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GRENFELL MATTERS: Supporting communities through research and engagement

A public engagement session held by Grenfell Campus and the Harris Centre in Port aux Basques last week yielded some interesting discussion.
A public engagement session held by Grenfell Campus and the Harris Centre in Port aux Basques last week yielded some interesting discussion. - Contributed

Last week in Port aux Basques a group of inspired and enthusiastic community stakeholders met with representatives from Grenfell Campus and the Harris Centre to collaborate on the development and delivery of the Thriving Regions Partnership Process.

Ken Carter
Ken Carter

There were about 20 participants in last week’s workshop, representatives of groups such as the Codroy Valley Area Development Association, Port aux Basques Marine Excursions and the Channel Head Lighthouse Heritage Society.

They discussed issues such as food security and agriculture, the fishery, tourism, regional collaboration and using the “silver population” as a resource. The collective spirit of collaboration was palpable as community representatives discussed the issues that matter in the southwest coast region.

Prior to the Port aux Basques workshop, similar events were held in Baie Verte and St. Anthony.

Thriving Regions is a new Memorial University program, administered by the Harris Centre with funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The program is designed to build sustainable relationships between researchers and regional partners. It has dedicated funding for three community-based research projects – $15,000 each – supporting the regional priorities developed at each workshop. These projects should be as regionally focused as possible, involving the collaboration of multiple organizations and/or communities, with the goal of advancing the economy and society of the region.

The Grenfell Office of Engagement is responsible for implementing Memorial's Engagement Framework at Grenfell Campus, as well as community education programming, experiential learning and career development, and the activities of the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre. The Harris Centre is Memorial’s hub for regional development and public policy, brokering research opportunities with communities, and mobilizing applied research to have a broader impact in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now the next step: the Harris Centre will open a call for expressions of interest from Memorial researchers looking to develop projects to address the regional priorities. Once researchers have been identified, they will meet with stakeholders to discuss the proposed research projects.

Upon the completion of all research projects, there will be another workshop where the researchers will present the final results of their research projects and the regional partners/stakeholders will have the opportunity to discuss how the findings can be used in the region.

Ken Carter is the director of the Grenfell Campus Office of Engagement.

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