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Social Policy Evaluation Collaborative Team Research at Universities in Manitoba


Welcome to SPECTRUM – a partnership between community, academia and government aimed at solving complex social policy challenges through social policy research and evaluation.


Public policies guide the development and administration of social services and systems that support a fair and just society. These services include the public education system, the justice system, family services, social housing and income supports. However, social services are often designed and implemented in a 'siloed' manner and coordination across departments, sectors and organizations is sorely lacking. Further, because of data and resource constraints, social services and systems are rarely evaluated to ensure they meet the needs of the people for whom they are intended. In many cases, they fail to address the needs of individuals, families and communities, resulting in poor outcomes and wasted resources across multiple areas.

Partnership Approach:
SPECTRUM uses an equity-focused, decolonizing and anti-oppressive lens and a participatory action, multi-method research approach to centre the voices of our partners and the communities they serve. We value relationships and the grounded knowledge and experiences our partners bring to the research. Since 2019, we have been meeting regularly at partnership engagement and capacity building workshops, through which we have developed a process for brainstorming new research ideas and selecting projects to pursue. Partners play an active role in the research in smaller working groups. Our first research project compares the outcomes of children in out-of-home care vs children receiving protection services while remaining at home. The research is guided by an advisory circle of stakeholders and people with lived/living experience to ensure the findings will support advocacy and efforts. Having built considerable policy capacity in the partnership, SPECTRUM's public policy strategists are now working with partners on policy implementation based on the evidence generated. The result of SPECTRUM's innovative approach will be stronger public policies supported by a network of academic and community experts that decision-makers can draw on, ensuring that social services reach their intended recipients and provide the expected benefits.


SPECTRUM’s Partnership Grant proposal to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has been successful at Stage 1. We have been invited to submit a full proposal in the Fall of 2023. If we are successful at Stage 2, this will provide SPECTRUM with sustainable long-term funding for the next 7 years.

To cover the costs of SPECTRUM in the meantime, we have been awarded $90,000 from the Winnipeg Foundation. These funds will support that partnership through until June 2024 and will be used to support follow up work on the demonstration project and knowledge mobilization.

Congratulations to all involved in submitting the grant and to the entire partnership for your award-winning work!

SPECTRUM Fellows have also had significant accomplishments in the last year of work, including receiving numerous recognitions and awards:

  • Emily Brownell

    • September 2022, Research Manitoba-Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) Master’s Studentship Award

  • Hera Casidsid

    • 2023 FGS Research Completion Scholarship

    • September 2022, Research Manitoba-Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) Master’s Studentship Award

    • Manitoba Family Year 1994 Legacy Scholarship

    • Evelyn Shapiro Award for Health Services Research 2022


  • Mikayla Hunter

    • Fall 2022 – Manitoba Primary Care Network Research Partnership Award - Research and Team Development Grant

    • April 2023 – The Laura Bassi Scholarship

    • June 2023 – 2023 University of Manitoba Emerging Leader Award

  • Nyala Comeau

    • Manitoba Research Alliance Grant

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