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Community-University Research Alliances (CURA)
Building a community-university research partnership

Stronger alliances between community organizations and postsecondary institutions can be enormously effective and yield important benefits for them both. (SSHRC)

The Social Economy and Sustainability Research (SES/ÉSD) Network links university-based researchers with social economy community partners (e.g. non-profits, self-identified community economic development organizations, and co-operatives), both federations and grass roots community groups. Over eighty social economy practitioners, academics, collaborating institutions, government agencies and community partners have come together, willing to contribute their complementary strengths, networks and depth and breadth of experience in social economy research and practice in Atlantic Canada. The Network is contributing to the advancement of knowledge and to national and international understandings of the Social Economy.

As a network, we promote the practice of partnered research, which can enrich the research in significant ways. To this end, we engage in regular self-evaluation both to improve our own work as a team, and to contribute to the growing literature on community-university research alliances (CURAs). One contribution to dialogue and research on the subject of CURAs is Nicole Rosenow-Redhead’s introductory overview of the subject, with suggestions for further explorations. See her overview here (pdf, 139.97KB). Nicole worked as a CCEDNet CreateAction intern in the Atlantic Node office during the winter 2008-09.

Several of our team members have participated in discussions and have made conference presentations regarding CURAs, and we have implemented some innovative approaches to collaboration, governance, and the development of the working relationships amongst members of our Network.

Along with other involvements, members of our Network participated in the workshop “Capacity Building in CURAs” at the CCEDNet 2007 conference: Bring It Home: Building Communities on a Rock Foundation, April 18-21, 2007, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Canadian CED Network - 2007 National Conference

SN4 community partner, J. Gauvin, Coordinator, Groupe de développement durable du pays de Cocagne, N-B, prepared a presentation (pdf, 3246.90KB) on her experiences with a watershed development goup.

SN3 community partner, D. Reimer, Executive Director, Kids Action Program, Kentville, NS, also prepared a presentation (ppt, 4388.00KB) in this session from her experiences working with a CAPC/CPNP site.

Dr. Kim Kienapple presented a report on the SES network’s self-evaluation process at the Community-University Exposition in 2008.


Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement

Gateways is a refereed journal concerned with the practice and processes of community research and other forms of engagement. It provides a forum for academics, practitioners and community representatives to pursue issues and reflect on practices related to interactions between tertiary institutions and community organizations: academic interventions in community; community-based projects with links to the tertiary sector; and community initiatives.  It is available free of charge online (you do have to register though) at