SSHRC’s Response to Concerns About COVID-19 and Funding

Information from the SSHRC Leaders meeting April 27, 2020.

Grant holders and others concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on SSHRC programs should consult the Covid-19: Impacts on SSHRC’s Policies and Programs page, available at

Budget Flexibility: SSHRC has announced flexibility in grant expenses, with details available at the site indicated above. In particular, costs related to cancelled travel, including non-refundable expenses, can be reimbursed out of grant funds.

In the current situation, as is always the case with SSHRC grants, grant holders can reallocate funds so long as they are being used to meet the original grant objectives.

Grad Students/Postdocs: SSHRC and the other tri-council agencies are working out with the federal government a plan for short-term extensions with funding for grad students and postdocs whose support (scholarship or award) is ending in the near future. Specific dates are not available – but the limit will likely be for grants ending now until the end of the summer. The plan is to provide some number of months additional funding. Specific details are forthcoming, but nothing is available at this time.

Grant Extensions: SSHRC is offering 1-year extensions to grants ending Feb 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. If your grant ends between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 and you wish to request an extension please contact your respective financial officer in Research Finance.  If you are unsure of which financial officer to contact, a list can be found here:
Researchers should also review the information on the SSHRC website and contact Western Research for further support.

There will be no extensions for grants beyond this eligibility window; however, there is recognition that the COVID emergency will hamper research progress on grants with these later end dates, and if extensions are required due to COVID-related factors, grantholders should identify these in their application for extension, and they will be taken into account in the decision making process.

There will be no additional funding offered for extended grants – these are extensions without further financial support.

Reimbursement to Grants of Covid-Related Costs: SSHRC recognizes that many grantholders are experiencing increased costs related to Covid-19, including non-refundable travel costs (as above), as well as ongoing personnel costs (grad students, RAs, etc.) during the period of shutdown when research cannot continue off site. SSHRC is working with the federal government to put together a plan for some reimbursement associated with personnel-related costs. Details of this program are not yet available, but researchers can expect the reimbursement of estimated partial-year (3 month?) personnel costs. We have NO further details on how the value of these reimbursements will be determined, but these should be forthcoming shortly.

Upcoming Grant Applications – Deadlines: None of the upcoming SSHRC Grant competitions have been postponed, and it is anticipated that all will proceed as planned.

Researchers should note that the SSHRC Insight Grant deadline has been moved to October 1 from October 15 in order to avoid conflict with some other agency deadlines.

Upcoming Grant Applications – research plans: Some researchers have raised the fact that it is difficult to write a grant in this uncertain research environment, not knowing, for example, what types of data collection and/or dissemination activities will be allowed when and if the grant is funded. SSHRC is sensitive to this issue, and will be revising the instructions for upcoming grant opportunities to instruct applicants to provide alternative plans for research under conditions of social distancing. Again, details will be forthcoming.

photo credit: Putneypics DSC00956 via photopin (license)

About the Author

Kueneman, Karen
Staff, 2015 Fall
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