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Social Sciences and Humanities research council announces first recipients of its new pilot program

Social Sciences and Humanities research council announces first recipients of new Social Innovation Research SSHRC pilot program

In a move to bring social innovation research to the 21st century, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council announced the first recipients of its new Social Innovation Fund.

The Community and College Social Innovation Fund will provide $15 million over three years in support of social innovation research projects at colleges and polytechnics, which are meant to address poverty, community safety, and local economic development. Colleges and polytechnics can partner with community organizations and businesses to apply for funding of up to $200,000 for collaborative projects.

Toronto-area colleges, which are among 27 funded research projects, that received funding include Humber College, Sheridan College, Conestoga College, and George Brown College. The latter college is has received funding for projects that include using digital technology in children’s literacy development; promoting empowerment of postsecondary students with disabilities using online and mobile social media technology; using technology to help in holistic crisis planning for at-risk youth in Ontario; and education strategies for victims of torture and political oppression.

“Technology has transformed how we participate in the fundamental aspects of our daily lives and activities. Connecting virtually is one of the ways we now engage with others in the world,” said Charles Aninyam, who is working on the project to promote empowerment of postsecondary students using mobile technology, about his project. “With the SSHRC funding we have received, we plan to build a self-sustaining internet-based platform that will provide post-secondary students with disabilities access to information, resources, and opportunities to connect, to build online social communities and to network with individuals they may or may not ordinarily be involved with through traditional (and physical) relationships.”

Aninyam will also use the funding for the project’s evaluative component spanning three years, which will determine whether the research is on the right track, and will train postsecondary education students in the areas of advance digital design, graphic design and research. “Given the influence and role tech plays in shaping our understanding of the world and how we feel about ourselves and others, we believe that it is important for those of us in education to harness the capacity tech holds to connect students with opportunities, to reach new audiences, and embed positive imagery of persons with disabilities.”
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