Response Letter from SSHRC
Thank you for your e-mail expressing concerns regarding the recent mediacoverage about a grant proposal by Dr. Brian Alters of McGill University.
The theory of evolution is not in doubt. SSHRC recognizes the theory ofevolution as one of the cornerstones of modern science and of ourunderstanding of the world. As part of its support for critical enquiry inthe social sciences and humanities, SSHRC has funded many research projectson evolution and society over the years. In 2005, Dr. Alters was awarded athree-year research grant of $175,000 to study concepts of biologicalevolution in Islamic society. Projects of this nature that meet thestandards for scientific excellence will continue to be funded.
SSHRC's funding decisions are made by an internationally-recognizedpeer-review process that evaluates and makes recommendations on grantproposals. Each research proposal we receive is reviewed by a volunteercommittee of independent Canadian experts, who then provide advice to SSHRCregarding the quality of the proposal and whether it should be funded. Peerreview ensures that all SSHRC-funded projects meet the highest standards foracademic excellence.
In the case of Dr. Alters' recent proposal, the committee's decision was notbased on doubts about the theory of evolution; rather, the committee hadserious concerns about the proposed research design.
Like all applicants, Dr. Alters may appeal the funding decision on the basisof factual or procedural errors in the adjudication process.
For more information about research that we have funded and the processinvolved in awarding funding, please visit our website (www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca) or contact our public affairs division.Thank you again for expressing your concerns.
Janet E. Halliwell
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council