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Ipsos donates trove of data to U of T's Munk School of Global Affairs

Didier Truchot, chairman and CEO of Ipsos: "By sharing our data, we’re continuing a tradition of supporting scholar understanding and student education for the next wave of global research experts”

Gift of almost seven years of Global Advisor Survey valued at $8.2 million

University of Toronto President Meric Gertler and Didier Truchot, chairman and CEO of Ipsos, have announced an unprecedented gift of global opinion data that will help U of T researchers better understand the world.

The gift, announced at a recent event at U of T's Munk School of Global Affairs, comprises unique survey data files from the Ipso Global Advisor Survey, from 2008 to 2015. It includes almost seven years' worth of data from the survey, which interviews 18,000 people around the world every month on the most important issues of the day. The topics range from immigration to religion to political leadership.

The survey data will help researchers and analysts understand the interplay between public opinion and political action, both at the domestic and international level. While the data will be a resource to the entire U of T research community, it will have particular significance to those at the Munk School.

This gift-in-kind has been independently valued at $8.2 million.

“The University of Toronto is extremely grateful to receive this data,” President Gertler said. “The Munk School is one of the world’s truly great schools of global affairs, and its many renowned scholars are ideally positioned to make the most of this generous gift. Speaking as a social scientist myself, I can attest to the value of such data in enabling us to make sense of the world today, and to situate Canada’s place in it. In our increasingly interconnected world, international survey data of this kind play an essential role in enabling us to undertake leading-edge global research.”

(From left to right): Randall Hansen, interim director, Munk School of Global Affairs; Darrell Bricker, global CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs; Peter Loewen, director, School of Public Policy and Governance; U of T President Meric Gertler; Didier Truchot, chairman and CEO, Ipsos; David Cameron, dean, Faculty of Arts & Science; Rob Myers, president and CEO, Ipsos Canada; Mike Colledge, president, Ipsos Public Affairs Canada; Larry Alford, U of T's chief librarian; Laurence Stoclet, deputy CEO & chief financial officer, Ipsos.

Ipsos Corp. is the world’s third-largest market research company, with offices in 88 countries. The relationship between Ipsos and the University of Toronto goes back almost 20 years, since Ipsos made its first gift in support of U of T students in 1999. At the announcement event, Truchot said: “Ipsos is committed to providing our clients with a total understanding of society, markets and people in an increasingly volatile world so they can evaluate and act. By sharing our data, we’re continuing a tradition of supporting scholar understanding and student education for the next wave of global research experts.”

“Ipsos is perfectly situated to help University of Toronto faculty and students analyze and understand trends in public opinion,” said Randall Hansen, interim director of the Munk School. “They are one of the world’s most renowned research agencies, and given their longstanding relationship with our university, and the strength of our researchers, the Munk School is the ideal recipient of this visionary gift. This immensely rich data will provide our faculty and students with crucial insights needed to analyze some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Researchers like those at U of T's School of Public Policy and Governance have already started crunching the data, applying statistical analyses and using it to help enrich and inform their own studies. “This data complements the work we have been doing, and allows us to extend our research in new directions,” said Peter Loewen, associate professor in the department of political science and director of the School of Public Policy and Governance. “It will be especially valuable for our students, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to work with such a truly world-class dataset. We are already using it in our courses, and also in a research program we are hosting at the SPPG. So we couldn’t be more pleased to have it.”

Leading up to the announcement, Ipsos, in partnership with IBM, hosted the CanadaNext Symposium at the Munk School on Sept. 18. The forum gathered thought leaders to discuss how technology, the sharing economy, the Internet of Things, and Canada’s changing demographics are creating a wave of change that is reshaping Canadian communities, businesses, jobs and lives.

“There are few organizations like Ipsos on the planet capable of gathering this scope of qualitative information,” said David Palmer, vice-president, advancement. “Our university is privileged to be the recipient of this generosity, and is best positioned to make the most of it. Data is one of the most valuable commodities in today’s knowledge economy and is among the most important gifts that can be made to an institute of higher learning like ours.”