Social innovation in research

John Helliker
Dean, Innovation & Engagement
Sheridan College

Curiosity, innovation and creativity are hallmarks of Sheridan’s character – and they fuel research across our campuses. Sheridan is committed to supporting diverse forms of research through our inclusive framework of scholarship, research and creative activities. Our research provides valuable experiences to students and faculty that contribute to economic and social benefits for our industry and community partners.

Social innovation is a significant area of focus and opportunity at Sheridan, and it aligns well with our commitment to research. Through our research, we continue to explore new strategies and ideas to help develop sustainable solutions from the ground up. Whether it’s through working with community organizations to apply creative problem-solving to address social issues, or applying a technology innovation such as virtual and augmented reality or mobile application, the creation of new concepts, systems and practices in social innovation is driven by collaborative efforts with external partners. Social innovation in research thrives with external engagement and support, and Sheridan values that partnership and its impact to the economy and our communities. Our dedication to social innovation places us on a transformative path as we create, build and shape exciting new opportunities in research.

For our partners in industry and in the community, engaging in research with Sheridan provides an opportunity to join us on that transformative journey. Collaboration with our faculty, staff and students can provide access to infrastructure, training, skills and expertise. These resources can often be found in our Research Centres and our Entrepreneurial Hub: the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) at Pinewood Toronto Studios; the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) at our Davis Campus in Brampton; the Centre for Mobile Innovation (CMI), the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP), and the Centre for Elder Research at the Trafalgar Campus in Oakville; and EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub located at our Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga.

Social innovation in research and entrepreneurship

Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research has a proud tradition of social innovation at work with colleagues on campus and out in the community. Elder Research recently celebrated its 15th anniversary of Lab to Life® research, offering innovative ways of enhancing the well-being of older adults and the environments that support them. Over the last 15 years, Elder Research has conducted nearly 100 research, evaluation and design projects that have directly benefited older adults and their families; developed over 40 formal relationships with businesses, community organizations and service providers; and hosted over 150 events for older adults, the Sheridan community and industry leaders, not-for-profit organizations and the general public. Through their interdisciplinary approach, the Centre for Elder Research is a leader in the integration of new ideas, methods and technologies in the field of aging.

Since opening its doors in September 2017, Sheridan’s EDGE Entrepreneurship Hub has become an influential driver in entrepreneurial innovation. The Hub is a place for changemakers and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to meet, learn and work together on an innovative business or social enterprise idea and turn it into reality. EDGE now supports approximately 40 start-up businesses across a variety of sectors. A notable example of social innovation at EDGE is Motify. Motify is a virtual assistant for students on the autism spectrum, and this start-up recently secured a competitive opportunity to pitch their venture at RISE, Asia’s largest tech conference in Hong Kong.

Social innovation is a core element of research and entrepreneurship at Sheridan. Our people, our creativity, and our commitments drive our work to deliver both social and economic value to our partners through research.

To learn more about how you can partner with research at Sheridan, please visit