Government of Canada honours Canada’s top social sciences and humanities researchers

News release

Annual SSHRC Impact Awards celebrate greatest talent in Canada’s social sciences and humanities research community

December 7, 2020, Ottawa, Ontario

Each year, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) honours Canada’s top leaders, thinkers and researchers in the social sciences and humanities through its Impact Awards. The winners and finalists embody the very best ideas and research about people, human thought and behaviour—helping us understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the Impact Award winners for 2020.

The Gold Medal is SSHRC’s highest research honour and is awarded to an individual whose sustained leadership, dedication and originality of thought have inspired students and colleagues alike. Francine Saillant, of the Université Laval, is honoured with this award for her outstanding work in medical anthropology, human rights, and her commitment to social justice.

The Talent Award recognizes the outstanding academic achievement of a current SSHRC doctoral or postdoctoral scholarship or fellowship holder. Robyn Maynard, of the University of Toronto, wins this award for her ground-breaking research on the systemic social, political, gendered and economic marginalization faced by Black migrants, and how they are disproportionately affected by global displacement.

The Insight Award is given to an individual or team whose project has made significant contributions to the knowledge and understanding of people, societies and the world. Myriam Denov, of McGill University, receives this award for her research on children and families affected by war.

The Connection Award recognizes an outstanding initiative facilitating the exchange of research knowledge within or beyond the social sciences and humanities community to generate intellectual, cultural, social or economic impacts. Jackie Dawson, of the University of Ottawa, wins this award for her phenomenal contributions in exploring the human dimensions of environmental change.

The Partnership Award recognizes a formal partnership, through mutual co-operation, shared intellectual leadership and resources, which has demonstrated impacts and influences within or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community. The late John Loxley, of the University of Manitoba, receives this award posthumously for his collaborative work advancing community-based solutions to poverty in Indigenous and inner-city communities. 


“Canadian social sciences and humanities researchers play a vital role in helping us to understand the impacts of the significant challenges of our age—including systemic inequality, climate change, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Their research will help us to face these challenges head on and build a more just and prosperous society for all. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!”

̶   The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This year’s SSHRC Impact Award recipients are celebrated for their innovation, passion and dedication to research excellence. Their diverse contributions to the research enterprise in social sciences and humanities are helping to ensure the continued well-being and prosperity of Canadians, as well as a more equitable and just society.”

̶   Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Quick facts

  • Impact Award winners receive a medal or a crystal paperweight in recognition of the award. The Gold Medal recipient will receive $100,000 for future research, while the winners of the remaining categories each receive $50,000 in research funding.

  • For each award, eligible institutions nominate candidates, who are evaluated by a multidisciplinary jury made up of distinguished individuals from academia, as well as the private, not-for-profit and public sectors, from Canada and abroad. The jury selects award recipients according to the selection criteria associated with each of the five awards. 

  • The following individuals are the finalists for each award.

    • Talent Award:
      • Semra Sevi, Université de Montréal
      • Vanessa Sloan Morgan, University of Northern British Columbia
    • Insight Award:
      • Jean-Frédéric Morin, Université Laval
      • Christine Bold, University of Guelph
    • Connection Award:
      • Jessica Coon, McGill University
      • Kathleen Martin Ginis, The University of British Columbia
    • Partnership Award:
      • Gilles Comeau, University of Ottawa
      • Kimberly Sawchuk, Concordia University 

Associated links


Follow SSHRC on Twitter: @SSHRC_CRSH | #SSHRCImpact

John Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Navdeep Bains
Tel.: 343-550-1456

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Media Relations
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Tel.: 343-549-6119

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