McMaster takes home 2017 SSHRC Award of Excellence for communications


What is this research about? What did the researchers find? How can people use it? With plain and simple language, McMaster University’s Research Snaps digital media campaign, which features over 80 projects, has helped make social sciences and humanities research more accessible to Canadians. It has earned this year’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Award of Excellence, presented at this year’s annual Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) gala on May 30, 2017.

“McMaster University’s Research Snaps project highlights the contribution of social sciences and humanities research in simple, straightforward terms. It is a wonderful example not only of how academic institutions can convey insights about today’s complex social, cultural and economic issues but, perhaps more importantly, engage Canadians in mobilizing that research,” said Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The SSHRC Award of Excellence was created in 2016 to showcase the communications efforts of postsecondary institutions in promoting the benefits and impacts of social sciences and humanities research. This research is used by people across Canada to better understand our society, innovate and build prosperity.

“Making connections between university researchers and other communities is a key priority for our Faculty, says Tony Porter, associate dean of graduate studies and research in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“Research Snaps allowed us to do just that and, coupled with a strategic social media campaign, we were able to share the value of our work with an incredibly wide and diverse audience,” he said, adding that the Snaps initiative was expanded to include all six of McMaster’s Faculties.

Porter credits the work of Ailsa Fullwood, formerly the Research Facilitator in the Faculty of Social Sciences, for putting the plan into action, along with Jennifer Hounsell, a then graduate student in the department of sociology, who wrote many of the Snaps, and Fiza Arshad, a masters of science candidate.  Together they designed, implemented and analyzed the social media campaign.

“The SSHRC Award of Excellence recognizes the important role that communications plays in making social sciences and humanities research accessible, relevant and easy to understand,” said Kim Blanchette, National Board President of CPRS. “This research improves our quality of life as Canadians and the CPRS congratulates this year’s award recipients who truly represent excellence in public relations practice.”

For more information about the winning project, visit Research Snaps.