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Best Practices in Partnerships

Best Practices in Partnerships

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Best Practices in Partnerships

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  1. Best Practices in Partnerships Gail Zboch, Senior Program OfficerStrategic Programs and Joint Initiatives

  2. Context • SSHRC has funded research partnerships in the past, both through short-term funding opportunities and through long-term initiatives (CURA, MCRI, etc.) • SSHRC has also funded research networks through joint initiatives (CISS RDC, Metropolis, etc.) • These partnerships have resulted in fruitful collaboration, rich research findings and sustainable, long-term relationships

  3. Best Practices in Building Partnerships • Communication • Governance structures • Stakeholder involvement • Training opportunities

  4. Communication • Ensure effective communication with all interested parties (e.g., researchers, partners, general public) • Ongoing liaison with stakeholders • Full-time project co-ordinator or facilitator • Works for the partnership project • Point of contact for stakeholders • Circulates newsletters and email updates • Development of common tools for information sharing with stakeholders as well as with greater audiences • Websites, web portals, etc. • Social networking sites • Facebook, Twitter, Second Life

  5. Governance Structures • Provide a clear, well-developed governance structure (e.g. steering committee, sub-committees, working groups) • Use a decision-making process that incorporates all stakeholders • Ensuring the active participation of all stakeholders at the table • Ensure conflict resolution mechanisms are in place • Managing competing interests and priorities in the partnership • Develop performance evaluation frameworks in collaboration with stakeholders • Ensuring that the deliverables and activities are carried out according to schedule

  6. Stakeholder Involvement • Ensure the active participation of all stakeholders over the course of the project • Define roles and responsibilites for all partners at the start • Establish common goals and priorities in consultation with stakeholders • Delegate tasks according to capacity and expertise • Share resources equitably, and ensure a reasonable “buy-in” on the project from the partners • Cash or in-kind contributions, including: • Personnel • Access to facilities or facilitating interaction with other organizations/communities • Knowledge mobilization activities

  7. Training Opportunities • Ensure the meaningful involvement of students • Working with partnering organizations • Hands-on skills • Ensure capacity-building and learning, not only for students, but all involved in the project, by: • Integrating partnering organizations into project plans • For example, training personnel from partnering organizations to conduct interviews, organize events, present at conferences, etc. • Fostering the exchange of knowledge and expertise between all the stakeholders of the project

  8. Helpful Hints: Developing a Partnership Project • Develop plans to ensure the sustainability of the partnership beyond the tenure of the grant • Set realistic, attainable goals • Validate objectives and plans with the stakeholders even in the development phases • Ensure that the project has the necessary stakeholders on board to successfully achieve its goals • Number of partners: quality over quantity

  9. Helpful Hints: Developing a Partnership Project • Continue to recruit new partners over the course of the project • Identify potential interested partners through networking opportunities, including: • External events • Contacts in the field • Existing projects and partnerships • Social networking

  10. Some Helpful Documents • A formalized partnership document such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) • Letters of engagement that clearly outline the partner’s commitments, both financial and in-kind • Tips for partner letters: • Avoid “template” letters • Ensure that all letters are personalized and demonstrate a knowledge of the project • Address the letters to the principal investigator/project director and refer to the project title • An assessment or self-assessment mechanism that allows the team to evaluate its activities and the quality of the partnership • A common reporting system

  11. Useful Resources – Examples of projects • Cluster: Network for Business Sustainability (Dr. Tima Bansal, University of Western Ontario) • CURA: Life stories of Montrealers displaced by war, genocide, and other human rights violations, (Dr. Steven High, Canada Research Chair in Public History, Department of History, Concordia University) • Knowledge Impact in Society: For the list of all projects funded visit: • MCRI: The Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Project (Dr. Pitman Potter, University of British Columbia)

  12. Useful Resources • CIROP MEASURE: Measuring community impacts of research-oriented partnerships. • Social Economy Hub:List of resources and guides on community-university partnerships. • The ARUC-ÉS and RQRP-ÉS: Model and Guide for Knowledge Mobilization in the Context of Research Partnerships. • CU Expo 2011: Canadian-led conference designed to showcase the best community-university partnerships worldwide.

  13. Thank you / Merci Email: partnershipgrants@sshrc-crsh.gc.caTel.: 613-943-1007