Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative

We are no longer accepting applications for this call for proposals. The deadline for applications was October 6, 2022 at 8 p.m. eastern.

2022 Competition


Up to $700,000
4 years
Application deadline
From July 18, 2022, to October 6, 2022 (8 p.m. eastern)
Results announced
March 2023
Application and Instructions


While violence can affect all people, certain populations are more likely to experience gender-based violence (GBV), or face increased barriers in accessing justice and services, including women and specifically, young women and girls; Indigenous women and girls; women living in Northern, rural and remote communities; newcomer women to Canada; women living with disabilities; and, LGBTQ2+ communities. The intersection of any two or more of the above-mentioned characteristics may increase a person’s risk and vulnerability to violence.

Research in the social sciences and humanities is essential to understanding and tackling the negative effects of gender-based violence (GBV), which can impact all areas of health and have social and economic effects that can span generations and lead to cycles of abuse within families and sometimes whole communities. GBV is not limited to physical violence and can include any word, action, or attempt to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person. GBV can take many forms including physical, sexual, societal, psychological, cyber, emotional, and economic. Neglect, discrimination, and harassment can also be forms of GBV.


The Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative is a joint initiative between Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). WAGE will invest up to $2,500,000 and SSHRC up to $1,000,000 over four years to co-fund research projects that address Gender-based violence (GBV). The goal of this initiative is to support academic researchers, in partnership with other research-focused and community-based organizations, to advance knowledge on, and analyze the causes and persistence of GBV in Canada. This research could include methods of prevention, access to justice, and support services for victims and survivors.

Research on the unique experiences of GBV victims and survivors, and individual and societal impacts of GBV should be grounded in the lived experience of affected communities and include the co-construction of knowledge with community-based organizations. Researchers are expected to conduct their research with an intersectional lens, resulting in a more robust understanding of how GBV is experienced by different communities and populations on the basis of (but not limited to): gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, Indigenous identity, age, disability, and/or geographic location. In keeping with the principles and strategic directions established in SSHRC's Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and in the strategic plan of the federal granting agencies Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada 2019 - 2022, this initiative encourages research projects led by Métis, Inuit and First Nations researchers to respond to community priorities.

The initiative will seek to support a diverse portfolio of projects aligned with the themes below. The research questions presented within each theme are only examples of potential areas to consider, and applicants may propose research questions and objectives that are not listed below, so long as the research topic falls within one of the five themes.

Shelters and housing: What are the pathways in and out of homelessness for victims and survivors of GBV? How does the lack of availability of affordable housing in Canada exacerbate challenges for those who experience GBV? What does the shelter workforce look like, and how is the shelter workforce faring in circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic? How does the capacity of shelters compare with demand? What support and shelter services are available for young women, including young mothers, needing to escape intimate partner violence? Are services offered culturally sensitive? How much does it cost to run domestic violence shelters and what are the impacts of inconsistent or misaligned funding? How can individuals transition to a life free of violence after accessing shelters/second stage housing? How accessible are shelters to users impacted by trauma and disability, and how can accessibility be improved?

Violence against LGBTQ2+ People: How does GBV, particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence, impact LGBTQ2+ communities? What are factors behind higher rates of sexual and intimate partner violence against LGBTQ2+ individuals? What are the experiences of violence of more vulnerable LGBTQ2+ communities, such as women, trans and gender-diverse individuals, individuals with disabilities, youth, seniors, and Black, racialized and Indigenous people? What are the barriers to safety and accessing services for LGBTQ2+ victims and survivors? Are current available resources (e.g., hospitals, police and community-response services, GBV shelters, crisis centers, legal system) sufficient and well-informed for LGBTQ2+ survivors of physical and sexual assaults, intimate-partner violence and family violence? How does violence against LGBTQ2+ individuals impact their health, employment and wellbeing? What are promising practices and programs for addressing GBV against, and among, LGBTQ2+ communities?

Natural Resources, Work Camps and Sexual Violence: What is the prevalence of violence and harassment against women, specifically Indigenous women and girls, around natural resource projects and work camps? What are the main priorities and concerns of Indigenous communities living around work camps where there is a large influx of workers? What factors impact perceptions of safety for Indigenous women and girls living around work camps? What community-based, regional or federal supports are available for those experiencing violence within and around work camps? What impacts the hiring and retention of Indigenous women working in these natural resource projects? What avenues for justice are available to workers who experience harassment or violence on or around the work site? What safety and security considerations need to be taken into account during the planning and implementation phases of a natural resource project, and how can environmental assessment processes better account for the risk of gender-based violence? Are the inclusion policies and trainings developed by mining and gas companies to address gender-based violence in the workplace culturally appropriate and developed in collaboration/consultation with Indigenous organizations and communities?

Access to Justice and Prevention of GBV: How are barriers to reporting violence being addressed and what successes are emerging? What recent changes and innovations in laws, policing, and judicial procedures are improving or worsening experiences of victims or survivors within the justice system and after court processes? What alternative methods of justice and healing are currently being used by survivors, and what are the impacts of these strategies? What are the available services and initiatives aimed at people who perpetrate violence and how successful are they at preventing recidivism? How can the justice system and community sector better collaborate to increase the participation and success of people who perpetrate GBV in such programs?

Technology-facilitated GBV against Youth: How is cyberbullying being experienced by youth and how is it affecting their wellbeing and mental health? What are the gendered dimensions of cyberbullying and online violence? How is technology-facilitated GBV against youth—especially online child exploitation—evolving with the changing technological landscape? How is technology affecting the forms and impacts of dating violence, including through dating apps? What initiatives are showing promise in preventing technology-facilitated GBV and prosecuting perpetrators? How can companies better identify and combat the dissemination of new child sexual abuse material via their platforms and services, take appropriate action under their terms of service, and report to appropriate authorities?


The Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative will award approximately five grants for four-year formal research partnerships between a post-secondary institution and at least one or more partner organizations from the not-for-profit, public and/or private sectors, to foster the co-creation of new knowledge, capacity-building and knowledge mobilization on critical issues relating to gender-based violence in Canada. The partnership grants will serve as hubs for challenge-oriented, collaborative and intersectional research and knowledge mobilization activities, as well as the incubation of new research partnerships.

Specific objectives include support for:

Value and Duration

Grants offered under the Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative are valued at up to $100,000 for the first year and up to $200,000 annually for the following three years, for an overall total maximum of up to $700,000 over four years. A one-year automatic grant extension without additional funding is also available under this joint initiative.


Subject matter

Proposals may involve any disciplines, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding but must be aligned with one of the themes outlined under the Goal section above (see subject matter eligibility for more information). Projects whose primary objective is curriculum development are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity.


Applications may be submitted by a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant / project director and participants such as co-directors, co-applicants and collaborators). The applicant / project director prepares the application with the team on behalf of the partner organizations of the formal partnership.

Applicants must be affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution that holds institutional eligibility at the time of application and before funding can be released. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian postsecondary institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian postsecondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.

Applicants who have received a SSHRC grant of any type but have failed to submit an achievement report by the deadline specified in their Notice of Award are not eligible to apply for another SSHRC grant until they have submitted the report.

Federal scientists who are affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution must demonstrate that their proposed research or research-related activity is not related to either the mandate of their employer or the normal duties for which they receive payment from that employer.

If the proposal falls within the mandate of the federal government and the research or research-related activity is performed in government facilities, funding can be allocated for student salaries or stipends and travel costs only.


Grant funds may only be administered by an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility. See SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions.

Co-directors and co-applicants

An individual is eligible to be a co-director or co-applicant if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:

Postdoctoral researchers who are affiliated with a postsecondary institution are eligible to be co-directors or co-applicants.


Any individual who makes a significant contribution to the project is eligible to be a collaborator. Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution.

Individuals from the private sector or federal government can participate only as collaborators.

Partner organizations

Partner organizations can be Canadian or international institutions or organizations (public, private, not-for-profit) of any type. At least one partner organization must be from the not-for-profit, public and/or private sector; applications involving only postsecondary institutions as partners will be considered ineligible.

Multiple applications and holding multiple awards

See SSHRC’s regulations on multiple applications and holding multiple awards for more information.


Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds, on funded activities undertaken during the grant period, and on outcomes. Successful applicants will be informed of reporting requirements upon receiving their Notice of Award.

Application Process

Applicants must complete the application form in accordance with accompanying instructions. Applications must be submitted electronically by an authorized research grants officer, or equivalent, from the host institution.

Applicants needing help while preparing their application should communicate with SSHRC well in advance of the application deadline.

Evaluation and adjudication

Applications are adjudicated, and available funds awarded, through a merit review process. The final selection of projects will be made by WAGE based on the funds available, the recommendations of the adjudication committee, and on the alignment of projects with the five proposed themes, considering the aim of supporting a diverse portfolio of projects to ensure that a variety of partnerships and complementary themes are included. WAGE will aim to select one project per theme.

Applications are adjudicated by a multidisciplinary committee with relevant expertise from the academic community as well as research expertise from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. Participants in the review process, if not in a conflict of interest with the applicant or any team members, will be asked to evaluate proposals based on the evaluation criteria below. Committee discussions are guided by the principle of minimum essential funding.

Indigenous research

SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research are relevant for researchers (applicants and project directors) and students preparing SSHRC applications related to Indigenous research. SSHRC provides these guidelines to merit reviewers to help build understanding of Indigenous research and research-related activities, and to assist committee members in interpreting SSHRC’s specific evaluation criteria in the context of Indigenous research. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research to judge the extent to which the guidelines can be applied to a particular research proposal. The guidelines may also be of use to postsecondary institutions and partner organizations that support Indigenous research.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

Applicants are required to consider equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in both research practice (EDI-RP) and research design (EDI-RD):

EDI-RP and EDI-RD will be evaluated as part of the Challenge and Feasibility evaluation criteria, as outlined below. Consideration of EDI-RP and EDI-RD should be embedded throughout the relevant sections of the application, as applicable.

For more information, see the Guide to Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Partnership Grant Applications.

Evaluation criteria and scoring

The following criteria and scoring scheme are used to evaluate the applications:

  1. Challenge—The aim and importance of the endeavour (40%):
    • originality, significance and expected contribution to the overall goal, objectives and proposed themes of the Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative;
    • appropriateness of the methods/approach (including the co-creation of knowledge), literature review and theoretical approach or framework;
    • appropriateness of considerations related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the research design (e.g., questions, methods, theoretical framework, literature review, analysis and interpretation, and knowledge mobilization activities);
    • quality of training and mentoring to be provided to students, emerging scholars and other highly qualified personnel, as well as opportunities for them to contribute, and quality of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations in the recruitment, training and mentoring plan;
    • potential for the project results to have influence and impact for partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector; and
    • identification of progress indicators.
  2. Feasibility—The plan to achieve excellence (40%):
    • appropriateness of the proposed timeline and probability that the objectives will be met;
    • quality and genuineness of the formal partnership, associated management and governance arrangements, and leadership of partner organizations from the not-for-profit, private and/or public sector, including their involvement in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities;
    • expertise of the team and appropriateness of partner organizations in relation to the proposed project;
    • quality of the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan for promoting a diverse team, inclusive working environment and equitable opportunities within the partnership;
    • appropriateness of the requested budget, and justification of proposed costs;
    • indications of other planned resources, including leveraging of cash and in-kind support from the host institution and/or from partner organizations; and
    • quality and appropriateness of the knowledge mobilization plans, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community, where applicable.
  3. Capability—The expertise to succeed (20%):
    • quality, quantity and significance of past experience and published and/or creative outputs of the project director and any co-directors or co-applicants, relative to their role in the partnership and the stage of their career;
    • evidence of other past knowledge mobilization activities of the team (e.g., films, performances, commissioned reports, knowledge syntheses, experience in collaboration / other interactions with stakeholders, contributions to public debate and the media) and of impacts on professional practice, social services and policies, etc.; and
    • quality and quantity of past contributions of the team to the training and mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers and other highly qualified personnel.

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria above, based on the following scoring table. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.

Score Descriptor


Very good to excellent


Good to very good


Satisfactory to good

Below 3


Communication of results

Research offices will be informed of their applicants’ competition results via SSHRC’s secure site. All applicants will be provided, in addition to SSHRC’s notice of decision, a summary of the adjudication committee’s evaluation of their proposal.

Regulations, policies and related information

SSHRC reserves the right to determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information included. SSHRC also reserves the right to interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities.

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. See the Open Access overview for more information. SSHRC also encourages researchers to manage, in accordance with both community standards and best practices (including SSHRC’s Research Data Archiving Policy), data arising from their research.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

Guidelines and related support material

All applicants for SSHRC funding should consult the following guidelines while preparing their applications:

Contact Information

For more information, contact:

Tel.: 1-855-275-2861

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