Understanding the future of Canada-UK trade relationships

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC–part of UK Research and Innovation) launched a dedicated Knowledge Synthesis Grants (KSG) competition in January 2018.


The KSG competition on understanding the future of Canada-UK trade relationships had three main goals:

  • to assess the state of research knowledge on Canada-UK trade relationships and to gain a better understanding of post-Brexit bilateral trade relations
  • to identify research strengths and gaps contributing to evidence- based policy making process
  • to foster international collaboration between Canadian and the UK research community.

This competition builds on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and the UK concerning Science, Technology and Innovation, which was signed in September 2017. One of the MOU’s key objectives is to enable research cooperation and foster international partnerships between the two countries’ academia, government institutions and businesses. This will lead to positive impacts for society in Canada, the UK and around the world.

Learn more about the competition

Following a competitive funding process, ten KSG projects were funded in May 2018. Grant holders presented their key findings and outcomes at a multi-sector forum in December 2018 in London. World-leading researchers, leaders from government, business, and civil society sectors and think tank representatives attended the forum.

Final synthesis reports

The resulting ten final synthesis reports, highlight the opportunities a new trade agreement poses for innovation and leadership roles for both countries. They also emphasize the importance and value of using the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) as a model. Three of the reports focused on the causes of Brexit and the demographics and socio-economic factors that influence support for international trade agreements. Many of the reports stress the value of including a wide range of stakeholders from government, policy institutions, business and civil society sectors in the negotiation process. The reports also discussed the role that subnational or sub-state actors could play, as well the role of geography and distance in trade considerations.

This collection of evidence briefs highlight some of the research findings from the KSG holder’s final synthesis reports and their relevance in key policy areas related to future Canada-UK trade relationships. The briefs also help grant holders engage with their non-academic partners and effectively share information about their projects with policy-makers and the wider public.