The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),  the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) support and promote high-quality research in a wide variety of disciplines and areas. Together, they make up the Tri-Council funding agencies, the primary mechanism through which the Government of Canada supports research and training at post-secondary institutions. 



The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency responsible for funding health research in Canada. CIHR funds research in four key health pillars (research areas):

  • Biomedical
  • Clinical
  • Health systems services
  • Social, cultural, environmental and population health

See CIHR University Delegates Network Monthly Meeting Notes


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is responsible for funding research in the natural sciences and engineering. NSERC’s mission is to make investments in people, discovery, and innovation to increase Canada’s scientific and technological capabilities for the benefit of all Canadians. NSERC administers both competitive and non-competitive programs for research-related funding in the three areas mentioned above.


The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, the Council enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada, and facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.

Applications to SSHRC as the primary source of research or research training support must meet the following two criteria:

  • The proposed research or related activities must be primarily in the social sciences and humanities.
  • The intended outcome of the research must primarily be to add to our understanding and knowledge of individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us.

Subject matter eligibility

The granting agencies were created by Acts of Parliament, which define their individual mandates. In turn, these mandates define the areas of research funded by each agency. To learn more about which funding agency you should apply to with your project please visit the Government of Canada's website.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

EDI Plans are required for some Tri-Council funding applications. This presentation provides:

  • an understanding of how EDI is tied to research excellence
  • initial and essential learning to develop an authentic, high-impact EDI plan in a research program/team, and
  • skills to address EDI-related selection criteria and avoid common issues in Tri-council funding applications. 

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