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Results of the 2017 Thematic Grant Call & Launch of the 2018 Thematic Grant Call

1. Set up in January 2016, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) provides direction and concerted support to strengthen social science and humanities research in Singapore. Given the importance of social science and humanities research in tackling some of Singapore’s key challenges, the SSRC is also committed to nurturing local talent in the social sciences and humanities fields, and building a stronger core of local researchers and thought leaders who are familiar with issues relevant to Singapore and Asia.

RESULTS OF 2017 SSRTG CALL

2. The 2017 Social Science Research Thematic Grant (SSRTG) has been awarded to 11 projects with a total funding of about $15 million. These projects were selected from 48 proposals received from seven institutions, namely, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), and ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

3. The projects were selected on the basis of intellectual merit and their potential impact on and contribution to society and the economy. Productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship featured strongly, while other projects examined the impact of globalisation and technology on society. The synopses of the supported projects are in Annex A.

4. Prof Lim Sun Sun, Head of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at SUTD, whose project is on tackling digital disruptions in the workplace, believes her research will “help companies support workers as they cope with transformations in their jobs and working environments, so as to ensure smoother adaptation”. Associate Professor Roy Chua from the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at SMU, whose research is on understanding barriers and opportunities for women in innovation and entrepreneurship in Singapore, said, “Although women’s participation in the workforce has increased greatly over the decades, there is still a significant gender gap in innovation achievements and entrepreneurship in Singapore and globally. Our research aims to better understand the social dynamics that prevent women from contributing more effectively to innovation. We hope our findings can help more women succeed in innovation work and entrepreneurship.”

LAUNCH OF 2018 SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH THEMATIC GRANT CALL

5. As the Grant call enters its third year, the themes have been broadened to welcome submissions from a wider range of topics and disciplines. The 2018 grant call will support research under these three broad themes:

  1. Identities and Social Integration;
  2. Society and the New Economy; and
  3. Cities and Humanity. (New Open Category for 2018 SSRTG)

6. As the forces of globalisation and technological change propel political, social, and economic transformation, societies worldwide are faced with the challenges of coping with greater uncertainty and complexity as a matter of course. The first two themes for the 2018 call sets out to encourage inquiry into such matters. The first theme focuses on how identity and social integration may be influenced by factors such as social inequalities and mobility, norms and values, social support and community development, and public policies, in response to the structural and demographic changes taking place in Singapore and the region. The second is meant to enhance our understanding of the impact of technology and economic change on various social, economic, and/or political outcomes in Singapore and our region.

7. The third theme, on the other hand, allows applicants to examine any topics concerning cities and human-related issues which are relevant to Singapore. This is a new open category that aims to add latitude to the SSRTG and to encourage the submission of creative and compelling proposals from a wider range of social science and humanities disciplines. Unlike the first two themes, applicants will not be limited by any focus areas within the theme. We expect to refresh the broad theme of the open category annually.

8. The SSRTG provides two tiers of funding for supported projects:

  • Type A: $100,000 to $1 million for up to 3 years; supports smaller-scale research, and encourages broad-based participation in research in areas of strategic relevance; and
  • Type B: $1 million to $10 million over 3 to 5 years; supports larger-scale research, and encourages research institutes to collaborate to pursue more ambitious, inter-disciplinary research on issues of cross-cutting interest.

  • Details on the evaluation criteria are in Annex B. 

9. Interested applicants can approach the research offices at their respective universities and eligible research institutes to obtain more details and submit their applications. The call for proposals will end on 10 August 2018.

10. Chairman of the SSRC, Mr Peter Ho said, “We cannot underestimate the importance of research in informing the way we think about and deal with the significant societal challenges facing our world today. In that light, I am very heartened by the response to the 2017 Thematic Grant call, and the relevance of the proposals to the strategic issues facing Singapore today. We welcome proposals from a wider range of disciplines for our 2018 call, particularly for our new Open Category. It is a good start in our bid to strengthen the social science and humanities research ecosystem in Singapore.”

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