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$3.3 million going toward McMaster humanities and social science research Some projects include reconciliation efforts and the value of sports programs for at-risk youth

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Saba Manzoor

The federal government has awarded $3.3 million in grants to 72 social sciences and humanities researchers at McMaster.

These grants are a part of the federal government’s social sciences and humanities research council’s “Insight Development Grant” program.

McMaster was one of nearly 80 post-secondary institutions across the country to receive part of the $141 million overall grant funding provided by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

This announcement comes a few months after McMaster maintained its rank as Canada’s most research-intensive university on the list of Canada’s top 50 research universities.

Funding through government programs, such as the SSHRC-IDG, continues to play a significant role in establishing the university’s rank on the list.

In addition to being lauded for the quality of their research, McMaster’s humanities and social science researchers have also been recognized for the communicability of their research.

In particular, they were the recipients of the 2017 SSHRC award of excellence for communications, which recognized the accessibility of McMaster research for non-expert audiences.

One of this year’s research grant recipients is Jeffrey Denis, an associate professor in the department of sociology.

Denis’ funds are being put towards a collaborative project with Reconciliation Kenora, a non-profit organization comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents in Northwestern Ontario.

The goal of Denis’ project is to improve local relationships and better understand the reconciliation efforts that prevail in this part of the province.

“Our plan is to conduct a series of video-recorded sharing circles with Anishinaabe, Metis and settler residents about what reconciliation means, the barriers and enablers to achieving it and how to engage more people in the process,” said Denis.

Brent McKnight, an assistant professor with the DeGroote School of Business, is another grant recipient this year.

Through this funding, McKnight will be evaluating how external considerations, such as environmental, social and governance factors, contribute to financial investments.

Specifically, McKnight will be examining how these factors play into a retail market investment decisions.

“There are few sources of funding for social science research and this multi-year grant is critical,” said McKnight.  

Mark Norman, another grant recipient, is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of health, aging and society at McMaster.

With the funding, Norman will be investigating the organization and social meanings of sport and physical recreation in Ontario youth detention centres.

According to Norman, despite their popularity in youth correctional facilities, evidence suggests that implementing sports programs for at-risk youth produces mixed outcomes.

Norman’s project aims to reconcile the knowledge gap and explore why these programs are yielding these results.

“It is crucial that Canadian governments and post-secondary institutions invest in social sciences and humanities research, particularly projects that investigate pressing social problems or provide insight on how to ameliorate social injustices in our society,” explains Norman.

Other research projects funded through the grant cover a wide range of topics, including the history of smallpox and the effects of taxation on trade.

 

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