Working with eCampusOntario and Toronto’s higher education institution (HEI) partners, the City of Toronto has fostered a systematic approach to collaboration on research projects in support of informed public policy and student engagement. This new and evolving process allows all HEIs the opportunity to express interest in City research proposals based on their expertise, helps form project teams that best meet the City’s research needs and matches projects to funding partners. These resulting partnerships and studies will produce new data, research papers, and recommendations to inform changes to City policies, processes and services.
In 2020, a working group, chaired by eCampusOntario and with representation from the City, all of Toronto’s HEI partners as well as funding and student placement bodies, was mobilized to pilot and expedite collaboration in support of City identified research priorities for COVID-19 relief and recovery.
In 2021, as an extension of the City’s commitment to Advancing a New Culture of Innovation and Partnership and leveraging learnings from the 2020 research matchmaking process, the City of Toronto and eCampusOntario launched the Toronto Collaboration Platform (TOCP). TOCP further standardized the research proposal intake to clearly articulate objectives and scope for all parties, provided the platform for researchers at all HEIs to register expressions of interests on each City proposal as well as facilitated review and introductions between City staff, researchers and funding partners. Based on HEI feedback in 2022, TOCP also delivered research proposals from HEI representatives to City staff for consideration, further enhancing the degree of communication, connectivity and collaboration.
This partnership model will create an ongoing pathway for the City of Toronto and Toronto HEIs to further activate the considerable expertise within the city in support of research priorities and an informed, innovative future.