Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Synthesising research on evolving narratives of histories and cultures

Apply for funding to mobilise, examine and synthesise humanities and social sciences research on the topic of evolving narratives of cultures and histories.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for AHRC funding. Applications must include two applicants with one based in Canada and one in the UK.

Funding is available for one-year projects. The UK-Canada teams can apply for up to C$ 30,000 from SSHRC and AHRC. Budgets cannot exceed a maximum 60%/40% split across the two agencies (for example, C$ 18,000/£7,000 or £10,000/C$ 12,000). AHRC will fund 80% of the UK budget’s full economic cost.

Who can apply

Proposals may only be submitted by research organisations who are eligible to apply to UK Research and Innovation.

Standard AHRC contractual eligibility guidelines apply for this funding opportunity.

Applications must include two applicants (principal investigators), with one of these based in Canada and one in the UK.

What we're looking for


SSHRC, Canadian Heritage, Genome Canada and AHRC have partnered on this funding opportunity to support research that will foster a deeper understanding of the state of knowledge about the global challenge of evolving narratives of cultures and histories. This opportunity contains two streams:

Stream one

Stream one is reserved for applications submitted by a single applicant or project director affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution. Genome Canada will fund up to four projects in this stream, and SSHRC, with additional funding from Canadian Heritage, will fund up to 16 projects.

UK applicants are not eligible to apply to this stream.

Stream two

Stream two is reserved for applications jointly submitted by two applicants or project directors, one based in Canada and the other in the UK, who are affiliated with eligible institutions in their respective countries.

Up to 20 projects will be jointly funded by SSHRC and AHRC.

The resulting knowledge syntheses will:

  • identify roles that the academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors can play in promoting more inclusive and equitable societies
  • inform the development of effective tools and technologies, robust policies, and sustainable practices required to support the path toward a diverse and inclusive future for all

Knowledge synthesis grants

Under stream two, SSHRC and AHRC will award knowledge synthesis grants to support researchers in producing knowledge synthesis reports and evidence briefs that:

  • support the use of evidence in decision-making and the application of best practices
  • assist in developing future research agendas

You must address the following three objectives in your proposals.

State of knowledge, strengths and gaps

The proposal should:

  • critically assess the state of knowledge of the future challenge theme under consideration from a variety of sources, as appropriate
  • acknowledge indigenous knowledge systems and methodologies, as appropriate
  • identify knowledge strengths and gaps within the theme
  • identify the most promising policies and practices related to the theme

Research data

The proposal should:

  • assess the quality, accuracy and rigour (meaning, methodological approaches) of current work in the field
  • identify strengths and gaps in the quantitative and qualitative data available

Knowledge mobilisation

The proposal should:

  • engage cross-sectoral stakeholders (academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors), First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights holders, and Black and racialised stakeholders and communities throughout the project to mobilise knowledge related to promising policies and practices
  • use effective knowledge mobilisation methods to facilitate the sharing of research findings with cross-sectoral stakeholders, indigenous rights holders or Black and racialised stakeholders and communities

Researchers can include international comparisons and case studies in their proposal but must demonstrate how the research has the potential to inform policy issues in Canada and the UK.

This funding opportunity is guided by the following questions:

  • drawing on domestic, international or cross-sectoral evidence, what can researchers tell us about these issues?
  • how might the findings guide public policy, practice and research agendas for Canada and the UK?


The following questions illustrate some of the many interconnected issues that encompass the global challenge of evolving narratives of cultures and histories. The questions are intended to provide guidance to applicants; we welcome proposals on other issues relevant to this future challenge.

Questions include:

  • how can cultural heritage assets be protected from current and future threats?
  • what are the roles of material culture, literature and the arts in evolving narratives of culture and history?
  • how are new technologies, including genomics, impacting the preservation and making or remaking of emerging or re-emerging cultures and historical narratives, particularly among marginalised groups and communities? What risks do these same technologies pose for communities?
  • how can educational and cultural institutions, including galleries, libraries, archives and museums, play a role in supporting the flourishing of diverse cultural perspectives and practices?
  • how can the legal system and political, economic and social policies foster and support cultural diversity? Alternatively, how are laws and policies being used to suppress diversity and protect dominant cultures and historical narratives?
  • how are underrepresented communities creating space for the expression and evolution of their cultures and traditions? Why and how have they been marginalised by dominating cultures, and what are the barriers that prevent their voices from being heard and accepted?
  • as Canada and other Western nations increasingly rely on immigration to bolster population growth, how are multiracial, multicultural and multilingual dimensions of society acknowledged in personal, communal and national narratives of belonging and identity?
  • who determines ownership over ideas, traditions, cultures and histories? How are indigenous perspectives on stewardship of languages, arts and culture intersecting with western understandings of ownership? How will concepts of ownership and stewardship play out in a world of new technologies like genomics and artificial intelligence (AI)?
  • how might genomics contribute, challenge or change the narratives that individuals share about themselves, their families and their communities?
  • how can diverse cultural perspectives help create solutions for global challenges and contribute to innovation in political, economic, technological and social spheres?

The majority of the UK component must fall within AHRC’s remit and applications should outline how the project aligns with one or more of the objectives underpinning AHRC’s vision (Discovering Ourselves, Contemporary Challenges, Cultural Assets and Creative Economy).

We welcome applications from researchers in any discipline that can inform and contribute to the objectives of this funding opportunity, and we encourage you to submit proposals that feature multidisciplinary research teams. SSHRC and AHRC welcome applications involving indigenous research, as well as those involving research-creation.

We also encourage you to consider the themes through an intersectional lens to yield a better understanding of how this challenge can affect different people, communities and populations in a variety of environments.

Expected outcomes

Knowledge syntheses are comprehensive analyses of literature and other forms of knowledge on a particular question or issue. All types of knowledge synthesis approaches, tools and protocols, such as scoping reviews, systematic reviews and narrative syntheses, are encouraged under this funding opportunity.

Knowledge synthesis grants are not intended to support original research. Rather, they are intended to support the synthesis of existing research knowledge and the identification of knowledge gaps. This funding opportunity is particularly focused on the state of research produced over the past 10 years.

Successful applicants will be expected to do the following:

  • complete a synthesis report (maximum 40 pages) and two-page evidence brief within eight months of receiving the grant
  • participate in a virtual kick-off webinar (tentatively scheduled for May 2024)
  • participate in a virtual knowledge mobilisation forum eight months after the grant has been awarded (tentatively scheduled for January 2025) to share research findings with community practitioners and knowledge users in various sectors

Successful applicants will receive guidelines for completing their synthesis report and two-page evidence brief. Researchers are expected to make their synthesis reports publicly available and to include the link in their evidence brief. SSHRC and AHRC will also make all evidence briefs publicly available on their websites as appropriate.

See examples of final reports and evidence briefs produced through a recent knowledge synthesis grants funding opportunity for additional guidance.

Value and duration

Knowledge synthesis grants are valued at C$ 30,000 for one year.

You should consult the exchange rate before submitting your team’s application. For projects selected for funding, each country’s applicant or team will receive a grant from their respective country’s funder for their portion of the project.

You should include balanced budget requests for both Canada and UK portions of the project, directed to SSHRC and AHRC respectively. Budgets cannot exceed a maximum 60%/40% split across the two agencies (for example, C$ 18,000/£7,000 or £10,000/C$ 12,000).

Successful UK applicants will be funded by AHRC based on the funding request submitted via the itemised budget. All UK costs will be funded at 80% of the full economic cost. Please refer to the research grants section of the AHRC research funding guide for further details on eligible costs.

The projects must start on 31 March 2024. Knowledge mobilisation activities (that is, conference presentations and outreach activities) can take place throughout the year. All synthesis reports and evidence briefs must be completed prior to the virtual forum.

How to apply

You must complete the SSHRC application form in accordance with the accompanying instructions (stream two). Applications must be submitted electronically to SSHRC by an authorised research grants officer, or equivalent, from the Canadian applicant’s institution, or by a representative of the not-for-profit organisation who has financial signing authority and is not participating in the project.

If you need help while preparing your application, you should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.


SSHRC must receive your application by 14 December at 8:00pm (Eastern Daylight Time, Ottawa Time). You will not be able to apply after this time.

At this stage, you should not submit your application to AHRC through the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system or the new UKRI Funding Service.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.


You must ensure that both the SSHRC and AHRC budget forms are completed and submitted as part of the application.

How we will assess your application

Applications are reviewed, and available funds awarded, through a competitive assessment panel process led by SSHRC.

The goal of AHRC and SSHRC is to support syntheses covering a range of themes relating to evolving narratives of histories and cultures. In addition to using the assessment criteria, SSHRC and AHRC will consider the overall coverage of themes among recommended applications in its funding decisions, to ensure that the synthesis reports address a broad distribution of topics.

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to assess the applications.

Challenge: the aim and importance of the endeavour (40%)

This includes:

  • expected contribution to the funding opportunity’s stated objectives
  • significance of your chosen topic or areas for synthesis, based on the issues identified in this funding opportunity for proposals
  • potential influence and impact in informing policy and practice in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors
  • identification of research gaps that might be addressed by a forward-looking research agenda in the chosen areas

Feasibility: the plan to achieve excellence (30%)

This includes:

  • ability to meet the objectives of the funding opportunity
  • appropriateness of the methodology or approach and of the work plan, including timelines for the design and conduct of the activity
  • quality and appropriateness of knowledge mobilisation plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within or beyond the research community, where applicable
  • appropriateness of the requested budget

Capability: the expertise to succeed (30%)

This includes:

  • qualifications of you and your team to carry out the proposed project (such as expertise in the research area, synthesis methods, information retrieval and indigenous research)
  • evidence of other knowledge mobilisation activities (such as films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience collaborating or interacting with stakeholders, and contributions to public debate and the media) and of impacts on policy and practice

You should expect to receive the assessment panel’s outcomes in March 2024.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

AHRC International Partnerships Team

For queries relating to the UK components of applications


Include ‘Canada-UK Knowledge Synthesis Grants’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within five working days.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

For queries relating to the application process


Additional info

Background to the funding opportunity

Evolving narratives of cultures and histories is one of 16 global future challenges identified through SSHRC’s Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. These complex issues, identified in 2018 following an extensive foresight exercise, reflect key challenges that Canada and the world are likely to face over the coming decades. All the challenges cross multiple sectors and research disciplines and require broad collaboration to address.

Supporting documents

UKRI budget template (DOCX, 47KB)

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