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Is the MA SSHRC tied to the student or school?


glos4250
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Hi everyone, 

 

I've  been offered an MA SSHRC from Laurier and I have been listed as an "alternate" for Guelph, Dalhousie, and Ottawa.  My top choice is Guelph.

 

I've talked to many professors both at Laurier and Guelph and they all seem to be confused by this alternate system.  So, I am wondering, am I able to accept the award from Laurier and then just take it to Guelph?  Or, do I have to hold the award at Laurier if I accept the Laurier SSHRC offer?

 

Thanks very much to anyone who can shed light on this, I do not want to go to Laurier but obviously I'd very much like the SSHRC.

 

Have a great week everybody and good luck to anyone making their sshrc related decisions soon.   :)

 

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The CGS-M is tied to the school, not the student because it is now granted by the school you applied to (i.e. you would have submitted separate applications for each school you applied to). It used to be tied to the student (and granted by SSHRC) but not anymore.

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I am just wondering why you think this? Do you mind explaining?

I've said this before, but this change in rules is terrible. Instead of a feather in an applicant's cap, SSHRC has become a recruiting tool for institutions.

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For the youngins-- SSHRC used to be a two stage process where (1) each institution picked its best applicants to forward to SSHRC then (2) SSHRC gave awards to the best applicants that they could take up anywhere. Usually it was hard to get out of your school, but if you got to Ottawa the funding rate was > 80% (for MA's).

 

When I applied for graduate school I wrote in my statement, "My SSHRC was forwarded to the the national competition," and POIs knew that I would probably arrive with money. This made me look like a better candidate, because I was cheaper and because getting money once increases the likelihood of getting it again. It also gave me flexibility because I knew that money was less of a determining factor in where I could go.

 

Forgive me if I get some details wrong on the new process because I don't follow so closely anymore, I just hear secondhand from people in my lab. It seems that now the university can say, "We want this person to come, let's give them the SSHRC." That's not bad--money is money!--but there were already other means of doing this like entrance scholarships. SSHRC was unique because it gave agency to the applicants.

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Double post because I wanted to keep the political stuff separate. I see parallels with the government's recent focus on funding business-oriented applied research, which is foolish. There are lots of funding sources for research with business applications--corporations pay for it all the time!--but basic research really only comes from governments/universities nowadays. There's so little money for basic science and now instead it's supposed to subsidize corporate research? Ick.

 

Since this policy and others have been enacted the number of peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, and issued patents by government scientists has dropped dramatically over the past decade. The current federal government has been terrifyingly bad for science in Canada.

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Okay I guess it was just very different in the programs I applied to as I was offered spots before I got SSHRC, and the department wasn't aware I was awarded it until after I knew. My understanding was that admissions and the SSHRC committee have absolutely no interaction so as to not bias the results. I was actually offered SSHRC at institutions I was not admitted, which I could have used to persuade my admittance if I had not already accepted another offer. I never felt anyone was using the SSHRC as a recruitment technique, but maybe that was just my experience.

Double post because I wanted to keep the political stuff separate. I see parallels with the government's recent focus on funding business-oriented applied research, which is foolish. There are lots of funding sources for research with business applications--corporations pay for it all the time!--but basic research really only comes from governments/universities nowadays. There's so little money for basic science and now instead it's supposed to subsidize corporate research? Ick.

Since this policy and others have been enacted the number of peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, and issued patents by government scientists has dropped dramatically over the past decade. The current federal government has been terrifyingly bad for science in Canada.

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I agree with lewin. I had the "old" NSERC CGS-M and it was the same way! In addition, because each school wants the NSERC CGS-M recipient to choose their school, each school will often grant "signing bonuses" to people who come in with the CGS-M. My school granted an extra $5000 for anyone with a NSERC, CIHR, or SSHRC award at any level. This allowed me to take home more than $42,000 in my first year of my MSc (it was much less after paying tuition but that year remains my highest take-home income year ever!). Having a CGS-M also allowed students to negotiate offers better -- since you will be almost free for your advisor, this allowed you to basically work for anyone you wanted. Finally, when it was granted nationwide, there was a CGS-M and a PGS-M level award (PGS-M is $200 less). Almost all applicants received a CGS-M, but if you wanted to take your award outside of Canada, you would have to take the PGS-M instead. Now, you cannot take this money outside of Canada, and Canadians that study in the US can only apply for the PGS-D and thus are limited to only 3 years of NSERC/SSHRC funding rather than the 4.

 

However, clinpsych99 is right that most admissions decisions are still made before the ~April 1 notification date for the CGS-M. It's not quite the recruiting tool that you might interpret lewin's post to be, but instead, since the school decides who gets the CGS-M, it takes agency away from the student (you lose all of the benefits I wrote above). Also, it could be a "recruiting tool" in the sense that if you have not yet made a decision between A and B by April 1, either A or B can use the CGS-M award as a way to entice you / improve your offer. This is still good for you, however, this gives control to the school, not to the student.

 

And finally, I just want to point out that although I still feel these changes are bad, it's important to look at these changes in the context of a lot of other changes that happened with NSERC (and maybe SSHRC too?) at this time. Under the old NSERC rules, students that are paid on NSERC awards at any level cannot also be paid by their researcher through their researcher's NSERC grants. This means a CGS-M holder actually costs the department more money (but the advisor a lot less money) than someone who does not hold a NSERC award. Also, the CGS-M used to be a 2 year award (before my time though), and perhaps having the school make the decision on a 1-year award isn't so bad. Although it does remove student agency, it does allow schools to have more control over their budgets and they know exactly how much $$ they will be getting from SSHRC/NSERC each year. I can imagine for big schools, they know they will always get a fair number of award holders, but small schools might have large fluctuations in how many award holders come, which can make good budgeting very difficult. With school controlled quotas, they know how many award holders will be present each year.

 

Overall, while I can see the immediate detriments to student agency with the CGS-M change, I acknowledge that there may be a lot of other factors I don't know about (after all, we mostly only see the "student" side) that make this change a good choice. However, I still really hope (for future students' sake) that the CGS-D/PGS-D structure remains the same!!

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