Led by the City of Toronto in partnership with eight higher education institutions (HEI) within the city, CivicLabTO is a strategic initiative to create a more systemic approach to collaboration.
At its core, CivicLabTO brings together students, faculty, researchers, and City staff who seek opportunities for sharing information and best practices. The City’s partnerships with Toronto’s universities and colleges offers students and faculty a living lab with an opportunity for exposure to real life problems and complex challenges. In return, academic partners offer the City opportunities for innovation, intellectual exchange of ideas, critical analysis, research and evaluation, and the ability to raise research funds. CivicLabTO is an opportunity to engage in strategies for change and innovation, to test theories, conduct research, use experiential learning, and increase networking.
This work includes the advancement of a new model for the city, academia and funding partners to collaborate on multi-partner, multidisciplinary research via the CivicLabTO Research initiative, enhancing the capacity to inform policy and programs while developing the next generation of leaders. Examples of CivicLabTO efforts include the CivicLabTO Curriculum programming, and, with the support of a grant received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the CivicLabTO Discussion Series and CivicLabTO Academic Summit, all launched in 2021.
The report on Advancing a Culture of Innovation and Collaboration, which was adopted by Toronto City Council in May, 2022, highlights the amazing progress in the first two years of CivicLabTO.