The Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto, Imagine Canada, and the Ontario Co-operative Association, have launched a research alliance that aims at enhancing capacity for ongoing research and development for the social economy of Southern Ontario. This project—a Community-University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy—consists of a network of leading scholars from 11 universities in Southern Ontario, 24 partner organizations, and scholars from seven universities external to the node whose research will be beneficial to this initiative. This Alliance will generate synergy between researchers and practitioners currently working in isolation through the creation of five Research and Practice Clusters, and ultimately contribute to a broader movement. Our Alliance will also create synergy with similar networks in other regions and the social economy internationally.
The Alliance will also build a future generation of researchers, create a presence for the social economy in higher education institutions, and focus heavily on knowledge dissemination. Training of students is a key feature of this Alliance, and for each project graduate students will form part of the team.
The overall project has 35 sub-projects. These sub-projects are organized into five Research and Practice Clusters, which are:
- mapping the size and scope of the social economy in this region;
- understanding the impact of the social economy;
- improving the capacity of social economy organizations (SEOs) to demonstrate the value of their activities;
- developing public policy; and
- extending theory.