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York U President urges realization of Canada’s social innovation opportunities

TORONTO, Dec. 4, 2013 – York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri says social innovation is a key driver for both economic and social development. Speaking at the Toronto Region Board of Trade today, he said investment in all-sector research collaborations can transform communities and create viable solutions to some of society’s most complex challenges.

Noting that in the past the focus on technology transfer missed the opportunity to find and share value from research in the fields of humanities, social sciences and the arts, Shoukri said that the value created by deploying research results in these areas enhances social services, public policy development, the well-being of communities, and is a key driver for economic and social development.

"Countries around the globe have long ago adopted a strategic approach when it comes to technological and scientific innovation," said Shoukri. "The next frontier is to achieve positive social outcomes that reflect the true hallmark of a civilized society. Given the excellence of our research across disciplines and the growing strength of our partnerships, Canada is poised to be a key player in this evolution.”

Shoukri said that despite the incredible potential and impact of social innovation partnerships, Canada continues to lack a national framework for such collaborations. However, with support from government and the private sector, universities in Canada can leverage their contributions to knowledge mobilization and social innovation, building community-campus collaborations and asserting Canada’s competitive advantage.

“By advancing a national framework for innovation, we will unleash the true potential of our research and ensure that Canada is ideally positioned to lead the world as a model of 21st-century innovation," Shoukri said.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

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Media Contact:

Joanne Rider, York University, 416 736 5593 / jrider@yorku.ca