$2.5M SSHRC grant will connect students in social sciences, humanities and arts with community organizations across Canada

A headshot of Sandra Lapointe

The six-year project, led by philosophy professor Sandra Lapointe, aims to create campus-community hubs that will help students develop career-relevant skills and enhance innovation within social sector organizations. 

A six-year collaborative project involving 15 academic institutions, eight regional United Way networks and 18 other community partners across six provinces has received a $2.5 million Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Led by McMaster philosophy professor Sandra Lapointe, the project aims to create 12 campus-community hubs across Canada to connect students and researchers in the social sciences, humanities and arts (SSHA) with community organizations.

Through a program of community-engaged experiential learning, students in SSHA programs from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral level will have opportunities to develop career-relevant skills for working within the social sector. At the same time, community non-profit organizations will gain valuable connections to institutions’ cutting-edge research and talent, leading to innovation and greater resilience within the sector.

“For social service organizations, lack of access to researchers limits their capacity for innovation and collaboration, while students in the social sciences, humanities and arts are often unprepared to work in non-academic sectors,” explains Lapointe, who is the convener of the Canadian Forum for Social Innovation as well as the director of The/La Collaborative, a multi-institutional network designed to connect research in the social sciences, humanities and arts with needs and interests of community partners.

“It’s our hope that through this pilot project, and working with partners in government, social service organizations, researchers, and universities’ career and community engagement services, we will be able to move towards a national strategy for reciprocal, sustainable campus-community partnered research training in the social sciences, humanities and arts.”

Lapointe’s project was one of 15 recently awarded SSHRC Partnership Grants, which fund multi-year projects that advance research, research training and/or knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities.

“Partnerships allow for the exploration of groundbreaking ideas by bringing together Canada’s top researchers and organizations,” Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said when the funding was announced.

“The government is proud to invest in Canada’s collaborative research spirit. Together, they foster existing partnerships or develop new ones that will fuel discoveries and innovations for a better tomorrow for all Canadians.”

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