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Historical Dictionary, End-of-Life Care Research Projects Receive Support from SSHRC

Historical Dictionary, End-of-Life Care Research Projects Receive Support from SSHRC

Date: Thursday, June 23, 2022

Two St. Jerome’s University (SJU) faculty members were announced as grant recipients this month, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English, David-Antoine Williams and Department of Philosophy Assistant Professor, Andrew Stumpf were successful applicants among the 560 Insight Grants projects receiving support from Canada’s federal research funding agency. SSHRC funding for research excellence in social sciences and the humanities is available to emerging and established scholars for research initiatives of two to five years.


“We congratulate David and Andy on their successful project submissions, and those of our federated partners at the University of Waterloo,” noted SJU’s Vice President Academic and Dean, Carol Ann MacGregor. “In addition to making important contributions to their fields, David and Andy’s projects are notable for funding significant opportunities for both undergraduate and graduates students to be involved with cutting-edge research.“


SSHRC funding provides stable support for long-term research initiatives central to advancing knowledge. The Government of Canada invests in researchers and research teams because they help to provide the evidence needed to make informed decisions on communities, the economy, Canadians’ health and well-being, Indigenous reconciliation, and Canada’s future prosperity. Williams’s and Stumpf’s projects will each contribute in a unique way.


D-A Williams photo
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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the most complete historical account of the English language. In its current form, Williams noted that it is a lexicographical patchwork of new, revised, and legacy materials, much of it dating back to the nineteenth century. Williams’s project seeks to unlock the potential of the "data" within the OED, cleaning up bibliographical data and connecting it to large external bibliographical databases, and linking up new and old versions of the OED internally to produce a "track-changes," or Variorum, edition of “the definitive record of the English language.”


Williams’s research project “Opening the Oxford English Dictionary: A Data-Enhanced, Research-Ready Historical Dictionary”, received $265,720 in SSHRC funding. The majority of the SSHRC grant will be used to employ undergraduate research assistants, who will research, annotate, and verify data, and contribute to research publications. Other recent work on the OED completed by Williams includes a journal article and an OED Blog post on regional Englishes in OED.


“In addition to the grant funds from SSHRC, St Jerome's is making an important contribution to this project,” stated Williams, “providing a new research space, extra time for me to devote to the project - and of course undergraduate brains to do the work!”


Andy Stumpf
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Andrew Stumpf’s research project “Integrating Conceptual Analysis and Observational Studies to Improve End-of-Life Care in Canada” is focused on demonstrating how philosophical analysis combined with empirical study can improve the provision of end-of-life care in Canada. The project received $177,733 in funding and will combine philosophical/ethical reflection on intention, autonomy and altruism with sociological approaches to understanding the lived experience of individuals reaching the end-of-life and their carers. 


“Professional philosophers are well-equipped to help solve problems in healthcare that stem from conceptual unclarity,” stated Stumpf. “The SSHRC funding will help expand my existing Insight Development Grant research. It is a complex interdisciplinary project that would not be possible without SSHRC funding.”


Stumpf noted that approximately 95% of the project budget will go to support for a team of four graduate and three undergraduate research assistants to contribute to each phase of the five-year project.  Stumpf will be working with his colleague and grant co-applicant from Renison University College’s School of Social Work, Professor, Susan Cadell. The two will integrate the work of the students with their own efforts, in consultation with five healthcare collaborators associated with the project – James Downar, University of Ottawa; George A. Heckman, University of Waterloo; Lisa Meschino and Ewan Goligher, University Health Network, and Sheli O’Connor, Hospice of Waterloo Region.


“As a social work researcher, I am pleased and honored to be part of the interdisciplinary team to undertake this important work,” stated Susan Cadell. “Improving end of life care has always been a goal of my research and working with Andrew allows me to expand my philosophical knowledge in the area. I especially appreciate the opportunity to expand our understanding of community approaches to grief literacy.”


For updates and work in progress, please visit David-Antoine Williams’s research blog - and Andrew Stumpf’s research site -


To learn more about the recent SSHRC grant funding announcement, please use the following link.


To learn more about Research at the University of Waterloo and the SSHRC funding announcement, please use the following link.












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