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by Katherine Duff


Evaluation of the Harris Centre's Applied Research Fund

Lead Researcher and Department
Kate Reid-Shute, Harris Centre, Memorial University

Collaborators and Students
Bea Courtney, Goss Gilroy Inc.

Funding Resources
ACOA; Strategic Partnership of the Department of Innovation Trade and Rural Development, NL

The Harris Centre created the Applied Research Fund to stimulate research activities relevant to Newfoundland and Labrador's regional policy and development needs and opportunities. The fund offers funding up to $15,000 to Memorial faculty, students and staff to conduct such research. The Centre also utilizes the Applied Research Fund to encourage researchers to mobilize the findings from their work to stakeholders in the community who can make use of them. ARF has received funding from the NL Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development (INTRD) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). In the first four rounds, funding to ARF totaled $ 100,000 each year. This study focused on the first three rounds of grants made by the Harris Centre's Applied Research Fund in 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08, as the studies funded in the fourth round were not complete. Findings were drawn from Harris Centre documents and ARF reports as well as from interviews and discussions with Harris Centre staff, ARF researchers and relevant external stakeholders (i.e. community representatives, including government departments and agencies, community organizations, businesses and business organizations, and individuals).

ARF funding is filling a valuable need by stimulating research that can assist external stakeholders in making policy and development decisions in Newfoundland and Labrador. ARF provides Memorial researchers with funding for projects that address Newfoundland and Labrador's regional policy and development issues, contributing to understandings of the province's unique context, needs and opportunities. Many projects funded through ARF would not likely have qualified for funding from other traditional academic sources, because other available sources are not likely to support:

NL-specific projects (which many other funders regard as only being of interest to a small readership); The collection of base-line data (which is crucial in providing context for planning, but may not have direct or immediate impacts in itself); and/or Research that crosses sectors (which is important for holistic approaches in policy and development). ARF also acts as a 'seed fund', as once projects have received funding from ARF, researchers have been able to leverage much funding from other sources.

Through ARF projects, Memorial researchers have developed expertise in applied regional policy and development research and in maximizing the impacts of their findings by transferring them to external stakeholders who can use them. External stakeholders have also developed expertise through the collaborations stimulated by ARF's emphasis on applied connections to community needs and opportunities. ARF had the most impact on developing expertise where researchers had little prior experience in applied research with community relevance and applicability. Overall, both researchers and external stakeholders gained appreciation for the potential for academic/community collaborations and felt optimistic about seeking out future opportunities for collaborations.


Regional policy, Development, Fisheries, Renewable energy, Economy, Governance, Culture Natural resources

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
St. John's
Avalon Peninsula

Industry Sectors
Local, municipal and regional public administration (Public administration)

Thematic Categories
Culture (Arts, Culture & Heritage)
Community Development
Natural Resources
Renewable Energy (Energy)
Rural Development

Harris Centre (STJ)