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Steve, great post. I'd have been interested in seeing economics broken out from that "other" number, but perhaps I'll have to wait until tomorrow.

On this: "Perhaps a broader lesson is that SSHRC isn't very good at 'directing' research, and should avoid trying to do so."

To reach that conclusion, wouldn't we need to look at the research funded under the buzzword studies categories - the volume, the quality, the impact, etc - and compare it to research funded under traditional categories. It could be that these funding envelopes did indeed promote path-breaking research. I share your scepticism about the value of, say, leadership research, but I'm sceptical about the value of lots of traditional SSHRC-funded research too. What is the reason to believe that the projects funded under these envelopes were of lower quality than the typical SSHRC-funded research project?

Enjoying the series.

In a nutshell, Research Creation is the form of research in which the primary outcome is a creative work: a novel, a collection of poetry, a play, a musical composition, a dance performance, and so on. Essentially, the category allows SSHRC funding for colleagues in Faculties of Fine Arts and for people in Creative Writing programs.

"These aren't fields of scholarly research so much as they are the names of sections in an airport bookstore."
Great line.

Bartbeaty - thanks. Given that it was coupled with Fine Arts in last year's competition, that's sort of what I was guessing.

Stehen, as SSHRC rep for a major Canadian university I have struggled long and hard for the past three years to understand the trend lines in the level of IG funding in comparison to the old SRG program. Your four part analysis certainly sheds a lot of light on what has happened since the transition. However, the only one I disagree with is Part III. I have repeatedly asked SSHRC staff about the relevance of the five priority areas for scoring of proposals in both the IG program and the partnership grants and they have insisted that proposals referencing these priority areas were not given any special credit in their evaluations. I agree with the suggestion that focus on the five priority areas was largely part of a defensive tactic by SSHRC with those holding the purse strings to maintain overall levels of funding for their programs. Nonetheless, thanks for the very helpful analysis you have provided for all of us working to improve the quality of support for social science and humanities research in Canada.

David - All I know from the SSHRC spreadsheets is that these areas had/have their own committees and budgets.

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