Harrison McCain Research Grants

Harrison McCain Research Grants are available to STU faculty members, through a generous donation by the Harrison McCain Foundation, to support research-based knowledge creation in the social sciences and humanities in the form of small-scale research projects, in line with SSHRC’s Insight program. Harrison McCain Research Grants are particularly intended for research project development and pilot studies leading to larger research projects.


Harrison McCain Research Grants are intended to provide valuable seed funding for faculty members to develop their research and position it to be impactful and competitive at a national scale. Therefore, grantees are strongly encouraged to consider applying for grants under SSHRC’s national competitions.


Funding: In the 2023-24 academic year, the Senate Research Committee anticipates funding four grants from our SSHRC internal funding (SSHRC Explore or SSHRC Exchange grants), eight grants from our Harrison McCain Foundation internal funding (Harrison McCain Research or Harrison McCain Knowledge Mobilization grants). Depending on the number and quality of applications, the SRC may make adjustments to these allocations, or may decide to hold additional competitions. Unsuccessful SSHRC Explore and Harrison McCain Research Grant applicants may be added to the pool of applicants for a General Research Grant, of which the SRC anticipates funding up to ten in 2023-24, depending on demand.


Deadline: TBD


Duration: Maximum two years.




Applicant eligibility: All full-time and part-time faculty members, with a preference given to emerging scholars (those who have completed less than eight years of service at STU by the submission deadline) and faculty holding regular part-time appointments. Any applicant who has previously received an internal research grant must have submitted their final report. Applicants may not hold more than one grant (internal or external) for the same project at the same time. Applicants may not hold more than one internal research grant at a time. Subject matter must be consistent with SSHRC’s subject matter eligibility.


Expenses: Proposed expenses must be specific and well-justified, and must be used in accordance with the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration. All funds must be used effectively, economically, and must be essential for the activity.


Eligible expenses pertaining to research activities include:

  • Student training/research assistance for activities directly related to the project
  • Equipment/software that is essential for the project (please note that computer purchases must be clearly justified in relation to the specific research aims, as applicant PDA and STU’s Evergreen computer exchange program are the normal method of obtaining basic general-purpose computers)
  • Travel costs for research purposes
  • Dissemination expenses (up to 25% of budget)
  • Other direct research costs


Please note that internal research grants are not to be used for conference travel.


Adjudication criteria:


Challenge: Aim, importance of, and need for the endeavour (40%)

  • Clarity of stated purpose and objectives
  • Originality and significance of the proposed research
  • Proposal is well-grounded in the literature
  • Appropriateness of theoretical framework
  • Appropriateness of methodology
  • Plans for research dissemination
  • Quality of student training strategies


Feasibility: Plan to achieve excellence (30%)

  • Probability that objectives will be met within proposed timelines
  • Appropriateness and justification of the proposed budget


Capability: Expertise to succeed (30%)

  • Applicant’s research record and past experience relative to career stage
  • Applicant’s record of student training relative to career stage
  • Potential of the applicant to make future contributions and secure external grants


To apply:

  • Submit a completed online application form along with all requested documentation by noon on the deadline date.
  • Applicants must use the official Senate Research Committee application form found at the top of this page. Other formats will not be accepted and incomplete applications will be disadvantaged. Late applications will not be considered.


A complete application consists of:

  • A 500-word report summarizing the dissemination results of your two (if applicable) most recent Internal Research Grants (SSHRC Explore, Harrison McCain, MRG, GRG). 
  • A 2000-word, double-spaced, rationale written for an interdisciplinary, educated, non-specialist audience, which explains the significance of the current project, including:
    • Objectives/goals of the study
    • Theoretical base and/or congruence with discipline
    • Methodology
    • Plans for dissemination of work
    • Budget Rationale (half page) with supporting documentation (see Budget section below)
  • A full curriculum vitae.


  • The Senate Research Committee requires a fully detailed and itemized budget with the application. The onus is on the applicant to explicitly demonstrate that the monies applied for will be used only for the research project detailed in the current application, and to implement the budget as submitted.
  • Submissions must make a connection between budget items and proposal.
  • Computer purchases are not normally considered eligible expenses using internal research grants. Computers are basic work tools and are most appropriately obtained using a combination of PDA and the University’s “Evergreen” computer replacement program, especially as computers are used for a wide range of work purposes and are not limited to specific research projects. Applicants wishing to include computer purchases in their budgets must make a strong technological rationale for why specific computing equipment beyond a standard computer is required for specific research purposes.  
  • Supporting documentation for budget items MUST be included (i.e. flight costs, hotel costs, transcription fees, supplies, equipment, etc.). 
  • Previously incurred expenses (i.e. incurred before competition deadline) will not be considered eligible for reimbursement.
  • Budgets cannot include funds used to pay wages to the applicant or co-applicant.
  • Dissemination costs can be included in the budget but must not total more than 25% of the overall budget request.
  • The current (domestic) rates for reimbursement for per diems and mileage are: 
    • Breakfast $11
    • Lunch $14
    • Dinner $25
    • Incidental $10
    • Mileage 0.46 cents per kilometer

      Further information on U.S. and International rates can be found in the University Expenditure (Travel) Policy.


Research Assistant Funding:
Applications may include requests for Research Assistant funding, as part of the grant application. The criteria for adjudicating applications which include requests for RA funding will be as follows:

  • The quality of the research project
  • The demonstrated need for an RA in accomplishing this project
  • A training plan for the RA (this could be done by the faculty member or by another resource, such as HIL workshops)
  • If you are hiring a STU undergraduate student you must follow the university's student hiring guidelines
  • The SRC strongly encourages faculty to apply to the STU JOBS and Harrison McCain Student Research Internships competitions before requesting undergraduate RAs in SSHRC Explore, Harrison McCain Research Grant, or GRG applications


Post Award

  • Research grants are to be used by the deadline date specified in the letter of award, unless a request for an extension is approved by the Associate Vice-President (Research).
  • Approval from the St. Thomas Research Ethics Board is required before funds for research involving human participants are released. Ethics application forms are available on the REB section of our website.
  • Recipients’ names and project titles may be placed on the research web site and in the ORS Annual Report.
  • Applicants wishing to make post-award changes to their budgets/expenditure plans must seek the permission of the Associate Vice-President (Research).
  • Faculty securing internal research grants must complete the Final Report Form on their research activities/outcomes to the ORS within 30 days of the end date of their award.

Adjudication Grid