Building on the success of our Regional Workshops, The Harris Centre launched the Thriving Regions Partnership Process in 2017. This process provides funding and support to Memorial and Grenfell faculty, staff and students to build meaningful research partnerships that help promote thriving social and economic regions. Several workshops are held in each region over a multi-year period, and dedicated research funding is provided to complete research on priorities that have been identified by people in each region.
The process has been funded by the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and involves partnering with other Memorial units depending on the region, such as the Labrador Institute and Grenfell Campus. The process also includes the development of a local leadership team to help with planning and implementation.
During an initial workshop, research priorities for the region are set through a facilitated discussion with stakeholders, partners and interested citizens in the region from public, private, community and education sectors. These priorities are used to open a call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from the university community for an applied research fund. A fund evaluation committee, comprised of local and academic members, reviews the EOIs and decides on three projects to move forward.
During a second workshop, the three chosen researchers travel to the region to meet with local people to gather feedback and develop partnerships to further refine their research. They then submit expanded research plans, which are reviewed by the fund evaluation committee. Once the projects are approved, the researchers receive their funding to move forward with their research, while continuing to engage with people in the region.
In a third workshop, community members use the
tool to identify needs, strengths and opportunities for developing stronger “civic infrastructure” – the structures and processes that help people and communities work more effectively together to address shared challenges, priorities and issues of concern – in their region.
A final workshop is held after the research projects have been completed. Researchers share their results and participants discuss their next steps. The Harris Centre uses the Strategic Doing process to help form collaborations quickly and move them toward action, outcomes and solutions.
For more information about the process and past and current projects visit The