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President Shoukri urges realization of Canada’s social innovation opportunities
published December 13, 2013

In an address to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Wednesday, Dec. 4, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri spoke to social innovation as a key driver for economic and social development. One of the first Canadian university presidents to deliver a speech on the subject, Shoukri called for an investment in all-sector research collaborations to transform communities and create viable solutions to some of society’s most complex challenges.

Dr. Shoukri speaking at the Toronto Board of Trade

Dr. Shoukri speaking at the Toronto Board of Trade

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,” said Shoukri.