Social Inclusion Graduate Research Opportunity

In partnership with Mitacs, five United Ways across Canada have come together in a pilot partnership to provide funding and training for graduate students and postdocs for research related to social inclusion. Social Inclusion as an issue is of broad interest to United Way’s across Canada and the United Way movement worldwide.  Inclusion is a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best. Social inclusion (sometimes referred to as a sense of belonging) is the act of making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important. It is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society—improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity.

This grant aims to identify talented researchers conducting thesis or dissertation research related to social inclusion.  Research may focus on one or more of the following broad themes:

  • Reduced isolation
  • Access to services
  • Stronger neighbourhoods
  • Diversity
  • Employment for groups that are more often excluded from the workforce

Interns are encouraged to frame any research recommendations with a lens that considers how different demographics and groups of people experience inclusion and the barriers to inclusion that might be faced.

Particular research questions of interest include:

  • Understanding Canadian and local perspectives and nuances related to social inclusion.  E.g. How inclusive is our city?
  • Developing a benchmark to measure progress on social inclusion
  • The broader and longer term outcomes of social inclusion (e.g. employment, earnings, health). What are the quantifiable, tangible, and meaningful outcomes associated with social participation?
  • Effective and evidence-based practices to improve social inclusion
  • Research that fills data gaps related to social participation and social networks and provides practical recommendations.

United Ways are particularly interested in research that develops actionable recommendations that may help inform investment decisions, shape a community impact agenda and even support collective impact initiatives and that have the potential to lead to improved social inclusion.

We value diversity, and therefore strongly encourage submissions reflective of the many demographics, cultures, and experiences that make up our communities, particularly those who experience systemic barriers to full participation.

Next steps :

United Way and Mitacs are inviting researchers to submit a LOI as the first stage of this process.  Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full proposal that will be evaluated through the Mitacs Accelerate program.

  • Submit a Letter of Intent via this webform by January 8, 2018
  • Successful applicants will be notified by February 15 2018
  • Full proposals will be due by April 1, 2018
  • Projects must begin during the summer or fall of 2018

With questions, please email accelerate(a)

Number of Internships: 5

Value of Internship: $15,000

Deadline: January 8, 2018

Location: One each in each of the five locations:

  • United Way Calgary & Area: Calgary and Area: City of Calgary, towns of Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks and Strathmore.
  • United Way Halton & Hamilton:  Halton & Hamilton: Greater Hamilton and Halton region
  • United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin:  Guelph, Wellington County, and Orangeville and Dufferin County
  • United Way Lower Mainland: Metro Vancouver, North coast – Sea to Sky, the Lower Mainland to Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley
  • United Way Ottawa: City of Ottawa

Full details and the webform

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