UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant: Knowledge Mobilization*

*Formerly the UW/SSHRC Travel Grant


The program is funded by an annual block grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Proposals are reviewed and approved by the UW/SSHRC Grants Review Committee, a sub-committee of the University Senate Graduate and Research Council, and are administered through the Office of Research. Funds will be available for one year with no automatic extension.

The UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant Program is meant to stimulate exchange and transfer of knowledge as well as support outreach initiatives such as conference travel, conference/workshop organization, publications, digital resource creation, exhibitions, and other knowledge mobilization activities (subject to the approval of the UW/SSHRC Committee). See information below in relation to Exchange Grants 1, 2, 3.

For the purposes of this program, we are using SSHRC’s definition of Knowledge Mobilization as an “umbrella term encompassing a wide range of activities relating to the production and use of research results, including knowledge synthesis, dissemination, transfer, exchange, and co-creation or co-production by researchers and knowledge users” (see SSHRC Guidelines for Effective Knowledge Mobilization).

The Exchange program (including Exchange Grants 1, 2, 3) is available to assist with the following Knowledge Mobilization Activities:

  • Exchange Grant 1: costs associated with disseminating current research findings at a conference. Eligible expenses include the cost of return travel from the participant's residence to the conference location, cancellation insurance, accommodation costs including meals, and registration costs. Air travel must be claimed at the lowest rate available, not to exceed full economy fare. Invitations to present new research results will be given priority. There is no restriction on the location of travel, (i.e. it may be in Canada or abroad) but maximum funding levels apply (see table below).
    • Conference attendance will not be funded unless scholarly or creative work will be presented at the conference1
    • Exchange Grant 1 funding cannot be used retroactively for conferences already attended.
    • Decisions will be made by the committee based on the nature and importance of the conference to the applicant’s discipline, and the expected level of participation or role of the applicant.

1If funding permits, consideration will be given to regular faculty members applying to attend a conference in order to learn more about an emerging area of research or to be a discussant. A compelling argument must be made in the application addressing the importance of the meeting to the applicant’s research trajectory and the impact that attendance will have.

Conference Travel (Exchange Grant 1) maximums used by UW/SSHRC committee:

Destination area

Maximum allocation (per location)

Destination area

North America

Maximum allocation 

Up to $1,400.00 CAD

Destination area

Europe, Middle East, South America

Maximum allocation

Up to $2,000.00 CAD

Destination area

Africa, Australia, and Asia (India, Pacific Rim)

Maximum allocation

Up to $2,800.00 CAD

  • Exchange Grant 2: costs associated with organizing a small-scale research conference or workshop (up to $4,000)
    • The event must be hosted by University of Waterloo;
    • Preference will be given to events held on campus or in the Waterloo region. If outside, please provide a clear justification for the choice;
    • A conference is defined as a scholarly event usually lasting one day or longer that focuses on one or more distinct themes, is open to all interested and qualified researchers via a call for papers (although keynote speakers may be invited) – definition adapted from SSHRC;
    • A workshop is defined as a small, invitational event, the object of which is to develop a research agenda or delineate specific research questions, produce a concrete deliverable (such as a paper, report or policy document) – definition adapted from SSHRC;
    • Eligible costs include speaker travel and accommodations, space rental, meals and refreshments (alcoholic beverages not eligible), student salaries, technical services. The conference/workshop must include defined research themes and require no registration fees for attendance;
    • Decisions will be made by the committee based on the importance and anticipated impact of the event and its contributions to research and scholarship, the importance of the event in relation to increasing the PI’s capability score on a subsequent SSHRC grant, the contribution of the event to enhancing the visibility of research at Waterloo, provisions for the inclusion of Waterloo students;
  • Exchange Grant 3: costs associated with preparing knowledge mobilization outputs associated with research projects (up to $7,000)
  • For example:
    • digital resource creation (websites, databases, digital resources);
    • book preparation costs such as subventions, translation fees, indexing fees, copyright and image fees (as long as there is no personal gain such as royalties - indicate this in your application);
    • open access fees;
    • adaptation (including translation, e.g., into French, English or Aboriginal languages) of texts or presentations for the purpose of broader knowledge mobilization to different audiences;
    • development of policy briefs, knowledge syntheses, and scoping reviews;
    • development of articles for print or online publication in newspapers or weekly or monthly magazines—whether specialized or general interest;
    • media events (such as television/radio presentations);
    • summer schools/institutes;
    • speaker series;
    • public debates;
    • artistic exhibits, performances or festivals;
    • development/use of interactive technologies, audio-visual products or software.

Decisions will be made based on the importance of the output in relation to increasing the applicant’s capability score on a subsequent SSHRC grant application, the anticipated contribution of the output to scholarship, and the potential for the output to increase the visibility of research at Waterloo.

Please note that these funds CANNOT be used as matching on any SSHRC Grant because they are awarded through the SSHRC Institutional Grant (and SSHRC funds cannot be used as required contributions on any SSHRC program). Funds cannot be transferred to another institution.


Applicants must be tenured or tenure-track SSHRC-eligible faculty who have applied to an external SSHRC competition or held an external SSHRC grant as a Principal Investigator within the previous three years, and indicate their intention to apply again for external SSHRC funding. An exception to this is new faculty: those in their first three years of appointment are eligible to receive UW/SSHRC Exchange grant funding without having first sought external SSHRC funds.

Faculty with a 3-year definite term appointment that includes research duties will be given consideration to apply so long as they have the support of their Department Chair/School Director and Faculty Dean, or Affiliated and Federated Institution of Waterloo (AFIW) equivalents. The same external SSHRC application criteria apply as outlined above for regular faculty.

Further exceptions are possible in limited circumstances (e.g., special circumstances and career interruptions such as a leave of absence). Contact the UW/SSHRC secretary for details.

Exchange Grant funding cannot be used retroactively for work completed prior to application or for conferences attended or organized prior to application.

All UW/SSHRC Exchange grant recipients are required to apply to an external SSHRC competition within two years of their UW/SSHRC Exchange grant start date.

Multiple applications and concurrent funding

  • If a researcher is in the final year of a SSHRC grant (either final year or extension year) and requires funding for a new activity, they may apply for a UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant, however preference will be given to applicants who do not currently hold SSHRC funding.
    • If sufficient funding is available, the committee will adjudicate these applications separately after considering applications from those who do not hold SSHRC funding.
    • If a researcher in the final year of their SSHRC grant applies for the Exchange Grant, they must justify their need for these funds based on two things:
      • How the proposed activity builds upon or differs from their funded research program
      • How the proposed activity will enhance the chances of success on a subsequent external SSHRC grant  
      • This justification must be included in the summary (if Exchange Grant 1) or in the 3-page detailed description attachment (if Exchange Grant 2 or 3)
  • Applicants may only apply for one Exchange Grant per round. In other words, if they apply for an Exchange Grant 1, they may not also apply for an Exchange Grant 2. Normally, no more than one Exchange grant of each type per two fiscal years (May 1 to April 30) will be awarded to the same individual. In other words, if a researcher applies for an Exchange Grant 1 in 2024, they may not apply again for an Exchange Grant 1 until 2026. However, they may apply for an Exchange Grant 2 or 3 earlier, if applicable.
  • If a researcher successfully applies for a UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant and is also awaiting the results of an external SSHRC application, funds may not be released until the SSHRC results are available.  If the researcher has been successful on the external SSHRC grant, they may not be eligible to also receive the internal UW/SSHRC funding. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants cannot apply to the UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant and Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Fund for the same research project or activity
  • Applicants can apply for both the Explore and Exchange Grants with the stipulation that:
    • Each application shall be judged on its own merit
    • When there is a shortage of funding, both grants might not be awarded
    • Preference for funding both applications will be given to emerging scholars

Applications must include the following:

  1. Office of Research Electronic Cover Sheet for Sponsored Research Activities
  2. One electronic copy (PDF) of the appropriate application form (see links above in relation to Exchange Grants 1, 2, 3) and all supporting documents. The single PDF file containing all documents (except the cover sheet) should be submitted via e-mail to the Secretary, UW/SSHRC Grants Committee. All files must be combined into one PDF; applications not presented in this format will be rejected.  Please combine the following:
  • Application form – please choose the appropriate version for the type of Exchange Grant
  • Confirmation of invitation or acceptance of paper (if applying for conference travel – Exchange Grant 1)
  • Information on sponsoring organization (if applying for conference travel - Exchange Grant 1 -required only if no link to conference website is available)
  • SSHRC CV (with research contributions document) or Canadian Common CV (CCV)

All questions should be directed to the Secretary, UW/SSHRC Grants Committee at uwsshrc@uwaterloo.ca.

Deadlines: June 1 and December 1 at 11:59pm

  • Please note that off-cycle Conference Travel grants (Exchange Grant 1) will only be accepted for adjudication if the applicant can prove that they received confirmation of acceptance after one of the two internal deadlines (June 1 or Dec 1) and therefore they were not able to apply in a regular round. Otherwise, off-cycle Exchange Grants will not be accepted.

Notification: decisions will be e-mailed to applicants by the end of August and the end of February, respectively.

Applications for conference travel support must be submitted in advance of the conference date. Changes in conference venue will necessitate a reapplication to the next UW/SSHRC Exchange Grant competition and will void the currently awarded travel activity.


Ethics: Successful applicants whose research involves human participants/data and/or live, non-human vertebrate animals must submit a research ethics application via the Office of Research Ethics for review and clearance before a research account can be activated.  More information on the ethics applications process can be found on the Office of Research Ethics webpage.


Please acknowledge the support provided through the University of Waterloo SSHRC Institutional Grant (SIG) in any publication, conference presentation, event, or other knowledge mobilization output resulting from the grant.

Evaluation of applications

Funding decisions for this program will be made by the UW/SSHRC Grant Review Committee based on the applicant’s need for support; the quality of the proposal; the link established between the Exchange Grant project and a forthcoming external SSHRC grant application; and the research record, or potential, of the applicant. When the Committee requires further input to arrive at a decision, the applicant’s Department Chair/School Director and Faculty Dean (or AFIW equivalent) will be asked for a confidential evaluation of the proposal.

Terms of reference

Revised: December 2023