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Change Lab Action Research Initiative Opens at Saint Mary’s University

5 October, 2016

Change Lab Action Research Initiative Opens at Saint Mary’s University
Dr. Kevin Vessey, Associate Vice President of Research at Saint Mary’s University; Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education; Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President, Saint Mary's University; Leigh Huestis, Director of the Office of Industry & Community Engagement, Acadia University; Kazi Rahman, President, Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association

Communities addressing social and economic challenges across Nova Scotia now have access to the Change Lab Action Research Initiative (CLARI), a cross-province, multi-post-secondary education partnership offering a network of academic experts, research resources, collaboration spaces and communications technology. 

A $1.1 million investment from Labour and Advanced Education over two years has been dedicated to building the CLARI hub at Saint Mary’s University and creating the partnership, which includes: Cape Breton University, St. Francis Xavier University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Acadia University, Université Sainte-Anne and Nova Scotia Community College.

Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan attended the official opening of the CLARI Hub at Saint Mary’s University.

“The Change Lab Action Research Initiative is a great example of the kind of collaboration and partnership that will help move Nova Scotia forward,” said Ms. Regan. “It’s a space where students, researchers, and experts will come together to help communities overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities across the province.”

Construction of the hub facility began in the winter of 2016 and was completed in September. It provides administrative services to the province-wide CLARI network along with collaborative work spaces and group videoconferencing capabilities to CLARI projects and other, similar collaborations taking place at Saint Mary’s. The CLARI space is also available for use by the local community. Proceeds from external use of the space go toward sustaining the overall program.

Through CLARI, partners can assist communities in all parts of the province while providing enhanced learning opportunities for students. Although CLARI is not a project funding body, the level of specialized support it offers to Nova Scotia communities, especially those in rural communities will be invaluable.

From Acadia University, Mr. Ray Ivany, President and Vice-Chancellor, offered the following comment.

“Acadia is delighted to be one of the Nova Scotia partners in the CLARI initiative,” said Mr. Ivany. “The underlying CLARI mandate – to provide a mechanism that enables communities to identify challenges and opportunities, to connect, share, and learn from each other, and to research and test new ideas and develop innovative solutions – fits nicely with the community engagement ongoing at Acadia. Through the work of our office of Industry and Community Engagement, the Acadia Rural Innovation Centre, and in partnership with the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre, we are actively connecting with community groups and industry to explore ways of solving community challenges, assisting in developing leadership skills with community groups, and connecting researchers with industry and other external organizations to work together in confronting challenges and discovering opportunities.”

CLARI’s Steering Committee is comprised of research faculty, administrators, and students from each of the network’s partner institutions. CLARI founder and event host is Dr. Kevin Vessey, Associate Vice President of Research at Saint Mary’s University

“CLARI is a wonderful collaboration among post-secondary institutions across the province that will have a real impact on the lives of Nova Scotians,” said Dr. Vessey. “We see CLARI acting as a platform for these universities and the community college to work with external community partners to help bring real social and economic development to the Province. We will do this through “Change Lab” processes and action research involving professors and students from all of our institutions.”