First year of Social Innovation Fund closes - NBIF - FINB
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First year of Social Innovation Fund closes

October 29, 2019

For us, the meaning of innovation is constantly changing. And while it’s easy to picture an applied researcher in a white lab coat, the reality is that innovation comes in many different forms.

Recognising the diversity of New Brunswick innovation and a gap in the research funding landscape for the social sciences, we launched our Social Innovation Research Fund (SIRF) back in March 2019, as a two-year pilot project in partnership with the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network (NB-SPRN.

The SIRF is for projects that stand to positively impact the province, like our other funds but is solely focused on socially innovative projects that will benefit New Brunswick through:

  • creating lasting changes to systematic challenges that have left vulnerable people behind;
  • better quality of life for all New Brunswickers; or
  • solving a complex social problem in the province that has a direct or indirect cost to local, provincial, federal governments or other organizations delivering services

We received 39 applications from May-June 2019, with a requested total of $1.161 million. We granted nine applications, totaling $200,000 in funding. Here is the list of researchers and projects we’ve chosen this year:

2019-2020 SIRF Round 1 Awardees/Alternates

Researcher

Institution

Funding Awarded

Project Title/Description

Bill McIver

NBCC

$30,000

Non-profit organization data collection tool plan to collect, analyze, and share data among social service organizations.

Janine Rogers

MTA

$15,000

Cultural literacy program for NB Museum which brings adult learners to the museum for independent learning and cultural awareness.

Shelley Doucet

UNB

$30,000

Transition strategy for youth with complex needs in pediatric care to adult care.

Grant Handrigan

UdeM

$15,000

Active school travel planning pilot program in Moncton area.

Susan Reid

STU

$20,000

Connecting incarcerated mothers with their children via video conferencing.

Michelle Lafrance

STU

$20,000

Information and system navigation for older adults and their caregivers in NB.

Céline Surette

UdeM

$25,000

Interactive mapping tool to measure cumulative impacts of natural resource development on NBers.

Murshed Chowdhury

UNB

$20,000

Study of and development of strategies to improve short- and long-term retention of immigrants in NB.

Gül Çalişkan

STU

$25,000

Community based narrative inquiry into economic immigrant retention in Fredericton.

 

We’re extremely proud to be backing such worthy projects and pleased to have NB-SPRN’s expertise available to help evaluate applicants and contribute funding. The SIRF has a total value of $400,000 for the duration of the pilot project – we’ve contributed $300,000, while the remainder was funded by NB-SPRN. We expect to support around 15 projects during the fund’s two-year pilot project. If successful, we hope to see the pilot project turning into a permanent fund. The second round of calls for proposals for the SIRF will be opened on Nov 14 and will close on Jan 27.

While supporting socially significant work is obviously a key goal of the fund’s pilot project, we’re also hoping to answer some important questions about social innovation in New Brunswick:

  1. What kind of social innovation research is happening in New Brunswick? How is it impacting the province?
  2. Where are researchers getting their funding for their projects, and what kind of support do they need the most?
  3. How can we measure the impact of this research?

While it’s still early days, we’re looking forward to watching this fund and its projects evolve. In the meantime, keep an eye on our blog for periodic features on some of the projects and their progress.