Collaborative research projects exploring international justice, creative tech earn grants 

Ideas grant research innovation partnerships

By Corey Allen, senior manager, research communications

Two researchers in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies are among the latest recipients of the Partnership Engage Grant awarded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.  

Annie Bunting, a professor of law and society, and Farshid Shams, an associate professor of strategy and organization studies, have each received nearly $25,000 in support of collaborative research projects conducted with a non-academic partner

Farshid Shams
Farshid Shams
Annie Bunting
Annie Bunting

Bunting’s project, “Transitional Gender Justice in North East Nigeria,” partners with the Explore Humanitarian Aid Initiative. The not-for-profit organization was established in response to the humanitarian crisis brought on by the Boko Haram, a militant extremist group that took over the Borno State region in 2009. Since then, thousands of women and girls have endured sexual assault and abuse at the hands of the insurgents.  

The collaborative work will investigate the barriers faced by survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to obtain legal justice and reparations for crimes committed against them. The project’s findings will help develop policies, support services and programs that centre the needs of survivors. In addition, the project will help the Explore Humanitarian Aid Initiative build capacity in research design, data analysis and report writing, which can be used to enhance their future work in promoting gender equality.   

“Research can help ensure the voices of vulnerable and marginalized groups are heard and taken into account in transitional justice policy and program development,” said Bunting.  

Shams’ project, “The matter of creativity in the high-tech sector: exploring the creativity-productivity paradox in managers’ and employees’ everyday work,” partners with a leading company in the medical technology sector.    

The joint project will explore how Canadian tech companies leverage staff creativity for organizational success, with the partnering company as a case study. The project will advance the understanding of how managers can tap into the creative potential of their staff while simultaneously guiding them to adhere to standardized procedures that may restrict creativity. The project will also consider the tensions between creativity and conformity from the employees’ perspective and assess how resources like office space, virtual tools and templates impact creativity.  

“We expect our project’s results to help improve organizational work practices for our partner, but also be of use in the future for other tech sector employers looking to drive innovation in their company and culture,” said Shams.