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A $9.3 million investment for social sciences and humanities research

97 Concordia faculty members and graduate students awarded new funding
November 15, 2017
By Renée Dunk and Andy Murdoch

Art Education PhD student Bettina Forget was one of 17 students who received SSHRC talent program funding. Art Education PhD student Bettina Forget was one of 17 students who received SSHRC talent program funding.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science, visited Concordia today to shine a spotlight on Canada’s outstanding social sciences and humanities researchers.

While on the Sir George Williams campus, Duncan announced a $265.4 million investment in university research across the country through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnerships, Insight and Talent programs.

Concordia’s share of the national investment is an impressive $9.3 million.

'Our government is proud to support these talented researchers'

“I want to commend the grant and scholarship recipients whose tireless efforts help us better understand our world and our relationships with each other," the minister said at the event.

"Our government is proud to support these talented researchers and scholars who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge to the benefit of Canadians and our growing middle class."

Thirty-two Concordia faculty-led projects received funding through SSHRC’s Insight and Insight Development grants for a total of $3.5 million, while 65 graduate and postdoctoral students were awarded a total of $3.3 million through the Insight program.

Grant recipients hail from both the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Arts and Science, as well as the John Molson School of Business. Areas of expertise awarded include community economies, digital device practices, counter-radicalization education, social enterprises, and mental health — among many others.

“At Concordia, we believe that investments in the social sciences and humanities lay the groundwork for a healthy and thriving society,” says Alan Shepard, president of Concordia.

“Armed with vital project funding from the SSHRC, our researchers can continue to advance knowledge and build understanding about important social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental issues."

'The significance of the STEM to STEAM movement'

Seventeen graduate students from the Faculty of Fine Arts received Insight funding and seven faculty members received grants or are collaborators on grants. 

Art Education PhD student Bettina Forget took part in a panel discussion at the event where she spoke about her research on how art grounded in science can spark a reconnection to the sciences among women and girls.

"I'm interested in including art in a STEM education in a meaningful way, not as an afterthought, not just focusing on aesthetics. It's not just about making a robot and then painting it pink for girls," says Forget.

"I am focusing on what contemporary art can bring to the table. That means taking a critical stance, asking why, and putting science into context, including a personal perspective and that can lead to better insights about science."  

“The significance of the STEM to STEAM movement is so important to what we do here. We are a faculty where scholarly, visual, performing, cinematic, design and digital arts thrive within the context of a research-intensive university," says Rebecca Duclos, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

"Training in the arts naturally includes responsive problem-solving, iterative refinement, and improvisational thinking in the quest for elegant solutions. This common territory binds arts and non-arts fields."

'Research is a reputational driver for the university'

In his speech at the minister’s event on November 15, Christophe Guy, vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, congratulated all 97 of the newly funded researchers.

“I’d like to acknowledge the hard work and perseverance of Concordia’s researchers from not only the social sciences and humanities but also business and fine arts, at both the faculty and graduate student levels, who all benefit from SSHRC support,” he said.

“Research is a reputational driver for the university, and the knowledge gained by these particular groups contribute directly to our country’s social and economic well-being.”

Twelve of Concordia’s 32 Insight and Insight Development grant recipients were awarded funding well above the national average.

SSHRC’s Insight and Insight Development grant programs for faculty researchers aim to support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research, while the Talent program promotes the acquisition of research skills in graduate students.

The Partnership Grants support formal partnerships between academic researchers, businesses and other partners that advance knowledge and understanding on critical issues of significance.

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