Left to right: Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair, JSGS Professor, and Director, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development; Iryna Kryvoruchko, JSGS Assistant Professor; Rose Olfert, JSGS Professor (Emerita); Peter Phillips, JSGS Professor and Graduate Chair

JSGS faculty contribute to new SSHRC-funded projects aimed at understanding people and society

On August 27, 2014, the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced an investment of $44 million to support social sciences and humanities researchers at postsecondary institutions across Canada.

On August 27, 2014, the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced an investment of $44 million to support social sciences and humanities researchers at postsecondary institutions across Canada. Administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Partnership Grants and Partnership Development Grants will support new research collaboration among private, public and not-for-profit sectors on issues that will advance our understanding of people and society.

Contributing to the research projects announced are four JSGS faculty members – Ken Coates, Iryna Kryvoruchko, Rose Olfert and Peter Phillips.

Rural Policy Learning Commons: Building Rural Policy through International Comparative Analysis 
As part of a seven-year, $5.2M initiative led by Professor William Reimer from Brandon University, JSGS co-investigators Ken Coates and Rose Olfert (joined by U of S researchers Philip Loring and Ryan Gibson) will collaborate with academics, policy practitioners and community stakeholders nationally and internationally to explore the impact of urban-based policies on rural and northern communities. As part of their work, they will also examine and advance comparative policy analyses as applied to pressing rural and northern policy challenges and opportunities, such as human capital and migration, natural resource development, governance, and infrastructure and services. The overarching project goal is to critically evaluate policy alternatives, expand the tools available to policy-analysts, and prepare policy-makers for a world where rural-urban interdependence is the norm.

“The Rural Policy Learning Commons (RPLC) is a trans-national effort designed to address one of the most fundamental challenges of the modern era, namely the rapid demographic and economic decline of rural areas around the world.   The network is designed link researchers, community leaders and activists, rural organizations and government agencies in a problem-solving approach to the challenges and opportunities of rural life” said Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, professor in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS), and director of the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development (ICNGD).  “The RPLC has a sharp public policy focus, seeking to provide practical, field-tested ideas for national and sub-national engagement with rural and northern communities.”

In addition to SSHRC’s $2,494,182 contribution, the RPLC initiative is being co-funded by 30 partners nationally and internationally, and is already supported by an existing global network of 90 institutional and individual participants.

 “The network connects extremely well with the activities of the JSGS, the ICNGD and the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, all of which share the RPLC to solutions-based and community-centered research,” said Coates.

Creating Digital Opportunity
Led by Professor David Wolfe from the University of Toronto, JSGS researchers Ken Coates and Peter Phillips (joined by U of S researcher Carin Holroyd) will collaborate with 16 participating universities and 11 partners from industry, government and community associations on a $2.9 million SSHRC Partnership Grant entitled Creating Digital Opportunity. The partnering organizations will also be contributing over $600K to this initiative.

The research will explore and identify where the greatest opportunities and risks lie for Canada within the rapidly changing digital landscape. This project will investigate the development of digital industries in Canada in the context of global production and innovation networks, assess the impact of the digital challenge on traditional industries such as agriculture and mining, and will evaluate the role of smart communities and education, skills and training in managing the transition to the digital future.

“The digitization of global production presents real opportunities to generate new value in Canada, but at the same time could threaten our position in many global production networks,” said Peter Phillips. “Our work will investigate the risks and opportunities in traditional sectors such as agriculture and mining, where Canada has historically been a profitable player.  Generating innovation in this new world will be risky but could be very rewarding if we can get our policies, programs and industries aligned.”

As part of the five-year project, researchers will frame and propose policies that strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, contribute to the broader public debate, and secure and promote the nation’s economic prosperity. 

Philanthropic action of Canadian's grant-making foundations: investigating their social innovation and catalytic role in societal change
Led by Jean-Marc Fontan from the Université du Québec à Montréal, this three-year initiative will examine the workings of Canadian private, public and community foundations. Under the auspices of the Montreal Laboratory on Philanthropic Research (MLPR) centre – the first national research centre dedicated to the study of Canadian grant-making foundations – researchers, including JSGS’ Iryna Kryvoruchko, will explore how Canadian foundations effect social change. They will also conduct research into the legal aspects of philanthropy.

"I will be working with a team of academic scholars and foundation network partners to perform a systematic overview and analysis of Canadian grant-making foundation activities and trends,” said Iryna Kryvoruchko. “Strong technical skills and knowledge of administrative data on Canadian foundations will allow me to contribute to investigating the empirical dimension of this project."

As part of the $198,300 project funded through as SSHRC Development Grant, the MLPR will build a national and international network of researchers and partners to establish a community of practice and learning.


For more information, contact:
Erica Schindel, Communications & Marketing Specialist
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
141.1-101 Diefenbaker Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8
Phone: 306-966-2663 
Email: erica.schindel@usask.ca

Share this story