SSHRC has developed these guidelines to ensure that the merit review of Aboriginal research upholds SSHRC’s principles for merit review. These guidelines are intended to supplement the SSHRC Manual for Adjudication Committee Members, but might also be used by applicants, external reviewers and the postsecondary institutions and partnering organizations that support Aboriginal research.
Aboriginal research is defined under the Definitions of Terms on SSHRC’s website.
Since the early 2000s, SSHRC has promoted research by and with Aboriginal Peoples, having recognized its potential to increase knowledge and understanding about human thought and behaviour, past and present, and to help create a better future.
The Guidelines for the Merit Review of Aboriginal Research further ensure that Aboriginal research incorporating Aboriginal knowledge systems (including ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies) is recognized as a scholarly contribution and meets SSHRC’s standards of excellence. The guidelines are also designed to encourage that Aboriginal research be conducted with sensitivity, and only after consideration about who conducts the research and why and how it is conducted. The guidelines complement information contained in the second edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2), and, in particular, Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.
These guidelines are relevant for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers who conduct Aboriginal research.
Merit Review Measures in Place
For applications related to Aboriginal research, SSHRC ensures that:
- external assessors, either Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, have experience and expertise in Aboriginal research; and
- when the volume of applications warrants it, adjudication committees are in part or entirely composed of members having community research experience and expertise in Aboriginal research.
SSHRC may solicit external assessments from experts in fields of inquiry relevant to the applications, to aid the adjudication committee in making its decisions.
Key Concepts for the Merit Review of Aboriginal Research
Indigenous or traditional knowledge, according to Chapter 9 of the TCPS2, “is usually described by Aboriginal Peoples as holistic, involving body, mind, feelings and spirit” (p.108). Indigenous knowledge is rarely acquired through written documents, but, rather, a worldview adopted through living, listening and learning in the ancestral languages and within the contexts of living on the land. Engagement with elders and other knowledge holders is acknowledged as valued and vital to knowledge transmission within the context of Aboriginal Peoples living in place. Both Aboriginal knowledge content and processes of knowledge transmission are, thus, embedded in the performance of living, including storytelling, ceremonies, living on the land, the use of natural resources and medicine plants, arts and crafts, singing and dancing, as well as engagement with the more than human world.
Reciprocity is considered an important value in Aboriginal ways of knowing, in that it emphasizes the mutuality of knowledge giving and receiving. In the context of research, and, more specifically, SSHRC’s evaluation criteria, the emphasis on a co-creation model should result in reciprocity in the form of partnerships and collaborative practices, which can include: identification of research objectives and methods; conduct of the research; ethical research protocols; data analysis and presentation; and transmission of knowledge. It also recognizes that access and benefits are, thus, integrally connected.
Community, in the context of Aboriginal research, can refer to places or land-based communities, as well as thematic communities and communities of practice. Furthermore, community-based, community-initiated and community-driven research can involve varying degrees of community engagement; the research outputs will be negotiated taking into account the interests of relevant Aboriginal community members.
Respect, relevance and contributions are important considerations in the merit review of Aboriginal research. Applications should demonstrate that the proposed research identifies and respects relevant community research protocols and current goals, as well as the contributions to and from the community that are likely to emerge or are in place. A respectful research relationship necessitates a deep level of collaboration and ethical engagement. This may include engaging with existing, distinctive research processes and protocols for conducting ethical research reviews in the community; learning within language and/or traditional knowledge systems; collaboratively rebuilding or revitalizing processes that have been displaced or replaced; and/or codeveloping new processes, based on the community’s expressed interests. Finally, this level of collaboration and engagement may also require additional, targeted consultative or review processes.
The following points are intended to assist committee members when reviewing Aboriginal research proposals.
Committee members evaluating research grant applications should use the following list of considerations in relation to the specific evaluation criteria used in assessing grant proposals (i.e., Challenge, Feasibility and Capability).
Committee members evaluating applications for fellowships and scholarships should use the following list of considerations in their review of proposed programs of study or programs of work, as well as in their general assessment of a candidate’s academic capability. While some of these considerations relate more strongly to aspects of SSHRC’s grants programming, they also offer relevant guidance for the review of proposals for doctoral and postdoctoral support.
1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour:
- Given the emphasis placed on lived experience, both written and oral literature are appropriate forms of knowledge for consideration. Examples of oral literature can include interviews or personal encounters, or traditional teaching with elders.
- Theoretical framework and methodology may be combined. For example, in storytelling, the stories represent in some instances both theory and method, a way of explaining phenomena or illustrating how behaviour or actions contribute to living in a good way.
- Community involvement and the co-creation of knowledge, as appropriate, are considered essential, especially in data interpretation. In this context, the co-creation of knowledge could include interpretative approaches that are jointly developed, reviewed and confirmed by and with community members or their community-delegated organization.
- Where appropriate, priority should be given to Aboriginal students and postdoctoral researchers when training opportunities are offered.
2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence:
- The research should address the needs of each partner, if applicable, and demonstrate how the research meets these identified needs.
- The application should demonstrate how outputs will be made available to, and potentially used by, Aboriginal Peoples and other stakeholders, with community benefits configured into the research outputs. Examples of outreach may include: websites, videos, presentations, artistic or community exhibits, performances, or festivals.
- The availability and nature of organizational or administrative infrastructure varies from community to community. This aspect should be considered in the structuring of the research in ways that acknowledge and maximize the contributions of a community partner organization.
- Where required by the funding opportunity, the leveraging of cash and/or in-kind support from host institutions and partners can include social capital, an asset that may emphasize social and familial relationships and networks and may affect the cost of research. Furthermore, linguistic capital, the ability to engage in the community with the ancestral language(s) of the community and a national language of Canada, can also be considered as a contribution.
- Expectations about the management and governance of the coproduction and outputs of knowledge and related support, during and beyond the award, should be outlined.
3. Capability—The expertise to succeed:
- The career and academic stages, as well as the rates of research and publication contributions, of applicants and team members need to be reviewed with respect to the following considerations:
- Aboriginal scholars may have had to start their academic path later in life, or have had interruptions.
- For some scholars, there are expectations that they significantly contribute to and engage with their home community.
- Applicants’ accountability to their postsecondary community is also important, as demonstrated by Aboriginal scholars providing support that could include providing student support, teacher training, committee work, and cultural sensitivity training to non-Aboriginal scholars; and contributing to the incorporation of Aboriginal knowledge systems, language, culture and experiences into their postsecondary institutions, including through the creation of associated programs.
- In the Special Circumstances section, reviewers should take into account the degree of difficulty in an applicant’s career as a useful measure of merit, especially where they have succeeded in overcoming career obstacles.
- The relevant experience of Aboriginal scholars should take into account the life/knowledge journey of individuals.
- Collaborators who are considered to have a strong role and community connection should be regarded favourably in the review of Aboriginal research. In particular, elders and community-based partners need to be recognized and respected in terms of their contribution of knowledge assets.
Source: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Guidelines for Merit Review of Aboriginal Research Retrieved from: http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/merit_review-evaluation_du_merite/guidelines_research-lignes_directrices_recherche-eng.aspx on August 1, 2016
Call for proposals- Concurrent sessions Canadian Association of Graduate Studies Annual Conference. Due: Apr 30, 2016
2016 Equity Enhancement Fund
The Equity Enhancement Fund (EEF) supports community-based initiatives that enhance equity, diversity, inclusion and intercultural understanding at UBC. Proposals should demonstrate benefits to the representation or experiences of historically disadvantaged groups within the UBC community.
All academic or administrative units are invited to apply for funding. Student groups, as well as other faculty and staff groups, are invited to submit proposals through their respective leadership.
Applications are accepted for a broad range of funding up to a maximum of $25,000. Preference is given to proposals that demonstrate some matching financial contributions from partners and are for projects that have the potential to be self-sustaining. Separate funding is available for the Okanagan and Vancouver campus.
The deadline for submitting proposals is April 1, 2016. If you have any questions about the Equity Enhancement Fund, email email@example.com.
Are you a student interested in applying for the fund?
Attend a student proposal writing session on March 2 or 3. See below for more info or register here.
Goals of the Equity Enhancement Fund
Following the action plan from Renewing our Commitment to Equity and Diversity: UBC’s Response to the Task Force Recommendations, preference will be given to initiatives which:
- Build student, faculty and staff competencies and understanding related to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion through community-engaged activities.
- Promote a respectful environment at UBC through education, dialogue and community engagement.
UBC equity and diversity committees
Equity and diversity committees from faculties, departments and units are encouraged to apply for Equity Enhancement Funding to develop or enhance equity in their work setting.
Read about previous Equity Enhancement Fund recipients
Proposal writing session for students
Students interested in applying for the Equity Enhancement Fund are encouraged to attend a proposal writing session on March 2 or 3. Equity and Inclusion Office educators and past fund recipients will be on hand to answer questions about writing proposals and will share examples of projects that have received funding.
This session is open for student applicants only. Please register for one of the following sessions. Light refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, March 2
5pm to 6pm
BUCH D201, 1866 Main Mall
Facilitator: Rachael Sullivan
Deadline for registration March 1 – Register here
Thursday, March 3
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Lillooet Room, I.K. Barber Learning Centre , #301-1961 East Mall
Facilitator: Rachael Sullivan
Deadline for registration March 1 – Register here
Read the proposal guidelines carefully to assist you in preparing a successful application. Download guidelines (pdf)
Who can apply for funding?
The following are invited to submit proposals to the Equity Enhancement Fund:
- Any UBC academic or administrative unit
- Equity committees and equity representatives
- Unions or Associations
- Alma Mater Society, UBC Students’ Union Okanagan
- Graduate Student Society
- Student clubs or groups
Applications demonstrating partnerships with other clubs and units will be given preference.
NOTE: Proposals will not be accepted to fund academic research that would be carried out in the normal course of work or study or may be eligible for research funding.
Download application form (word)
Completed application forms (in word or pdf) should be emailed by April 1, 2016 to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Proposals should have observable and/or measurable benefits to the representation or experiences of historically disadvantaged groups within the UBC community.
- Priority will be given to proposals that benefit the UBC community and have a continuing effect on enhancing employment or educational equity.
- Proposals must provide clear rationale and objectives consistent with the University’s Equity and Inclusion mandate and commitments as outlined in Place and Promise
- All Equity Enhancement Fund initiatives must be in accordance with UBC’s Respectful Environment Statement.
- The proposal must be endorsed by a Head of Unit or the senior official of an organization ie. Alma Mater Society, Graduate Student Society and UBC Students’ Union Okanagan, union/association or student club. A Head of Unit is the Director of a service unit; Head of an academic department; Director of a centre, institute or school; Principal of a college; Dean; Associate Vice President; University Librarian; Registrar; Vice President; or President.
- Submissions from the Unions or Associations must be endorsed and signed by the senior official of the organization.
- Submissions from the AMS, GSS and UBCSUO must be endorsed and signed by the senior official of the organization.
- NOTE: The person making the endorsement assumes responsibility for monitoring the project and ensuring a final report is submitted.
- Successful recipients are required to submit a report, including financial accounting, to the Associate Vice President, Equity and Inclusion upon completion of the project. The Equity and Inclusion Office will provide a template for this purpose.
- Funds must be spent within one year of receiving funding. Any unused funds must be reported and returned.
- The fund recipients are responsible for planning and implementation related to your project, and covering any cost overruns.
- Proposals up to $25,000 will be considered. Small and large proposals are encouraged. Large proposals may receive partial funding.
- Funding dispersed: 75% upon announcement and 25% on completion of final report.
- There are separate funds for the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.
- Partnerships between faculties/units/departments/groups are encouraged.
- Applications should demonstrate some financial contributions (not just in-kind) from faculties, units and clubs.
- Funding will not be granted for projects that are a normal part of the unit’s responsibilities and operating expenses, or, except in exceptional circumstances, to reinstitute a previously funded project in a unit.
- Funding is allocated once a year in the last quarter of the fiscal period by the Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion, with advice from the Vice President Strategic Implementation Committee.
- Fund amount and guidelines will be reviewed annually by the Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion, and the Vice President Strategic Implementation Committee.
A sub-committee of the Vice President Strategic Implementation Committee with representatives from the Okanagan and Vancouver reviews and evaluates all applications. Their evaluation is based on the following criteria:
- Strategic Value
How well does this initiative align with the University’s Equity and Inclusion mandate and commitments as outlined in Place and Promise
- Enhances Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Will this initiative significantly contribute to the enhancement of equity, inclusion, diversity and intercultural understanding at UBC?
Does this enhance UBC’s reputation on and off campus? Does it create an opportunity to partner with other UBC units/organizations or with groups outside the university?
- Community Engaged Activities
Will this project engage and inspire participation of historically disadvantaged groups within the UBC community?
How can this project be made sustainable beyond the funding period?
Theytus Books is please to announce the Gatherings-Water project and a call for writing submissions from B.C. based Indigenous Youth on the theme of water. The Gatherings-Water anthology will be published in November 2015 and those writings chosen by an editorial committee will be featured in the book as well as receiving an honorarium and complementary copy.
This special book marks the return of the Gatherings anthologies that were a mainstay of Theytus Books’ publishing program for a decade. In addition to the anthology, there will be community engagement writing workshops in four B.C. Indigenous communities (locations and dates to be announced) blogs on the Gatherings-Water website and news and links to issues vital to the importance and future of Water in the B.C. region.
The Gatherings-Water project reflects the cultural rejuvenation of Indigenous Youth in B.C. It is not only a revival of a respected anthology series, but also a new level of engagement between publishing house and community, between established writers and emerging voices, and finally a testament to the connection of Indigenous Youth with the life-sustaining power of water.
This call for submissions is open to Indigenous Youth in the province of B.C., 30 years of age and younger.
Submissions can be prose, poetry, nonfiction or based on legends or teachings. Submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.Email your submission as a .jpg, .pdf, or .docx with a short biography of yourself to email@example.com. Please include 2-3 lines about your submitted work and what water means to you.
Submissions deadline EXTENDED TO MARCH 15, 2016
For more Information:
Publisher: Dr. Gregory Younging 250-493-7181 Ext. 2249 firstname.lastname@example.org
Theytus Books Ltd. gratefully acknowledges the support of the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation in making ‘Gatherings ~ Water’ possible.
Norman Taylor Memorial Bursaries & Scholarships
Applications for the Norman Taylor Memorial Bursary Program close July 24. There are four $1,000 bursaries. Bursaries are available to First Nation, Inuit and Métis students attending university or college as a full-time student in an academic program such as Business Administration, Business Management, Accounting, Commerce and/or other finance related programs. View the guidelines and application form.
Applications for the Norman Taylor Memorial Professional Development Scholarship Program close July 24. Two scholarships of $800 are available for two applicants who wish to enroll in one AFOA Canada (Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada) online course. View the guidelines and application form.
UBC student graduates in clothes honouring his Aboriginal culture
UBC law student Stephen Mussell certainly stood out when he received his degree.
Surrounded by black caps and gowns, the 26-year-old Plains Cree/Métis student received his law degree from the University of British Columbia on May 20 wearing a tanned deer hide vest, beaded moccasins, a quillwork bolo tie and eagle feather, clothes that he says reflect his “culture and tradition.”
“As an Indigenous person, law school isn’t easy,” said Mussell, who graduated with a specialization in Aboriginal law. He pointed out that UBC sits on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
“Many of the laws we study and cases we read are disheartening and often upsetting. The cap and gown are an extension of the western legal tradition and I wanted to wear something that was part of my culture and tradition, a culture and tradition I’m extremely proud of.”
Mussell said once he found out from a faculty member that he could wear his regalia rather than the traditional cap and gown, it was an easy decision to make. The vest was made by his girlfriend’s mother, the bolo tie was given to him by his father, and the eagle feather was given by his nohkom (grandmother). “It was important to me that I have something from each of the people in my life that helped me get through, those who supported me on my journey,” he said.
Mussell says he hopes his decision sparks a discussion among non-Indigenous people about perceptions of law and governance, and how Indigenous laws and self-governance can be ignored.
As for fellow Indigenous people, he hopes his outfit is a reminder they can “work within a system that isn’t ours and still maintain our values and identity.”
“For our young ones I simply wanted to show that we’re just as capable as anyone, and that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. For our old ones I wanted to show thanks. Thanks for being so incredibly strong and maintaining our traditions and cultures through so much pain and adversity.”
– With files from Yuliya Talmazan