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Date: May 07, 2008

New Canadian Network Links Community-Based Researchers

Community-based researchers across Canada now have an alternative to working in isolation, thanks to a new network being announced today as the third national Community-University Exposition (CUexpo) wraps up at the University of Victoria.

The Pan-Canadian Network for Community-Based Research is an alliance between three universities: the University of Victoria, Carleton University and the Université du Quebec à Montréal. By making the latest research and best practices from around the world available to network partners, the coalition will assist researchers to apply this expertise to the social challenges facing modern communities.

“All three of these universities are national leaders in community-university research partnerships,” says Dr. Budd Hall, director of UVic’s Office of Community-Based Research. “Until now there has been no network to connect existing programs that support community-university research. The Pan-Canadian Network will build stronger connections between universities and their communities and lead to more research that directly benefits communities.”

The network will use social networking tools, such as Facebook and other interactive websites, to connect with communities across the country. Local governments, community aid organizations, funding agencies, business and Aboriginal communities will work through the network with research specialists to build evidence-based solutions to meet community needs. With an initial focus on homelessness, poverty and Aboriginal health, the network will expand its research themes as its membership grows.

“Sometimes complex issues require complex solutions,” adds Hall. “This network will give Canadian communities a real chance to find the solutions they need.”

The three partner universities will also work to engage the growing body of community-involved researchers around the world as part of a Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research.

An agreement to create a Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research will be released at the end of the conference. The Global Alliance agreement is a statement of principles and aspirations on the part of the major networking organizations in the field of community-engaged scholarship from around the world; including the Living Knowledge Network (Europe), the Community-Campus Partnership for Health (US), Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Sub-Saharan Participatory Research Network (Senegal), International Green Mapping Network (US) and others.

CUexpo 2008 was the third international meeting of community based researchers to be held in Canada, attracting over 500 conference delegates from around the world. For further information about the new agreements visit www.cuexpo08.ca/

Media contacts:
Dr. Budd Hall (Office of Community-Based Research) at 250-721-8474/cell: 250-818-3861 or bhall@uvic.ca
Tara Sharpe (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6248 or tksharpe@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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