This past year was a period of growth, change, and experimentation for research in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Of note is the adoption of new research priorities for the faculty. Following a wide consultation in the faculty we identified two cross-cutting priorities (La Francophonie and Indigenous Research) as well as five focus research areas: Social Justice, Equity, Social Groups, and Inclusion; Environment, Sustainability, and Society; Governance, Policy, and Open Societies; Health and Human Development; Media, Technology, and Society. These priorities will be used to guide the development of research in the faculty for the coming years.
Last year also saw the renewal of our internal research competitions. I was proud to see the launch of a Research Support Program that provides up to $20,000 in support of individual innovative research projects, as well as the launch of a program to support knowledge mobilization efforts. These innovative programs will help to ensure that our colleagues can find the right support for their research careers.
Another project launched last year is the IMPACT knowledge mobilization initiative, under the leadership of Jennifer Wallner (School of Political Studies). This model involved the promotion of policy briefs from many our colleagues, a launch event attended by approximately 100 people, support for a student-focused Vox Pop event, as well as welcoming CBC’s Power and Politics to FSS. In the coming year we will be announcing new events under the IMPACT umbrella to better share the work of our colleagues and contribute to various debates and discussions in Canada.
Over the past year, the Office the Vice-Dean, Research, has experienced extensive change. Through retirements and vacancies, we have a brand-new team that is looking forward to serving our colleagues in the Faculty. This includes the addition of two new positions: Projects and Events Coordinator and Assistant Vice-Dean, Partnerships and Research Network Development. These new roles will enable us to more effectively support research events in the faculty, and to better promote these events as well as our researchers’ achievements. It also provides our team with a new and much needed capacity to support the development of larger and more complex research projects, to seek out new sources of research funding, and to further develop our research partnerships and networks.
All these changes and additions were necessitated by the continuous growth of research in the faculty. The past years have seen a steady growth in research funding and activity. Not only are our colleagues producing remarkably innovative and impactful research findings, they are increasingly involved in ensuring that these findings are disseminated to policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. It is my hope that the improvements we have made in the research office enable us to better support and respond to the growing needs of our researchers.