Telelearning Session 20: Building Strong Community University Partnerships

For the podcast (MP3 file) of today's session click here

Telelearning Session 20: Building Strong Community-University Partnerships

Thursday, September 16 2010, 8:45 – 9:45 am Pacific Time (11:45 am Eastern time)

The Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships are now in their final year, and SSHRC has recently launched its renewed program architecture including grants in support of formal partnerships. This telelearning session is an opportunity to consider how to build strong research partnerships, including:

  1. What have we learned about building stronger partnerships from recent Community-University Research partnerships?
  2. What do community organizations need to know before they enter a research partnership?
  3. How will changes at SSHRC and other funding agencies affect future Community-University Research Partnerships?


  • Jean-Marc Fontan, Professor of sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Co-director of the Social Economy Community-University Research Alliance in Québec
  • John Anderson, Principal Investigator on the CURA Measuring the Co-operative Difference and Director of the CCA Governmental Affairs and Public Policy Unit
  • Murielle Gagnon, Director of Strategic programs and Joint Initiatives, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada


  • Rupert Downing, is the former Executive Director of the Canadian CED Network and Co-director for the Canadian Social Economy Research Hub


  • Session Date: Thursday September 16th 2010
  • Call begins at 8:45 am Pacific time, 11:45 am Eastern time
  • Call-in information will be given upon registration
  •  Register before September 16th to obtain dial in information and background papers
  • This session is in English

Welcome: 5 min
Presentations: 10 min by each speaker
Discussion: 25 minutes

Register by phoning 250-472-4976, or e-mailing with your name, location, and work or volunteer position. For more information about the Canadian Social Economy Hub, please visit:

Limited number of spaces available – Register soon!


Jean Marc Fontan

Fontan is a professor of sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He has over twenty-years experience in research on local and community development and has an important number of publications in this field. His research projects are funded by the SSHR of Canada and others public and private institutions. His research interests lie in the field of economic sociology, development studies in metropolitan context, local governance, social innovation, poverty and are generally done in partnership with community actors.

He is Co-Director with Nancy Neamtan, of the Social Economy Community-University Research Alliance in Québec, of two important community-based research organizations dedicated to social economy: Community-University Research Alliance on Social Economy and Regroupement québécois pour la recherche partenariale en économie sociale (ARUC-RQRP-ÉS : He is member of the Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales (CRISES, and co-founder of the Collectif d’étude sur les pratiques solidaires (CEPS / who set up a new model of linking universities with communities : l’Incubateur universitaire Parole d’excluEs (IUPE : L’incubateur universitaire Parole d’excluEs is associated to the Service aux collectivités of the Université du Québec à Montréal (

John Anderson

Anderson is the principal Investigator on the CURA Measuring the Co-operative Difference and is the Director of the CCA's Government Affairs and Public Policy unit.

John was formerly Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships and Alliances and before that, Vice-President of Research with the Canadian Council for Social Development. He developed the Community Social Data Strategy with Statistics Canada, which involves 15 community partnerships across Canada. He is a founding member and on the steering committee of the Make Poverty History Campaign. He is the author and co-author of a number of studies focusing on urban poverty (Poverty by Postal Code), pay equity and employment issues. John is the former Director of Research and senior economist for the Centre for Social Justice, in Toronto, where he was the author and editor of many studies. He co-edited (with Chris Schenk) two volumes of Re-Shaping Work, which looks at technological change and workplace restructuring.

John has a BA in Economics and Political Science and a MA in political science from McGill University, and has undertaken doctoral studies at the London School of Economics. He is a frequent commentator on English and French media.

Murielle Gagnon

Murielle has been involved in leading and implementing new research partnerships and programs as well as developing government-wide policy initiatives over the span of her career with the federal public service in Ottawa. Since late 2007, Murielle has been with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada where she is responsible for developing research programs and partnerships, including leading the implementation of the recently announced Partnership Grants funding opportunities. As part of her mandate at SSHRC, she is also involved in advancing new partnerships with the public and private sector as well as with foundations and not-for-profits. Prior to joining SSHRC, she was responsible for creating a new horizontal research and policy unit at the Department of Canadian Heritage in the area of arts and cultural industries. In this capacity, she established partnerships with both government officials and the academic community as well as with the private sector. At Canadian Culture Online, Canadian Heritage, she led research and developed policy directions regarding online cultural content, including working collaboratively with central agencies and government departments.

Murielle also worked at the Office of Learning Technologies, Human Resources Development Canada. She managed a research fund ‘New Practices in Learning Technologies’ as well as led large-scale pan-Canadian demonstration research projects which involved public-private partnerships. She also worked at the House of Commons for several years as a consultant and manager.
Murielle has an MA in Critical Theory: Interactive Media from University of London (U.K); she received a full scholarship from the Ricard Foundation to pursue her studies in the U.K.  BFA (Bronze medal) from University of Ottawa and BA (summa cum laude) from University of Manitoba. Murielle has also exhibited her interactive art works in London and here in Canada. Her work on Nomadic Dress and home-locator are actively being pursued. Murielle lives in Ottawa  with her husband, Michael and her Irish Terrier, Nellie. 

Gagnon is the Director of Strategic programs and Joint Initiatives, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Rupert Downing

Downing is the Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council,t he former Executive Director of the Canadian CED Network and Co-director for the Canadian Social Economy Research Hub. The Network is a national member-based NGO committed to supporting community economic development and building Canada’s social economy, with offices in Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa supporting the work of thousands of community based organizations and other stakeholders in every province and territory. The Network is committed to reducing unemployment, poverty and social disadvantage in Canada by supporting the work of grass roots community development organizations through public education, policy development, research, practitioner development and peer learning.

Mr. Downing was previously an Executive Director of the BC Ministry of Community Development, and worked on major policy and legislative initiatives in the Cabinet Policy office, and Ministry of Employment and Investment of the BC government.
Prior to joining government, Mr. Downing worked as a community development practitioner and policy advisor in rural, urban, and Aboriginal communities in Canada, Latin America, and Europe for over 25 years. He has written several publications on the importance of community led approaches to building dynamic and sustainable local economies inclusive of disadvantaged people and communities.


  Jean-Marc Fontan

   John Anderson

 Murielle Gagnon