Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters: Social Sciences & Humanities

The Vice President Research + International has established the Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters (GCRC) competition for Social Sciences & Humanities to provide seed funding in support of developing clusters of research excellence at UBC.

Award summary

For the purposes of this funding competition, a cluster of research excellence is defined as an inter-departmental network of researchers at UBC who collectively represent leaders in a particular field of study. These awards are specifically targeted at catalyzing advanced research initiatives with the expectation that awards will be used strategically to attract further funding opportunities (e.g., partnerships, grants, industry and NGO funds, etc.).

Researchers are invited to submit a proposal (up to a maximum of 5 pages) in the form of a plan to show how the seed money will be used to create and/or advance a cluster of research excellence.

Applications should clearly:

  1. describe research themes
  2. identify collaborators 
  3. provide objective measures of research excellence, including national and international standing
  4. articulate goals and
  5. detail how seed funds will be used to achieve the expected outcomes (i.e., budget justification).

The goals expected to be achieved with the seed money may vary among proposals (e.g., new partnerships, increased funding opportunities, international collaboration), but applications should make a strong case for the value of those goals to the proposed research cluster and demonstrate how the money will be used to reach those outcomes. Please note: applications proposing to further current research programs (i.e., using the funds only in hiring graduate students/post docs, increasing publication output, etc.) will not be considered for these awards.

Funding details

A total funding envelope of $300,000 is available for this competition, with the expectation that several applications will be funded and a cap of $100,000 per proposal. Successful applications will be notified in August 2016 and awards will be distributed shortly after. Funding will be released all at once and must be spent within a year of award receipt. This funding competition is opportunistic and there will not be an opportunity for renewal in subsequent years.

Applications will be accepted from all departments, but must be led by a researcher in the social sciences or humanities and the primary focus of the research cluster must be strongly situated within the social sciences and humanities.

Submission and selection processes

Applications for this funding call should be submitted electronically to Kyle Glenn in the VPRI office ( by end of day July 4, 2016. An internal panel will review applications and make decisions based on merit and the ability to demonstrate how seed funds will be used to develop a leading research team. Specific assessment criteria include:

  • Leveraging of GCRC funding to attract further funding opportunities;
  • Interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and inter-sectoral collaborative research;
  • Evidence of objective measures of research excellence;
  • Pooling of skills and expertise across faculties at UBC, other institutions, the public and/or private sectors;
  • Building, carrying out and disseminating internationally competitive research in major areas of significant societal importance.

We encourage applicants to consult with Dawn Whitworth in the SPARC office ( for guidance on how GCRC can be leveraged and positioned within a Tri-Council and/or larger funding landscape.