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Unexpected Gold Mined from SSHRC Partnerships

Stephanie Baskerville
Business Development Coordinator, CTT Inc.

Rob Evans, CTT’s Business Development Officer and I joined roughly twenty-five other individuals at Wilfrid Laurier University for an open panel discussion on “Partnerships in the Digital Economy”, hosted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

With the word ‘Partnerships’ in the title, I expected that the event would be all about how companies can partner with SSHRC to receive funding for research and development.  I wasn’t wrong.  In fact, in order to receive SSHRC funding, you’ll need the following:

– A commitment from a post-secondary institution.
– Public or private sector collaboration.
– Financial contributions – 35% of what you’re asking SSHRC for, to be precise.

Further discussion showed up around the best ways to search for a partner.  Several panelists cautioned against the idea of just diving in head-first and asking companies for money.  Before you go all gung-ho, they suggested you remember these important steps:

– Get the business card first… network, network, network!!
– Learn a bit about the person through occasional interaction.
– Develop a relationship by sharing with them some periodic updates (‘staying in touch’ emails).
– Pitch your idea to them.

Digging for the gold from the get-go will just earn you a sore nose from all the slammed doors you’ll encounter.  Follow the above suggestion and you should be golden.

Aside from sharing how companies could apply for SSHRC funding, the morning’s program additionally included specific, intriguing panelists who have successfully partnered with SSHRC and each other.

One topic that was up for conversation was about the lack of women in the gaming industry – it was generally accepted that there are too few women in said field.  In fact, one panelist even said that women are oftentimes targets of outright hostility and misogyny in the industry!  Wow!  Discussion around partnerships that help to alleviate the stereotypes followed this panelist’s comment.

Another shocker – did you know that Spam Mail actually works?  Most of the audience was surprised to hear that there are several people who actually believe that a Nigerian princess left them $3.5 million U.S.!  The research conducted indicated that those people who are suckered into responding to spam mail are living in a fairy tale mentality – they consciously know it’s not going to happen, but they’re sub-consciously looking for the ‘wave of the magic wand’ to make everything better.  I noticed that some people in the audience seemed to sheepishly be avoiding the panelist’s gaze as she said this…

Overall, I have to say that I was very satisfied that I attended this event.  If you’d like to know more about the panelists or about SSHRC funding, please feel free to contact me at stephanie@techtriangle.com, or, better yet, leave me a comment below!  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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