SSHRC awards $49K to three McGill-led research projects

Three McGill researchers received Knowledge Synthesis Grants in support of their collaborative projects strengthening Canada-UK Trade Relations after Brexit

The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the United Kingdom (UK) recently awarded ten Knowledge Synthesis Grants (KSG) in its latest round of the competition to assess the state of research knowledge on Canada-UK trade relationships in a post-Brexit world. Of the ten grants awarded, McGill received three, totaling close to $49,000 in funding support.

From left to right: McGill’s Armand de Mestral, Andrea K. Bjorklund and Krzysztof Pelc 

Canada’s SSHRC and the UK’s ESRC launched this dedicated KSG competition to support projects led by researchers based in Canada and the UK collaborating to synthesize existing knowledge and identify research strengths and gaps around Canada-UK trade relations in a post-Brexit context. The main themes across the KSG projects include diverse issues like economy, trade, governance, technology, and the environment.

The KSG supports the goals of SSHRC’s Imaging Canada’s Future initiative, which positions the social sciences and humanities as essential to addressing complex societal challenges facing Canadians. The grant aligns with one of the initiative’s future challenge areas, What knowledge will Canada need to thrive in an interconnected, evolving global landscape?

“Thanks to the support of SSHRC and the Economic and Social Research Council, researchers at McGill and in the UK will collaborate to develop lasting research partnerships and accelerate the enhancement of future Canada-UK trade relationships,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “Congratulations to Professors Bjorklund, Pelc and de Mestral, whose work will also strengthen future McGill-UK trade relations in particular.”

Investment Promotion and Protection in the Canada-UK Trade Relationship

Andrea K. Bjorklund, Faculty of Law Professor and the L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law, received $17,700 from SSHRC for her project, Investment Promotion and Protection in the Canada-UK Trade Relationship. Professor Bjorklund is the Canadian Principal Investigator (PI), Project Coordinator, and the Primary Contact for the project. Her PI counterpart in the UK is Professor Yarik Kryvoi, Director of the Investment Treaty Forum and Senior Research Fellow in International Economic Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Collaborating on the project is Dr. Jean-Michel Marcoux, McGill Faculty of Law Post-Doctoral Fellow.

After Brexit, the promotion and protection of investment have emerged as a crucial issue of the future trade relationship between Canada and the UK. This project seeks to identify and analyze legal conditions that should be included in international investment agreements. With thorough content analysis of international investment agreements and propositions from international investment law experts, the project will address the various possibilities considered by negotiators with respect to dispute settlement, the extent of protections granted to foreign investors, and the obligations imposed on these parties.

Charting the Sources of Brexit: Lessons for Canadian-UK Relations

Krzysztof Pelc, Political Science professor, received $16,000 in SSHRC funding for his Knowledge Synthesis project, Charting the Sources of Brexit: Lessons for Canadian-UK Relations. He is the Canadian PI, Project Coordinator and Primary Contact for the project. Professor Pelc’s British counterpart is Kenneth Shadlen, International Development Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The project also includes two co-applicants: Leonardo Baccini, McGill Political Science Professor, and Stephanie Rickard, LSE Political Science Professor.

According to the researchers working on this project, the Brexit vote was arguably the most important European event since the end of the Cold War and has been the most prominent example of backlash against global governance in recent years. The researchers hypothesize that Canada is not immune to the issues that gave rise to Brexit in the UK; their suspicion is that an economic downturn in Canada could turn popular opinion against economic openness. The aim of this project is to determine to what extent Canada is similarly prone to such resistance to global integration, how it might affect relations with trade partners like the UK, and how domestic redistribution schemes can alleviate these tensions. Brexit was a teachable moment, and this project seeks to learn from its lessons.

The Legal Structure of the Trading Relationship of the United Kingdom and Canada after Brexit

Armand de Mestral, Faculty of Law Professor Emeritus, received $14,973 in funding for his project on The Legal Structure of the Trading Relationship of the United Kingdom and Canada after Brexit. He is the Canadian PI, Project Coordinator, and Primary Contact for the project and is mirrored by the Principal Investigator in the UK, Lorand Bartels, Faculty of Law Professor at the University of Cambridge.

To ensure continuity with respect to trade between Canada and the UK after Brexit formally occurs on March 29, 2019, researchers seek to extensively study the legalities. Therefore, the project will focus on legal issues posed by Brexit for trade in goods and services between Canada and the UK. It will be necessary for researchers to study the extent to which existing international legal arrangements and domestic legislation provide for a satisfactory trading relationship before Brexit comes into effect. This study will aid policy-makers to identify where new agreements and new legislations are needed, and to come up with solutions on how to properly maintain an open and stable relationship between Canada and the UK.

View the latest round of Knowledge Synthesis Grants Competition Results.