Social Innovation Research Fund - NBIF - FINB

Social Innovation Research Fund

These guidelines are intended to provide direction to potential applicants for the Social Innovation Research Fund Pilot administered by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) in partnership with the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network (NBSPRN).

What is Social Innovation?

In short, social Innovation is a diverse, multidisciplinary solution to a complex set of problems being experienced by a community.

Through this pilot project, the NBIF and the NBSPRN aim to better understand what sorts of solutions to what sorts of problems New Brunswick researchers and collaborators are working on solving in our communities and better understand how we can assist. We hope to see impacts in our communities that will create lasting changes to systematic challenges that have left vulnerable people behind. Our aim is to offer funding that can help projects get off the ground and move them along their continuum towards developing into a longer-term solution. In searching to contextualize this fund, we have looked to other partner agencies for ideas of definitions and examples of social innovation. Please see below to help guide you in writing your application.

Social innovation involves an initiative, product, policy, process or program that creates positive social outcomes for societies. It can result in more effective, fairer and more durable solutions to complex social problems. It aims to produce benefits for the entire society, not only for some individuals. It increases the ability of communities to act collectively. It also promotes innovative solutions to accelerate technological innovation (SSHRC, 2019).

Social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress (Stanford Centre for Social Innovation, 2019).

Sample Projects

New Brunswick Economic Immigration Lab – This project involves engaging employers, municipalities, community leaders, and the provincial and federal government to help position New Brunswick as a place of opportunity for skilled foreign workers. Applying the Lab approach to the demographic stresses New Brunswick faces to find how we might become leaders at attracting, welcoming and retaining newcomers to grow the New Brunswick economy.

Well Built Bikes - The organization teaches people on the streets how to build and recondition bicycles to sell at a fraction of a new one. They source their bikes from the thousands of abandoned bikes found around their city (Tampa) such as those in police impounds, chained to city infrastructure etc.

Proposal Criteria

Proposals will be invited which focus on a socially innovative research project (or bridge funding directed at leveraging significant federal dollars) where the research aims to impact the province of New Brunswick through one of the following:

1. economic impact; direct or indirect
2. measured improvement in quality of life of New Brunswickers or a specific community or group in the province;
3. intervention working to address a complex environmental issue impacting the province; or
4. intervention working to address a complex social problem in the province that has a direct or indirect cost to the provincial government.

The maximum duration of projects will be 2 years and projects must begin within 6 months of the official award date.

Financial Structure

A maximum of $50,000 can be requested in a single research proposal, covering up to 66% of the costs of the project (e.g. maximum total project cost of $75,000). The matching portion of the funding may be cash or in-kind contributions (including institutional contributions) but cannot be from another provincial government source.

Eligible Expenses

Eligible project costs may include the salary of researchers and assistants (hired by the principal investigator), costs associated with knowledge mobilisation (e.g. outreach activities, translation fees, publication, community engagement), travel expenses related to knowledge transfer and meetings with impacted groups, costs related to data collection and recording, consumables and equipment. Indirect costs are not eligible.  Expenses can not be retroactively claimed before the award date and all costs must be incurred within the two years of the research project.

Application Procedure

Applications open on November 14th, 2019 and close January 27th, 2020 at 5pm.
After the call is closed, all proposals will be reviewed by a panel including 1 member of the NBIF, 1 member of the NBSPRN and a diverse group social science experts. Notification of decision will be sent by March 31th, 2020.

Applications must be made via the NBIF Application Portal.

Proposals will be ranked against the published evaluation criteria.


Eligibility Criteria