Knowledge Synthesis Grants Program Competition

Last date: 
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Detailed Description

The SSHRC and Infrastructure Canada (INFC) have launched this Knowledge Synthesis Grants (KSG) competition to mobilize social sciences and humanities research to examine and synthesize existing knowledge on mobility and public transit issues.

Knowledge Synthesis Grants 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; and

assist in developing future research agendas.

Applicants must address the following three objectives in their proposals:

State of knowledge, strengths, and gaps

  • critically assess the state of knowledge of the theme under consideration from a variety of sources, as appropriate;
  • identify knowledge strengths and gaps within the theme; and
  • identify the most promising policies and practices related to the theme.

Research data

  • assess the quality, accuracy, and rigor (i.e., methodological approaches) of current work in the field; and
  • identify strengths and gaps in the quantitative and qualitative data available.

Knowledge mobilization

  • engage cross-sectoral stakeholders (academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors) and/or First Nations, Métis, and Inuit rights-holders throughout the project to mobilize knowledge related to promising policies and practices; and
  • use effective knowledge mobilization methods to facilitate the sharing of research findings with cross-sectoral stakeholders and Indigenous rights-holders.


Modal shift and integrated transportation

  • What is being done, in Canada and elsewhere, to holistically encourage a modal shift toward public transit (e.g., integrated public transit investments, road tolling/cordon pricing, zoning, parking restrictions, etc.)?
  • What leading and innovative approaches are being used, in Canada and internationally, to pursue multimodal transportation integration?
  • How are new technologies (digitization, open data, automation, apps, etc.) being leveraged to assist in multimodal transportation integration?
  • In line with digitization, how are data being collected, protected, and used to make decisions about transit investments?
  • How is active transportation being promoted in Canada and internationally, and how can public transit developments be leveraged to encourage active modes of transportation?

Land use planning and transit-oriented development

  • What leading practices are being used to integrate transportation and land use planning in North America and elsewhere (including public transit, greenhouse gas mitigation, and housing considerations)?
  • How is transit and transportation planning currently being used to tackle sprawl in Canada and North America?
  • What leading practices are being used to better align access to transit and affordable housing?
  • What leading practices are being used to better align access to transit to essential services?
  • What is being done, in Canada and elsewhere, to effectively leverage transit-oriented value uplift, and to reinvest this value in public services and assets?

Environmental considerations

  • What are the leading approaches to quantifying and assessing immediate and long-term direct and indirect greenhouse gas impacts of public transit development?
  • What innovative and emerging solutions are being employed, in Canada and internationally, in the context of public transit investments, to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and improve climate change resilience?
  • Are public transit users motivated by concern for the environment and a desire for a more sustainable way of life?

Rural mobility

  • What innovative and emerging solutions are being used to promote rural mobility in Canada and elsewhere?
  • What unique social and economic barriers do rural municipalities face in providing sustainable, viable public transit services?
  • What are the impacts of regional transit networks and coordinated transit plans on rural communities in Canada and elsewhere?

Changing transit needs

  • What data (age, gender, socio-economic status, etc.) are collected about public transit users in different jurisdictions, and what methodologies are used?
  • How might change commuting patterns, the popularization of remote work arrangements, and public health concerns (as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and previously during SARS outbreaks, in Canada and internationally) affect public transit ridership, the use of active transportation options, and overall modal shift? How might transit systems and municipalities adapt as they also look to transition to zero-emission technologies?
  • How do changes in economic activity affect transit ridership, and how do recessions in particular affect mobility?

Funding Information

  • Knowledge Synthesis Grants are valued at $30,000 for one year. Knowledge mobilization activities (that is, conference presentations and outreach activities) can take place throughout the year.
  • All synthesis reports must be completed by November 2021, prior to the one-day forum. Up to 10 grants may be awarded.

Eligibility Criteria


  • Applications can be submitted by an individual researcher or a team of researchers (consisting of one applicant and one or more co-applicants and/or collaborators).
  • Applicants must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian institution before funding can be released. Researchers who maintain an affiliation with a Canadian institution, but whose primary affiliation is with a non-Canadian post-secondary institution, are not eligible for applicant status.
  • Applicants who have received an 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.
  • Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to be applicants if they have formally established an affiliation with an eligible institution at the time of application and maintain such an affiliation for the duration of the grant period.


  • Grant funds can only be administered by an eligible Canadian institution. Institutions proposing to administer a grant awarded under this funding opportunity must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.
  • Indigenous not-for-profit organizations being assessed for or holding institutional eligibility to administer multiple grants over a five-year period are eligible to administer Knowledge Synthesis Grants. They must obtain institutional eligibility before funding is released.
  • Institutions must contact Corporate Strategy and Performance if they have questions about institutional eligibility.

Co-applicants: An individual (including postdoctoral researchers) is eligible to be a co-applicant if they are formally affiliated with any of the following:

Canadian: Eligible postsecondary institution; not-for-profit organization; philanthropic foundation; think tank; or municipal, territorial or provincial government

International: Postsecondary institution.


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