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Project: Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships

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Support and Partners: This project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada with significant additional in-kind resources from the University of Victoria, Makerere University, the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios (CEBEM) and a number of regional and global networking organisations including the Living Knowledge Network, Talloires Network, and PASCAL Observatories.

Project Description

‘Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships’ is a global study of institutional arrangements for the facilitation and support of research partnership between community groups and universities. This project is an initiative of the UNESCO Chair of Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education and is funded in part by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with significant additional in-kind resources from the University of Victoria, the University of Makerere, the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios (CEBEM) and a number of regional and global networking organisations including the Living Knowledge Network, Talloires Network, and PASCAL Observatories.

The project aims to: 1) develop an understanding of how research partnerships are initiated, supported, and evaluated through a comparative study of different types of institutional arrangements; 2) promote awareness of the significance and appropriateness of creating and/or supporting such enabling structures amongst decision-makers in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Global South; and 3) mobilize knowledge for practitioner and policy actions in creating appropriate structures in different countries through the identification of best practices and recommendations.

In order to gain an overview of trends and patterns around the world on Community University Research Partnership (CURP) facilitating structures, we are undertaking a multi-lingual global survey in cooperation with our regional and global network partners. In addition to documenting advanced Community-University Research Partnership (CURP) structures, the survey will try to reach out to those working in pre-formal structures or intermediary mechanisms of engagement, to inform on challenges faced to progress toward institutionalization. We are also interested in the genesis of these arrangements and the dynamics of evolution from one institutional arrangement to the next.

Description of CURP

The engagement of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) take many forms and functions around the world. For the purpose of this study Community-University Research Partnerships (CURP) includes building and fostering partnerships with Higher Education Institutions (HEI), and Civil Society Organizations, in responding to a wide range of community needs and services and often involves capacity building, knowledge building, participatory research, citizen-centric development, and policy advocacy. These partnerships involve an iterative process of learning, reflection and action, whereby the process and results are useful to both community members and university partners in a wide range of areas developing social equity and creating positive social and institutional change.

There are a variety of organizational and administrative structures involved in facilitating community-university research partnerships where co-creation of knowledge or joint engagement in the research is the goal:

  • Projects led by individual either from the community or the university
  • Projects based in university centres or disniplinary structures (Centre for Youth and Society at Uvic, the Science Shop in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Guelph)
  • Projects based in university-wide structures – Community University Partnership Programme – Brighton University, UK
  • Projects based in joint university community networks – The Canadian Community Economic Development Network, The Living Knowledge Network of Science Shops
  • Projects based in NGOs or community-based organisations – PRIA in Asia, the Centre for CBR in Ontario, Canada
  • Projects based in government structures – The Rural Secretariat, Government of Newfoundland
  • National networks of solidarity – Brazil and Argentina

Additional networks and structures include the Global University Network for Innovation of Barcelona; the Sub-Saharan African Participatory Research Network in Senegal; the Developing Research on Citizenship network based at the University of Sussex; PASCAL Observatory on Place Management, CEBEM in Bolivia, Community Engagement and Learning Regions; the Australian University Community Engagement Association and many other emerging networks.

Publications

This project has resulted in the successful publications of two products, one an e-book (titled, ‘Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES) and other, a manual (titled, ‘Institutionalizing Community University Research Partnerships), which are a synthesis of the findings and learning’s that emerged as a result of this initiative. We are very pleased to share to with you both the literary resources, which are open access publications and free to download from this website.

You can access both the publications and a small video featuring Dr Budd Hall & Dr Crystal Tremblay (giving a broad background of the study) here: http://unescochair-cbrsr.org/unesco/publications/

For more information please contact
Dr. Crystal Tremblay, Research Coordinator for the UNESCO Chair in CBR and Social Responsibility in Higher Education.
Email: crystaltre@gmail.com

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