Universities across Canada embrace community-university engagement

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Maeve Lydon, Secretary, Office of Community Based Research Canada, University of Victoria

Community Based Research Canada (CBRC) is a national network of post-secondary institutions, community-based research organizations and individual members dedicated to the development and implementation of best practices in community based research in Canada.

Having worked in the NGO and community development sector for years, I was invited to help build this work as part of my role working at the University of Victoria’s Office of Community Based Research, now called the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement (ISICUE).

Briefly, CBRC came into being by representatives at the Community-University Expo Conference (CUExpo), the largest gathering of community and university researchers in Canada's history, held at the University of Victoria in May of 2008. Today, CBRC’s vision is to be a national champion and facilitator for CBR and campus-community engagement in Canada, with focus areas in research, policy and advocacy engagement; national movement and capacity building; and communications and network support.  

CBRC's Steering Committee’s members are from across the country and represent various national perspectives. Twelve Canadian universities and over a hundred members have signed up to support the CRBC’s work to create a positive difference for communities and Canadian society. These universities have been given sustaining memberships and will benefit from:

  • Learning/sharing best practices in design, implementation and evaluation of CBR
  • Building intra- and inter-university research teams for funding applications
  • Interacting with SSHRC and other funding agencies on CUE/CBR program development
  • Networking with and providing research support to community organizations and agencies locally and nationally (e.g., United Way, Imagine Canada)
  • Participating in the development of CBRC through its Steering Committee
  • Connecting with allied international efforts in CUE/CBR (e.g., UK NCCPE; GUNi)
  • Contributing to national conferences and fora (especially CUExpo)
  • Benefiting from the proven success of CBRC

Since its launch at Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the CBRC has been involved in the Community-Campus Collaboration (CCC) Initiative, developed with the backing of the Governor General. “The CCC Initiative is aimed at creating supportive environments and work to remove institutional barriers to collaboration between the community and post-secondary sectors” (United Way Media Centre).

CRBC also works as part of the global movement for CUE in partnership with the National Coordinating Committee for Public Engagement in the UK ( , the Living Knowledge Network, representing Europe’s CUE research/science shop movement (, Campus Engage, Ireland’s CUE network – (  and the Global Alliance for Community Engaged Research (GACER) and its UNESCO Chair for CBR and Social Responsibility in Higher Education  (

The next CUExpo will be held at Carleton University between May25-29, 2015.

CBRC welcomes new members; visit our website or contact CBRC at to learn more.