you can get money to travel – I did that myself”
when he was a researcher, said Dr. Hewitt. “You
can apply to IDRC [International Development
Research Centre] if you have a partner in another
country, or you can apply to a foreign source of
funding – but even at that it’s pretty lean.”
The proof is in the paucity of money from
foreign funding bodies flowing through Cana-
dian universities today, Dr. Hewitt added. The
average medium-sized, research-intensive uni-
versity with a research budget of about $240 mil-
lion can expect international funding to com-
prise roughly one or two percent of that budget
(about $2 million to $3 million). He estimated
the number of Canadian research dollars going
to foreign institutions is roughly proportional to
what’s coming in.
The centralized funding model that T-AP is
in the process of developing likely will be rolled
out in a pilot program in the spring of 2016.
The pilot will build off the processes that underpinned another collaborative grant program, the
Digging into Data Challenge (known as DiD).
That program was sponsored by 10 funding agencies (including SSHRC and NWO) from four
countries. DiD supported some 36 international
collaborations through competitions in 2009,
2011 and 2013.
Under the DiD model, each partner agency
committed a certain amount of money to a “virtual
pool.” A call went out to researchers to submit proposals for research projects involving large digital
data sets and with a strong international collaboration component. Submissions went through the
peer-review process, and applicants received a
single response from the program’s 10 partners.
Christopher Cochrane, an assistant professor
of political science at the University of Toronto,
was among the beneficiaries of the DiD program.
With nearly $450,000 of funding over two years
and a 12-person transnational interdisciplinary
research team, he led a large-scale analysis of parliamentary proceedings from Canada, the U.K.
and the Netherlands dating back to the 1800s. “I
couldn’t imagine that they could make it easier to do
an international collaboration,” Dr. Cochrane said.
The team entered a single proposal along
with a standard CV for each of the investigators
to one submission platform. After getting the cen-
tralized notice of acceptance, the money was
distributed to team members by their respective
national funding agency. Any concerns or ques-
tions (like how to receive the peer-review feed-
back) went to the researchers’ local agency liai-
son officers, who would coordinate the response.
“Everything has been seamless,” said Dr. Cochrane.
T-AP has yet to confirm which of the 17 part-
ners will participate in the pilot program (or
whether any additional partners will join on
before launch), although organizers anticipate
their research fund will reach between $10 mil-
lion and $15 million once all funders have signed
on. And, as with DiD, the pilot will focus on
digital scholarship projects.
Even though researchers will have to wait a
year for the pilot to begin, T-AP is already think-
ing beyond it. The consortium has identified
three themes as priority research areas for the
project: diversity, (in)equality and differences;
new pathways to research on the environment;
and resilient and innovative societies.
In June, the consortium hosted community
consultation workshops during the Congress of
the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Uni-
versity of Ottawa, and invited T-AP partners and
about 30 international academics to attend, to
discuss gaps in scholarship on the three identi-
fied themes. The idea is that once the funders
have figured out the funding model, they’ll be
able to hit the ground running on the next tar-
geted funding programs. – natalie samson
Des organismes de 12 pays
facilitent le financement de
la recherche internationale
Le modèle centralisé de financement devrait
simplifier l’accès aux fonds de recherche multi-nationaux
le conseil de recherches en sciences humaines
(CRSH) canadien dirige un projet visant à simplifier l’accès au financement de la recherche
internationale. La Plateforme transatlantique, un
consortium regroupant 17 organismes subventionnaires de 12 pays appuyés par le soutien de
la Commission européenne, est dirigée conjoin-tement par le CRSH et par l’Organisation néer-landaise de la recherche scientifique (NWO). Elle
A pilot program spearheaded by SSHRC should simplify the way researchers here and abroad secure funding for
international research collaborations.