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U of T researchers receive federal funding for research on social, cultural, economic impacts of COVID-19

(photo by U of T Communications)

Six University of Toronto researchers have been awarded federal government grants that will fund collaborative research projects focused on the social, cultural and economic impact of COVID-19 and the post-pandemic recovery.

The funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grants COVID-19 Special Initiative will support scholars in the humanities and social sciences who are carrying out research that will inform decision-making at a government, industry or not-for-profit partner organization.

All six funded U of T projects aim to advance knowledge of the myriad impacts of COVID-19 and formulate a path toward favourable outcomes for individuals, communities and businesses in Canada and beyond. Topics range from exploring the politics of clinical drug trials to fostering innovations in online education and studying solutions to keep small businesses afloat.

“The University of Toronto is grateful for the SSHRC’s support of our scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Their work is critical to helping society navigate today’s challenges and to charting a sustainable, equitable path to recovery,” said University Professor Ted Sargent, U of T’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives.

“Our scholars have long distinguished themselves in developing solutions to the most pressing social and economic questions of our time: Their research and insights are needed now more than ever.”

The funding for COVID-19-related research is a special initiative of the Partnership Engage Grants, awarded annually to help researchers conduct timely and short-term research activities with a partner organization. The grants are valued between $7,000 and $25,000 each.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges globally,” said Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry, in a statement.

“While much-needed focus to date has been on developing and testing effective countermeasures to control the spread of the virus, the work these researchers will be doing to examine the longer-term impacts of the pandemic – and the ensuing economic slowdown – on individuals, businesses and communities will better position Canada to emerge from the pandemic stronger.”

Among the U of T researchers backed is Carmen Logie, whose work has taken on a pandemic-related focus in recent months. The associate professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, typically focuses on stigma and other social phenomena associated with sexually transmitted infections like HIV, particularly among refugees and displaced youths.

In June, Logie was one of 26 U of T researchers to receive support from a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) rapid research funding competition for her research on how COVID-19 is affecting young refugees in Uganda’s capital Kampala, and how social media and text messaging can be used to help them receive information about COVID-19 and express their concerns.

Her SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant will now support research on arts-based approaches to building resilience and preparedness among adolescents in South Africa amid the pandemic.

In addition to supporting work by Logie and other U of T experts in COVID-19-related realms, SSHRC also awarded a Partnership Engage Grant from its regular funding call to Professor Gustavo Bobonis of the department of economics in the Faculty of Arts & Science for his work on improving access to justice and support services among victims of intimate partner violence.

Here is the full list of U of T researchers who received SSHRC Partnership Engage Grants:

Partnership Engage Grants COVID-19 Special Initiative

  • Mark Chignell of the department of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering – COVID-19 Resilience Enhancement with Social Training (CREST): Elucidating the role of social factors in motivating collaborative exercise
  • Quinn Grundy of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing – COVID-19: The politics of clinical trials in a pandemic and the role of blood collection agencies in developing a treatment for COVID-19
  • Carmen Logie of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work – COVID-19: Alien time capsules as a remote participatory arts-based approach to build resilience and disaster preparedness in the COVID-19 pandemic among adolescents in South Africa
  • Amaya Perez-Brumer of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health – COVID-19: Testimonios of COVID-19 violence and solidarity among Peruvian transgender communities
  • Enrica Piccardo of the department of curriculum, teaching and learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education – COVID-19: Supporting online language learning: Fostering pedagogical innovation in a time of crisis
  • Marcelo Vieta of the department of leadership, higher and adult education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education – COVID-19: Rescuing SMEs During and after COVID-19: action research supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in Ontario via conversions to co-operatives

Partnership Engage Grants regular funding call

  • Gustavo Bobonis of the department of economics in the Faculty of Arts & Science – Improving access to justice in intimate partner violence cases: Availability, support services, and personnel quality