Building Canada’s Social R&D Capacity

Social R&D is a growing field enabling organizations to leverage a range of research and development approaches to help tackle social challenges and serve communities.

Drawing from the approaches that research and development offer, we want to test new ideas, create new evidence of what’s working and what isn’t, and share these results-based approaches so that we can further develop and scale.

To help build this field, we are partnering with the McConnell Foundation and Innoweave as part of the national Investment Readiness Program. 

This work brings together an emerging community of practitioners from within the non-profit, charitable, and public sectors dedicated to evolve and apply new methodologies to social impact work.

Social R&D

Looking for Canadian Stories of Social R&D!

We need your help to tell the stories of organizations, individuals and governments who are doing amazing work in Social R&D in Canada.

If your organization is using practices and approaches such as Social Labs, Prototyping, Data Measurement, Mapping, Ethnography, Human-Centred Design or Behavioural Insights, we have an opportunity for you.

We are offering five grants of $5,000 to help you tell your story and share your learnings: successes, failures and insights in your efforts to advance your work through Social R&D.

Apply before March 31st, 2020. Learn more on this blog post.


Over the past few years, there have been great efforts to help bring “Social R&D” into the social innovation space in Canada. The McConnell Foundation and Social Innovation Generation began this work by issuing a number of important foundational reports that have demonstrated why social purpose organizations also need to invest in our own capacity to experiment.

The report ‘Social R&D. Practices and Patterns V1.0’ is an exploration into what strong R&D practices look like across social missions.

Social R&D resources

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The Social R&D Program is supported by: