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CIFAR: Innovation, Equity, & The Future of Prosperity

Innovation can promote economic growth and social and cultural well-being. However, innovation is often conceived and implemented in a way that leads to unequal distribution of its benefits. This program takes a multidisciplinary and cross-national look at how, why, and when the benefits of innovation aren’t always broadly shared.

The benefits of innovation tend to be concentrated in a limited number of industries, regions and hands. Innovation that exacerbates – rather than reduces – inequality can undermine public support for science and innovation and contribute to broader political alienation.

The program examines how the policies used to generate and diffuse innovation affect the distribution of opportunities and outcomes in society. It also looks at which institutions and other factors facilitate or impede the development and implementation of distribution-sensitive innovation policies, programs and practices.

The program will develop knowledge that can be used to design and implement innovation policies, programs and practices that support equitable economic growth and fair distribution around the globe.

Alumni Impact

University of Toronto Alumni Impact Survey

Principle investigator: Shiri M. Breznitz

The primary goal of the Alumni Impact Survey (AIS) was to evaluate the impact made by University of Toronto graduates. To achieve this goal, the university engaged in a research project in which we collected high quality survey data on key aspects of the impact of U of T alumni, including measures of social, cultural and economic impact. This project was reviewed and approved by the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board.The project was carried out under the direction of principal investigators, Professor Vivek Goel, Vice-President Research and Innovation, and Professor Shiri M. Breznitz, of the Munk School of Global Affairs, and an Alumni Impact Steering Committee of senior University staff.

Data from the survey and additional surveys conducted by Breznitz and Zhang were used in multiple research projects.

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