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Social innovation in research

Université Laval provides personalized support to faculty members and community stakeholders to foster knowledge development and co-construction of solutions and to adapt and implement these solutions in community settings.

Social innovation is the product of collaboration on social issues between faculty members and stakeholders. It emerges from a desire to move beyond current practices to solve problems by mobilizing knowledge and skills. It involves active participation by potential end-users during the development and testing of solutions that are integrated into practices or applied by local stakeholders. 
Office of the Vice Rector, Research and Innovation (VRRCI) advisors are available to point you toward resources that will meet your needs.

Additional information on social innovation (PDF, French only)

Supporting members of the university community

VRRCI is committed to providing personalized support to faculty members and community stakeholders to foster knowledge development and co-construction of solutions and to adapt and implement these solutions in community settings to meet social needs. 

This support includes a range of activities designed to assist and guide professors at each stage of their funding, mobilization, and development efforts in tandem with faculty-based services. It includes:

Support for development and mobilization

  • Monitoring, analysis, and strategic dissemination of funding programs
  • Support for grant application preparation and submission
  • Revision and guidance for letters of intent and grant applications
  • Sourcing of in-house expertise to meet external partners’ needs
  • Development of knowledge mobilization plans and knowledge transfer strategies
  • Support for research management and related issues
  • Guidance on searching for partners
  • Drafting and negotiating contractual agreements with partners
  • Representation before various public organizations (regional, national, and international) involved in social innovation
  • Promotion of best practices, including for research ethics

Support for transfer and commercialization

  • Support for drafting and negotiating agreements related to confidentiality, publication, and knowledge transfer between the university and public and private sector partners
  • Advice on licensing and commercializing copyrighted works
  • Formulation of development strategies and implementation and coordination of the resulting management activities
  • Overseeing Fonds de soutien à l’innovation sociale (FSIS), a social innovation fund dedicated to supporting new initiatives around mobilization, interdisciplinary partnerships, and adoption of social innovations by local stakeholders
  • Organization of networking events, including with liaison and transfer centres and any other organizations that offer social innovation services
  • Recognition of research and partnerships at an annual social innovation awards event
  • Collaboration with the Communications Department to promote social innovations developed by the university community
  • Development of tools and indicators to measure social innovation and its impacts

Support for partners

UL professors study new and evolving phenomena to find workable solutions to complex social issues. In collaboration with various stakeholders they explore a range of topics including the organization of labour and labour relations, immigrant integration, approaches to sustainable development and improving physical and mental health, quality of life for individuals and communities, changing practices, educational success, and so on.

This hands-on support takes various forms during innovation projects, including: 

Connecting university experts with local stakeholders

  • Assisting with letters of intent and the preparation and processing of partnership grant applications
  • Drafting contracts that are mutually satisfactory for both partners
  • Recognizing, in various ways, partner contributions to social innovation, including an annual social innovation awards event

Fonds de soutien à l'innovation sociale

The Fonds de soutien à l'innovation sociale is a social innovation fund that helps institutions, organizations, and communities adopt innovations co-developed with the local community in response to social problems. VRRCI uses the fund to support university community members in knowledge mobilization and transfer activities.

Previous laureates

Submission of interim reports

Interim and final reports for funded projects must be submitted to Lyne Gosselin.

Examples of social innovation

Here are some examples of social innovations that highlight our expertise and lasting relationships with our partners.

Coop de solidarité SABSA (low threshold health services)

Area of development: Sustainable health and well-being

The SABSA clinic seeks to provide community-based health and psychosocial services in disadvantaged parts of the Québec City area to assist people being treated for HIV and hepatitis C.

Lecturer in charge: Isabelle Têtu, Faculty of Nursing


  • Centre de réadaptation en dépendance de Québec (CRDQ)
  • Centre de santé et services sociaux Alphonse-Desjardins
  • Hoffmann-Laroche
  • Hôpital Saint-François d’Assise
  • Merck
  • Projet Intervention Prostitution Québec (PIPQ)
  • Université du Québec à Rimouski

International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic

Area of development: Society, culture, and the arts

The clinic fights impunity, promotes the protection of human rights, and contributes to the development of international justice for all.

Professor in charge: Fannie Lafontaine, Faculty of Law

•    Association for the Prevention of Torture
•    Lawyers Without Borders Canada
•    Office of the president, Special Tribunal for Lebanon
•    Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
•    Roy Larochelle Avocats Inc.

Implementation Guide for Concerted Action Against Domestic Violence and Abuse

Area of development: Humans in their environment

The guide proposes a winning strategy for concerted action designed to level power relations between adults and children and support stakeholders to ensure children’s safety.

Professor in charge: Geneviève Lessard, Faculty of Social Sciences

•    Centre jeunesse de Québec – Institut universitaire 
•    Centre de santé et de services sociaux de Québec-Nord
•    Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Vieille-Capitale
•    Groupe d’aide aux personnes impulsives
•    Maison de la famille D.V.S.
•    Maison pour femmes immigrantes
•    Violence Info