Research and Programs

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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ASPP 5K milestone

2005 – ASPP funds 5,000th scholarly book 

After celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1991, the ASPP begins marking some significant milestones. During the 1997-1998 program year, the ASPP funds its 4,000th book. It crosses the 5,000th book threshold in 2005-2006, and in 2010-2011 it will fund its 6,000th book. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016, the ASPP will have funded over 7,000 scholarly books. There can be no doubt that this program has played a pivotal role in the creation of a distinctly Canadian body of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences.

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Celebrating outstanding scholarly books

1991 – Creation of the scholarly book prizes 

The Aid to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) marks it 50th anniversary by launching the scholarly book prizes. Four annual awards are established to celebrate the very best ASPP-funded books: the Raymond Klibansky Prize, for the best English book in the humanities; the Harold Adams Innis Prize, for the best English book in the social sciences; the Prix Raymond-Klibansky, for the best French book in the humanities; and the Prix Jean-Charles-Falardeau, for the best French book in the social sciences.

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Canada needs a Chief Research and Knowledge Advisor


It has been exciting to see the Canadian government make progress on its knowledge agenda, beginning with the reinstatement of the long-form census. The Federation is thrilled to be participating in another exciting development: the creation of a new senior research advisor in the federal government. The Federation recently submitted its recommendations to Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan for the creation of a Chief Research and Knowledge Advisor.

In their 2015 election campaign, the Liberal party committed to creating a new Chief Science Officer. As a new government, they’ve so far followed through on that promise, with the prime minister mandating Minister Duncan to create the post. The Federation strongly supports this project, and we have submitted a set of recommendations that we feel can help make Canada’s research-advisory system the best in the world.


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Founding of the Canada Council

1957 - Founding of the Canada Council

With the founding of the Canada Council in 1957, the operations of both research councils shift. Now that the Canada Council is providing fellowships, scholarships and grants in aid of research to Canadian students and professors, the research councils need not do the same. Instead, they review applications for the Canada Council, linking scholars to the organization in an attempt to make sure that the best applicants receive funding. Aid to publications is still handled entirely by the research councils. With an increased workload, both councils are able to employ their secretary-treasurer, John Robbins, on a permanent basis. However, financially, things are still precarious, since now that the government is funding their activities, grants from the American foundations have mostly ceased. In order to avoid confusion with the new council, the Canadian Social Science Research Council renames itself...

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Leveraging the power of research

2015 - Leveraging the power of research 

With the launch of the 2016-2020 strategic plan in early 2016, the Federation continues to undertake research and programs that enhance the social science and humanities communities’ abilities to advance understanding of peoples, cultures and social relations in Canada and around the world. The Federation continues its research impact project  to help members track  and demonstrate the diverse impacts of their work—in  creating new knowledge and scholarship, in teaching and learning, in policy, the economy and in communities. The Federation also develops initiatives to act on a new commitment to support the community in advancing reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. And the Federation continues to support and leverage the impact of its membership through flagship programs such as Congress, Big Thinking, ASPP, Canada Prizes, annual conferences and a variety of national and...

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The ASPP Today

2015 - The ASPP Today

Today, the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) remains one of the cornerstones of the Federation's activities. Every year, the program gives out 180 publication grants to Canadian authors and publishers in order to support the dissemination of research across the country. The five translation grants that are also awarded help ensure that research is available in both of Canada's official languages. And while the program has greatly expanded in size and scope since the initial Publications Committees of the Canadian Social Science Research Council and the Humanities Research Council of Canada in 1940s, its continued existence provides a tangible link between those councils and today's Federation, and the ongoing commitment to encouraging Canadian scholarship.

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