TRU researchers have a rich history of engaging in community-based research initiatives, but this week, that engagement was given a formal boost with the launch of the Community Research Initiative.
The goals of the initiative are to further support research opportunities that encourage community-university collaborations, to develop research memorandums of understandings like those already in place between TRU, the City of Kamloops and the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way, to create meaningful student research opportunities, and to promote shared funding opportunities.
This week’s announcement was made in front of a packed house of community service providers and TRU researchers; it was led by Ann McCarthy, Knowledge Mobilization Officer for TRU and the United Way.
“We have people from our community who spend their lives in service to others, and researchers who work in service to knowledge making. We aim to bring that knowledge into service for the broadest possible good,” said McCarthy.
As part of the launch, Troy Fuller, Director of Research and Graduate Studies, announced the Community-Driven Research Fund, designed as a seed fund to support the goals of the Community Research Initiative. Faculty who partner with a community group will be eligible to apply for a $2,500 grant to support their project. A minimum of 10 awards will be made available annually for the next three years. The projects supported by the fund are expected to be community-driven, with the research outcomes primarily benefiting the community organization.
The launch provided a venue for community groups to meet with university researchers to pitch their research questions and needs. Most service providers voiced a need for impact research, which would enrich future grant applications.
“We all know the work we’re doing is meaningful, but we need evidence to back it up. The funders see mountains of meaningful stories, but they need proof,” said Kristi Rintoul, United Way Community Campaign Associate.