Call for Letters of Intent (LOIs) for graduate research related to social inclusion - ON-101

Preferred Disciplines: Social sciences and humanities
Project length: 4 months 
Desired start date: Summer or fall of 2018

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

No. of Positions: Multiple
Company: United Way Calgary & Area; United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin; United Way Halton & Hamilton; United Way Lower Mainland; United Way Ottawa

About Company:

United Way is a network of over 100 local United Way offices, each registered as its own non-profit organization and governed by an independent volunteer-led local Board of Directors. Each United Way works locally to raise funds and invest in improving lives in its community. The United Way movement is improving lives locally by moving people from poverty to possibility, helping kids be all they can be, and building strong and healthy communities. 

Project Description:

Five United Ways across Canada have come together in a pilot partnership with Mitacs 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)