York awarded $4.2m to build two national research networks


Professors McGrath and Gaetz to lead projects in refugee studies and homelessness

TORONTO, May 13, 2008 -- Two York University professors will build new national research networks on homelessness and refugee studies with $4.2 million over seven years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Professor Susan McGrath, director of the Centre for Refugee Studies, will lead A Canadian Refugee Research Network: Globalizing Knowledge to study refugee and forced migration issues to find solutions to the plight of refugees worldwide. A nationally-recognized expert in community organizing and social development with strong international ties, McGrath is president-elect of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration.

Professor Stephen Gaetz will lead the Canadian Homelessness Research Network to enhance the impact of homelessness research on homelessness and the housing crisis by increasing collaboration and discussion among researchers, policy-makers and community workers. One of Canada’s leading experts on homelessness, Gaetz created the Homeless Hub (www.homelesshub.ca) the world’s first digital hub to mobilize homelessness research to support collaboration, knowledge exchange, and public engagement among regional and clustered research networks.

“These networks provide unique opportunities for researchers, in partnership with non-academic stakeholders, to mobilize research of social, economic, political and cultural importance,” says Stan Shapson, vice-president research and innovation. “They are key components of York’s leadership in social innovation, which promises to help Canadians find better solutions to these and other social problems.”

The Canadian Refugee Research Network involves 22 researchers at 12 Canadian universities, including the University of British Columbia, Queen’s University and the University of Toronto; researchers at 10 international universities; and 17 partner institutions, including the Canadian Council for Refugees, the World Food Programme and IBM Canada. Under McGrath’s leadership, it will facilitate interaction among academics, policy-makers and practitioners through innovative online activities. It will also create spaces to present and disseminate the experiences and concerns of refugees while cultivating more dynamic and responsive research projects.

The Canadian Homelessness Research Network builds upon past York research successes, including the Homelessness Hub and the 2005 Canadian Conference on Homelessness. It includes 15 Canadian researchers at four Canadian universities, including Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, and the University of Ottawa, along with 13 partner institutions including the City of Toronto, the Sherbourne Health Centre, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

SSHRC strategic knowledge clusters are national and international research networks with partners in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. They coordinate and synthesize research on issues that affect Canadians’ quality of life. The 11 networks chosen in a peer-reviewed national competition will each receive up to $2.1 million over the next seven years.

York was the only University to receive multiple awards in this category, building on its past successes. In 2007, York University Professor Emeritus Wesley Cragg in the Schulich School of Business was awarded $2.1 million to mobilize the University’s business expertise through the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN). York professors were also co-applicants for two additional research networks that year: Professor Bernard Lightman is a member of a network focused on Canadian humanist and social studies of science, while Professor Colin Coates is a member of NiCHE: Network in Canadian History and Environment. York is a partner institution for both research networks.

"This announcement underscores our government's commitment to strengthen Canada's competitive advantage,” said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry. “Canadian scholars and researchers will continue to produce world-class results so that we, as a country, may use this knowledge to enhance the quality of life of all Canadians.”

For a complete list of strategic knowledge clusters, visit the SSHRC Web site at: http://www.sshrc.ca.


York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic cademic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 11 faculties and 24 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.




Media Contact:

Elizabeth Monier-Williams, Research Communications, York University, 416 736 2100 x21069 / eamw@yorku.ca