim), Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, with thanks for input from the entire CIMVHR team.

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Heath Research (CIMVHR) was created in 2010 with a mission to enhance the lives of Canadian military personnel, Veterans and their families by harnessing the national capacity for research. Being the only country that was a part of NATO that didn’t have an organization focused on this unique population drove Queen’s University and the Royal Military Collage of Canada to take the lead in creating such an institute. Now 42 Canadian universities strong, CIMVHR is the hub for researchers working together in addressing the health research requirements for our military personnel, Veterans and their families.

As an institute that grew from two universities to 42 in a span of seven years, our methods for assessing...

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Salons: Perspectives on society through scholarly journals

In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, alternative facts and the proliferation of hard-to-verify sources, the online magazine Salons reminds us that research in the humanities and social sciences plays a key role in helping us analyze and understand society.

Salons invites the public to reflect on various societal issues as we read and review various articles published over the years in scholarly journals. This is a way for the magazine to showcase the abundance and importance of reputable and rigorously developed research. It also demonstrates the value of easy access to this information, as the articles and other resources featured in Salons are freely available to all.

Instead of offering frenetic...

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Journalism + Academia = Better information

Guest blog by Scott White, Editor, The Conversation Canada

There’s a sad irony facing society today: at a time when people need strong journalism more than ever, the business model of the legacy journalism industry is broken and may be beyond repair. In a world where “fake news” has found its way into the lexicon over the last year, how will Canadians get factual and important information they need to help them make informed decisions about significant issues in their lives?

One solution can be found in the world of academia. Consider the possibilities if academics, armed with years of knowledge, expertise and research relevant to many of today’s current events, could work with journalists to provide a new form of journalism.

That’s exactly the model for The Conversation Canada. I’m the new Editor of The Conversation Canada and we will be launching...

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Back in hallowed halls: Experiences of a Public Servant-in-Residence

Jean-Pierre Morin, Adjunct Research Professor and Public Servant-in-Residence, Department of History, Carleton University

Since the age of 12, I have had only one career goal: to be an historian working in the federal government. Yes, this is a rather strange life goal for a kid, but everyone has their dreams. I set out to study history and after completing my graduate studies, I joined the federal department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) in 1999. Throughout my studies, I never had any intention of working in academia – I wanted to be a career public servant and I was very happy being the “departmental historian” at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

In the winter of 2014, however, a stray hyperlink at the bottom of a government of Canada web page got me thinking about something else. After 15 years with the “Feds,” I was looking for new opportunities as an historian and public servant....

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Back to school: What is the media saying?

Kayla MacIntosh, Junior Communications Officer, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

As Junior Communications Officer at the Federation, I monitor the “back to school” news that fills the media every September when more than a million Canadian students head back to college and university. In this blog you can find a variety of important conversations about the post-secondary education (PSE) sector and its biggest achievements and challenges moving forward in the 2016-17 academic year.

Several Canadian universities, 13 in total, were buoyed in their back to school start, with landmark...

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How can Academics and NGOs work together? Some smart new ideas

Duncan Green, Strategic Adviser for Oxfam Great Britain

This blog first appeared in and is reposted with the author’s permission. It reviews a new report published by Carnegie Trust in the UK, underscoring how academics and NGOs might better work together to affect policy and practice. Highly relevant to help inform discussions underway in Canada on how to build evidenced-based policy. Tell us what you think @ideas_idees!

Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’.en by ...

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Liberating the data!

1994 – Liberating the data!

In 1994, Wendy Watkins of Carleton University and Ernie Boyko of Statistics Canada approach the Social Science Federation of Canada about an idea to liberate key public microdata files from Statistics Canada in order to make these readily available to universities for research and teaching. Since the late 1980s the cost recovery policy of Statistics Canada has made access to this data very difficult and expensive. There are also stringent rules preventing the sharing of data. It is actually easier to get the data from the US Census Bureau than it is to obtain it from Statistics Canada.

Lack of access to this data represents a major hindrance to both research and teaching in Canada. To address this, the Social Science Federation of Canada decides to launch the national Data Liberation Initiative (DLI), and through...

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What’s in a name?

2012 – New names for ASPP and scholarly book prizes

After more than seven decades, the Aid to Scholarly Publication Program (ASPP) becomes increasingly competitive. To highlight its emphasis on scholarly excellence, the program is renamed the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program in 2012. The year prior, the four scholarly book prizes are renamed from four separate names (see 1991 in timeline) to simply the “Canada Prizes” to bring them under one umbrella and increase their appeal to a broader audience.

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ASPP funding increases

2006 – ASPP funding standardized and increased

In the spring of 1999, the Aid to Scholarly Publications Programs (ASPP) transitions from providing variable grants, based on actual costs, to offering standard grants of $7,000 per book. In 2006, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council announces increased funding for the ASPP, allowing the program to increase the grant amount to $8,000 per book and introduce a Translation Grant stream, offering $12,000 per book.

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