Atkinson launches new research clusters

On Sept. 17, the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies launches a new series of research clusters bringing together faculty members with common research interests to share information, expertise and resources. The clusters offer an opportunity for researchers from across disciplines to collaborate on projects of interest. The launch, organized by the Atkinson Research Office, will take place from 11am to 1:30pm in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson.

Researchers participating in the launch will have an opportunity to participate in round table discussions, explore shared interests and develop next-steps for examining their ideas. Twenty-three research clusters, including clusters on Corporate Social Responsibility; Indigenous issues; Emergency Management; Research in Teams; Critical Issues in International Refugee Law; Information Technology for Sustainability; Health Care; Entrepreneurship; and Workplace Diversity, have been identified. It is expected that some clusters may produce other clusters and additional research areas.

The clusters are a really important way for researchers to learn from each other and make the best use of resources,” says Kay Li, Atkinson’s research officer. “They will act as a forum for exploring and cultivating ideas that may lead to collaborative research projects and research funding applications. They will also allow researchers to work closely with undergraduate and graduate students on activities such as the exploration of research ideas, the preparation of grant proposals and conducting the actual research.”

Two presentations focusing on how researchers can connect their work to the community will be presented at the launch. Jane Daines, director of the division of continuing education, will discuss “Linking Research with Continuing Education”; and David Phipps, director of York’s Office of Research Services, will use case studies to illustrate the theory and practice of linking university researchers with decision-makers from government and community organizations.  

“What is unique about Atkinson’s research clusters is the intent to encourage researchers to engage external stakeholders and partners from the early stages of the clusters’ development,” says Professor Kelly Thomson (right), Atkinson’s associate dean of research & faculty support. “Involving partners from the onset has significant advantages. Researchers can gain important insights from practitioners that will help them define more compelling research questions and develop more nuanced models; while stakeholders may gain a better understanding of how research is conducted and the opportunities it may provide for innovation.” 

If you are a researcher in Atkinson interested in attending the launch or joining a cluster, indicate your RSVP to Pat Brathwaite at ext. 33584 or e-mail

For more information on the research clusters, e-mail