Government of Canada announces new fund to strengthen communities through social innovation research

New pilot project will help build stronger, safer, healthier Canadian communities


November 21, 2014, Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) was at Red River College to announce the launch of a new pilot initiative for college-based social innovation research. The new Community and College Social Innovation Fund, administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), will increase college capacity to engage in collaborative projects with community organizations and businesses to address social issues such as poverty, crime prevention, community safety and economic development at the community level.

During the announcement, Minister of State Holder highlighted the work of researcher Janet Jamieson—whose Science of Early Child Development web portal project, is already in place at Red River College and in Manitoban communities—as a model for the kinds of projects the new fund would support. The college’s Science of Early Child Development web portal brings the latest scientific research to those offering early childhood development training programs and to organizations providing front-line services to children and families, such as the Manitoba Child Care Association.

Quick facts

  • Economic Action Plan 2014 announced new support for research projects at colleges and polytechnics that foster social innovation in Canada. The Community and College Social Innovation Fund will provide $15 million over three years in support of such projects.
  • Under the new Community and College Social Innovation Fund, colleges and polytechnics can partner with community organizations and businesses to apply for funding of up to $200,000 (plus up to an additional 20 per cent to offset associated overhead and administrative costs) to undertake collaborative projects that address community issues.
  • Social innovation is about finding more effective ways of engaging Canadians, delivering community services and strengthening communities as a whole through research. It can take the form of a product, process or program that creates positive social outcomes for communities.
  • SSHRC currently funds 233 multidisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships involving 50 postsecondary institutions across Canada and 1,352 partner organizations from across Canada and around the world.

Quotes

“Our Government understands that local, community organizations are essential in addressing social issues like economic development, poverty, education and integration in Canadian communities. The Community and College Social Innovation Fund will connect the innovative talent of researchers and students at colleges and polytechnics to meet the research needs of local community organizations to build stronger, safer, healthier communities.”

Ed Holder
Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“Canadian colleges are uniquely qualified to work with community partners to advance meaningful, relevant solutions to pressing social issues that weaken our communities. Our funding of such partnerships helps create and sustain a culture of innovation in Canada, and fosters stronger collaboration among academic, private, public and not-for-profit sectors, to improve the well-being of Canadians.”

Brent Herbert-Copley
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

“Social innovation requires breakthrough ideas, applied research and community collaboration. We welcome the government’s recognition that colleges like Red River are instrumental in making meaningful contributions to advancing solutions to issues that face communities not only in Manitoba but, as shown through the Science of Early Child Development program, extend globally.”

David Rew
Interim President and CEO, Red River College

“We are delighted to have our Science of Early Child Development initiative acknowledged as a model for the kinds of projects that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities. We created a terrific online learning resource that is making a real contribution to the quality of education and training of parents, social workers, early child educators, nurses and other professionals working on the front line with children and families, not only here in Winnipeg, but across Canada and around the world.”

Janet Jamieson
Research Chair, School of Health Sciences and Community Services, Red River College

“The Science of Early Child Development provides anyone interested in the well being of children with easy access to the most current information and fascinating research on child development. The readings, videos, interactive games and online discussions offer the user a unique learning experience that is easy to use, interesting, and highly engaging.”

Pat Wege
Executive Director, Manitoba Child Care Association

“Colleges, institutes and polytechnics are mandated to contribute to the social and economic development of the communities they serve. The scale and scope of college applied research in social innovation is significant, and makes a difference for community and social service organizations across the country, whether improving the lives of disadvantaged Canadians, addressing environmental challenges, enhancing teaching and learning, or improving health and wellness in communities. We are pleased that the Government of Canada is investing in college social innovation research—this is key to increase opportunities for community organizations to tap into the talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and institutes.”

Denise Amyot
President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada, and Chair, World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics

“As the lead proponent for this new pilot initiative at SSHRC, Polytechnics Canada welcomes this cutting-edge program that will enable colleges and polytechnics to undertake demand-driven social innovation research projects with partners from the social sector. In each case, the result of the project would be something new or improved that harnesses the talent of our students and faculties and so contributes to the greater public good.”

Nobina Robinson
CEO, Polytechnics Canada

Additional links

Contacts

Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel: 613-943-6177
Email: scott.french@ic.gc.ca

Christopher Walters
Director of Communications
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Tel: 613-992-4283
Email: christopher.walters@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca  

Christine Payne
Director, College and Public Relations
Red River College
Tel: 204-632-2264
Cell: 204-803-9063
Email: chpayne@rrc.ca