Feds launch new fund to strengthen communities, support social innovation research in Canadian colleges

CCSI FundAlready a model of the potential for success through partnerships with community organizations, Red River College stands to benefit even further from a new pilot project aimed at strengthening communities through social innovation research.

Announced today by the Hon. Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), the new Community and College Social Innovation Fund will increase colleges’ capacity to engage in collaborative projects with community organizations and businesses to address such social issues as poverty, crime prevention, community safety and economic development.

“Our government understands that local community organizations are essential in addressing social issues like economic development, poverty, education and integration in Canadian communities,” says Holder (shown above, fifth from left). “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.”

Administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the fund allows colleges and polytechnics to partner with community organizations and businesses to apply for funding of up to $200,000 (plus an additional 20 per cent to offset overhead and administrative costs) to undertake collaborative projects that address community issues.

The new fund will provide $15 million over three years in support of social innovation projects, which could take the form of products, processes or programs that create positive social outcomes for communities.

“Social innovation requires breakthrough ideas, applied research and community collaboration,” says David Rew, Interim President of RRC. “We welcome the government’s recognition that colleges like RRC are instrumental in making meaningful contributions to advancing solutions to issues that face communities, not only in Manitoba, but [throughout the globe].”

Holder made his announcement from RRC’s Roblin Centre, where he also met with Janet Jamieson, Research Chair of the School of Health Sciences and Community Services, to discuss her department’s Science of Early Child Development initiative.

Developed in collaboration with a host of national and international partners, the SECD web portal delivers the latest in scientific research to those offering early childhood development training programs, and to those providing frontline services to children and families around the world.

“We are delighted to have our SECD initiative acknowledged as a model for the kinds of projects that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities,” says Jamieson.

“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.”

(Above photo, from left: Ken Doyle, Director of Research, Polytechnics Canada; David Rew, RRC Interim President; Pat Wege, Executive Director, Manitoba Child Care Association; Janet Jamieson, Research Chair, School of Health Sciences and Community Services at RRC; Hon. Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology); Lawrence Toet, MP, Elmwood-Transcona; Denise Amyot, President, Colleges and Institutes Canada; Rod Bruinooge, MP, Winnipeg South; and Brent Herbert-Copley, Vice-President, Research Programs, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.)