December 10, 2009 17:00 ET

Government Invests in Canada's Most Promising Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Students

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 10, 2009) - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced funding in the social sciences and humanities to promote the development of talent and the creation of knowledge among Canada's top graduate scholars in the social sciences and humanities. Through fellowships and scholarships administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the government of Canada is investing in Canada's future, supporting over 2500 graduate researchers at the master's and doctoral levels.

"As a part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, our government is committed to fostering world-class research, and increasing the supply of the highly qualified graduates that Canada needs to succeed in today's global knowledge economy," said Minister Goodyear. "We are committed to attracting and retaining the world's best and brightest minds, and to building on Canada's reputation as a world leader in university-based research."

"We fund research that builds understanding of complex issues affecting our society," said SSHRC President Chad Gaffield. "The competitive global labour market now seeks those who can combine existing knowledge and understanding with independent analysis, new ideas and articulate expression. These fellowships and scholarships will promote the development of just such talented individuals, providing Canada with the creative, innovative people necessary for success in the digital age."

The Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGSs) for master's and doctoral students and the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships are part of the government's commitment to supporting research excellence and furthering Canada's knowledge advantage. These programs are a key tool in Canada's efforts to attract and retain the world's best and brightest minds, and the research these scholars carry out in the social sciences and humanities will serve to further Canada's knowledge advantage.

This year's successful award recipients will be undertaking research across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including in: history, education, politics, economics, law, literature and digital humanities. Their research projects will provide these graduate students with training that will increase Canada's talent pool for the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. For example:

- Children with cancer may face an uphill battle not only in recovering their health, but also in adjusting to a range of social situations. At the University of Toronto, Melody Ashworth is using her SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship to improve the quality of life of these children and their families, advancing our understanding of intervention in the treatment of children with cancer and behavioral issues.

- At Queen's University, SSHRC doctoral fellow Andrea Hunter is hoping to bridge the divide between the sciences and the humanities. At the intersection of technology and the arts, her work will investigate case studies in the digital humanities, examining how knowledge is built, what social factors contribute to knowledge creation, and how far digital technology can take us.

- At Dalhousie University, Janice Ashworth will devote her master's research to identifying the most effective ways to overcome knowledge barriers faced by community-based renewable energy projects, thereby maximizing the local benefits yielded from energy development.

- Through her master's research at the Universite de Sherbrooke, Marie-Claude Boudreau is looking at ways to better integrate ethics in the world of work. More than simply creating ethical codes, she wants to develop formal tools to help organizations further their efforts to promote ethical behaviour in the workplace.

- Depression is one of the most common mental health issues worldwide. The stigma surrounding it can be a significant burden, preventing those who need help from seeking it. At the University of Calgary, Rachel Martin is using her SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship to evaluate the relative effectiveness of different anti-stigma approaches, with the goal of combating the image around depression.

In 2009-10, $21.5 million will be awarded for one-year Joseph-Armand Bombardier (CGS) master's scholarships, $24.9 million will be awarded to support SSHRC doctoral fellows over multiple years, and $39.7 million will be awarded to support Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS doctoral scholars over three years. This announcement also includes funding of $14.1 million from Canada's Economic Action Plan. The Plan provided an additional $17.5 million over three years, starting in 2009-10, for business-related degrees.

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