December 16, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

King’s faculty has continued to pursue research that gives a voice to the experiences of marginalized people across Canada. When the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) published their latest list of Insight Development Grants, it highlighted the research of several members of King’s faculty as the recipients of grants.

“It is gratifying to see months of preparation and relationship-building by our researchers recognized through these grants. These projects exemplify King’s tradition of giving voice to the experiences of marginalized people through high-quality and innovative research. We look forward to seeing the fruits of this important work in communities, classrooms, and academic publications,” says Dr. Trevor Bieber, King’s Research Facilitator.

Three national research grants led by members of the King’s faculty have been recognized by SSHRC. Projects in social work and sociology examining government social assistance, visible minorities in personal support work and how social work can be delivered virtually have received the prestigious funding.

Dr. Jinette Comeau, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was the applicant for “Intergenerational Persistence of Social Assistance Receipt: Pathways of Risk and Resilience”, which was awarded $49, 952. Dr. Comeau states that the evidence on intergenerational social assistance use and its potential causes is non-existent despite growing income inequality and limited opportunities for upward mobility in Canada. The SSHRC grant will help with research to inform policies and interventions that might prevent future social assistance use among the children of current recipients.

Dr. Jane Sanders, Assistant Professor of King’s School of Social Work, was the applicant on “Assessing the Support and Aid to Families Electronically program: An online social work practicum delivering support to families remotely”, which was awarded $46, 962. Dr. Rick Csiernik, Professor of King’s School of Social Work, was a co-applicant and Professor M.K. Arundel, Coordinator of Field Education for King’s School of Social Work, was a collaborator.

The School of Social Work at King’s partnered with the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) to develop the Support and Aid to Families Electronically (S.A.F.E.) program. S.A.F.E fills a gap in mental health services by offering immediate support to the families of TVDSB students while at the same time providing remote practicum placements for King’s Social Work students. The SSHRC research grant will investigate the impact of S.A.F.E. for the families, social work students, King’s and the TVDSB to determine the feasibility of continuing or expanding this program. 

Dr. Bharati Sethi, Associate Professor of King’s School of Social Work, was the lead applicant on “Visible Minority Personal Support Workers: An Invisible Labour Force”, which was awarded $71, 828.

With personal support workers (PSWs) emerging as COVID-19 heroes, their role as the backbone of the health care system and, ironically, their invisibility has been brought to light. Dr. Sethi’s research seeks a deeper understanding of racialized PSWs’ employment experiences in home/community-based care and long-term facilities in Southwestern Ontario.

As well, three projects where King’s faculty were named as co-applicants received Insight Development Grants. The projects in political science and disability studies examined the Supreme Court of Canada, political parties and immigration and children’s reaction to climate change.

Dr. Andrea Lawlor, Associate Professor of Political Science, was the co-applicant on “Understanding Public Support of the Supreme Court of Canada” which was awarded $47, 180.

While the Supreme Court of Canada historically has had high levels of public support, polls show this support has been in decline over the past decade. Dr. Lawlor’s research aims to identify whether the outcomes of specific high-profile court cases drive public support for the Supreme Court of Canada.

Dr. Lawlor was also a co-applicant on “Political Parties and Immigration in Canada”, which was awarded $70, 613.

The grant looks at 50-plus years of Canadian political activity to identify and assess how political parties have constructed narratives about migration that have become part of public discussion. The project will shed light on the evolution of Canadian immigration politics and will identify the impact of parties’ narratives on immigration policy, voting behaviour, and public opinion.

In addition to the two grants, Dr. Lawlor received an Insight Grant of $69, 662, for “Evaluating Canada's Experience with Behavioural Insights Policies in Personal Financial Management”, which was announced in April. “Dr. Lawlor was named on three separate SSHRC grants awarded in a single competition year (2020-2021). This is a noteworthy accomplishment,” says Dr. Bieber.

Dr. Daniella Bendo, Assistant Professor of Childhood and Youth Studies, is a co-applicant on “Children's rights, climate change, and emotional well-being: Equipping young Canadians to thrive in times of crisis”, which was awarded $72, 946.

The grant seeks to assess the extent to which climate change is causing emotional distress among Canadian young people (aged 14-18 years old). It will also engage a participatory research process with young people to develop and evaluate a climate-oriented social media campaign aimed at equipping young people with skills to thrive in the face of the climate crisis. 

In developing the grants, King’s faculty partnered with several other institutions:

  • Western University
  • McMaster University
  • Acadia University
  • Concordia University
  • Carleton University
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Italy)
  • Statistics Canada
  • Royal Roads University

“This speaks to the high-calibre research collaborations that King’s has in place through its researchers across Canada and internationally,” says Dr. Bieber.

Several faculty members, including Dr. Bendo, Dr. Comeau, Dr. Sanders, Dr. Lawlor and Dr. Sethi are considered early-career researchers. These grants recognize the academic and social impact these researchers have had at the start of their academic careers.

For more information and a complete list of recent Insight Development Grants, please visit the SSHRC website.