McMaster University Takes Home 2017 SSHRC Award of Excellence for Communications

This week’s guest post first appeared on and is reposted here with permission.

Canadian Public Relations Society-McMaster University takes homeResearch Snaps project presents social sciences and humanities research by asking simple questions and engaging readers in the results

KELOWNA, BC, May 31, 2017 /CNW/ – What is this research about? What did the researchers find? How can people use it? With plain and simple language, McMaster University’s Research Snaps digital media campaign, which features over 80 projects, has helped make social sciences and humanities research more accessible to Canadians. It has earned this year’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Award of Excellence, presented at this year’s annual Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) gala on May 30, 2017.

“McMaster University’s Research Snaps project highlights the contribution of social sciences and humanities research in simple, straightforward terms. It is a wonderful example not only of how academic institutions can convey insights about today’s complex social, cultural and economic issues but, perhaps more importantly, engage Canadians in mobilizing that research,” said Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The SSHRC Award of Excellence was created in 2016 to showcase the communications efforts of postsecondary institutions in promoting the benefits and impacts of social sciences and humanities research. This research is used by people across Canada to better understand our society, innovate and build prosperity.

“The SSHRC Award of Excellence recognizes the important role that communications plays in making social sciences and humanities research accessible, relevant and easy to understand,” said Kim Blanchette, National Board President of CPRS. “This research improves our quality of life as Canadians and the CPRS congratulates this year’s award recipients who truly represent excellence in public relations practice.”

The award was one of several prizes in public relations and communications management presented to industry professionals at the CPRS gala.

For more information about the winning project, visit Research Snaps on McMaster University’s website.

About CPRS
Founded in 1948, the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) is a not-for-profit organization whose members are engaged in the practice, management or teaching of public relations. Members work to maintain the highest standards and to share a uniquely Canadian experience in public relations. CPRS is a federation of more than 2500 members across 14 Member Societies based in major cities or organized province-wide. For more information, visit its website:

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and research training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing Talent, generating Insights and forging Connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world. Created in 1977, SSHRC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Science.

SOURCE Canadian Public Relations Society

For further information: Karen Dalton, Executive Director, Canadian Public Relations Society, 416-239-7034,; Christopher Walters, Director of Communications, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 613-992-4283,

The Collaborative Process Behind McMaster’s Guide to Collaboration…. / La démarche collaborative derrière le guide de McMaster sur la collaboration…

One of the challenges for community members wishing to access university expertise is that it’s hard to find the way in.  “There’s no front door,” people tell us.

So, in April 2015, a small group of collaborators from McMaster and the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton decided to create not so much a front door to McMaster University, but a map.  Ideally, the map would help people find the kind of research collaboration they were looking for, and then negotiate the terms of that relationship once they’d found it.  The result was the just-released Paths to Research Collaboration: a Guide to Working with McMaster Researchers, online hereIn this blog post, we share with you some of our process, and highlights from our own collaborative experience.

Pour les membres de la collectivité souhaitant profiter de l’expertise qui fleurit dans l’université, l’une des difficultés consiste à savoir par où entrer. « C’est comme s’il n’y avait pas de porte ! » est une remarque qui revient souvent.

C’est pourquoi, en avril 2015, un petit groupe de collaborateurs de l’Université McMaster et le Conseil de la planification sociale et de la recherche (Planning and Research Council) de Hamilton ont décidé non pas de percer une porte, mais plutôt de tracer une carte pour se retrouver dans l’Université. Idéalement, cette carte devait aider les gens à trouver le type de collaboration dont ils ont besoin en recherche, puis à négocier les paramètres de la relation une fois qu’ils l’auraient trouvée. Le résultat est la parution toute fraiche de Paths to Research Collaboration: a Guide to Working with McMaster Researchers (« Les chemins de la collaboration avec le milieu de la recherche, un guide pour travailler avec les chercheurs de l’Université McMaster »), disponible en ligne ici. Dans ce billet, nous vous présentons certaines de nos façons de faire, de même que les aspects les plus frappants de notre expérience collaborative.


We began by pulling together a small group of people from local business and non-profit organizations who’d previously collaborated with McMaster, with the single goal of figuring out what such a map should look like.  To aid this process, we provided participants with guides produced by other universities, and invited everyone to identify what they liked and didn’t like about each.  Responses were sharp, critical, concise, thoughtful.  Participants told us exactly what not to do, and gave us a good start on what to do better.   Thus began a 3-month process of drafting, re-connecting, revising, re-connecting, and revising again.  It was a fantastic process, and a great example of what happens when creative and knowledgeable people put their heads together to do work that matters.

Ailsa Fullwood, Research Facilitator, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University

Working on this project brought to mind a famous quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Now, I don’t know that we are going to change the world, but we made some small steps to help Hamiltonians and university researchers work together! That’s a good thing! While we were taking those steps on our journey toward developing Paths to Research Collaboration, I was reminded that not only what we say but how we say it reflects our attitudes and assumptions.  I really looked forward to our meetings in the community and was excited about the toolkit we were creating together.  I felt like a citizen of my city; collaborating with other citizens who happened to work either in the community or at the university. That shift was a nice surprise.

Karen Szala-Meneok, Resident, Ainslie Wood neighbourhood and Senior Ethics Advisor, McMaster University

It was wonderful to be a part of such a collaborative and useful community project. Building community-friendly research resources such as the guide for local providers will really help with making research accessible for a lot of folks. What a great contribution.

Ashley Ward Clinical Services Development Consultant, Human Resources & Organizational Development, Mission Services of Hamilton

When I opened the finished toolkit and saw how well put together it was I was very happy.  And it wasn’t the beautiful paper or the crisp printing that I liked.  It was how clear and focused each step seemed.  I really feel that this toolkit will make it easier for everyone to connect with people at the university for whatever they need.  And that will make it easier for us to share our knowledge and resources with our communities.

Sandra Preston, Director of Experiential Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, McMaster University

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal Gaining National Recognition for Evidence-Based Information

This post was originally published in the McMaster Community-Campus Update newsletter and is reposted here with permission.

McMaster logoCelebrating its first anniversary, the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal is gaining national recognition as a valuable resource of evidence-based information about how to stay healthy, active and engaged as we grow older. Over the past year, the Portal has been endorsed by a number of health stakeholders and organizations, including Dr. Samir Sinha, the Provincial Lead, Ontario’s Seniors Strategy; HomeCare Ontario; and the Canadian Association of Retired Teachers.

Learn more about the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal in the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative 2015 Report.

RIR Welcomes McMaster University to Our Network / Le RIR accueille l’Université McMaster

We are pleased to announce that McMaster University has joined the ResearchImpact-Reseau Impact Recherche network.

C’est avec plaisir que nous annonçons l’adhésion de l’Université McMaster au Réseau Impact Recherche-ResearchImpact.

On October 21, the ResearchImpact – RéseauImpactRecherche network formally approved an application from McMaster University for admission into the network.  RIR now has 11 member institutions across the country.  McMaster University is based in Hamilton, Ontario and has a total student population of close to 30,000.  McMaster brings strengths in the scholarship of KMb, along with strong and growing community engagement efforts.

McMaster University logo

OTony Portern October 23, RIR’s David Phipps and Michael Johnny met with their new counterparts along with selected faculty and staff to discuss knowledge mobilization across the RIR network and at McMaster.  The conversations provided opportunities to hear examples of good practice from across the country, discuss the potential for RIR to support and strengthen KMb at McMaster and also to discuss new and emerging opportunities for KMb capacity at McMaster to complement existing work in the institution and throughout the Hamilton community.

Ailsa Kay FullwoodTony Porter is the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, within the Faculty of Social Sciences.  Tony will be the Director liaison for RIR.  Ailsa Fullwood is Research Facilitator and Knowledge Broker within the Faculty of Social Sciences and will be the broker contact within RIR.  The McMaster application was led by their Vice President Research and International Affairs, Mo Elbestawi who stated,   “Membership in RIR will provide us access to burgeoning Canadian expertise in knowledge mobilization and to RIR’s well-connected network for publicizing and promoting McMaster’s research impact… We are eager…  to add McMaster’s voice to the national conversation about how to make research matter”.